“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – Lee Iacocca, Former President, Ford
That’s certainly a quote designed for our current situation. Despite this period of historical upheaval some businesses are thriving because they are leveraging technology to engage with their customers, upsell and deliver an exceptional client experience.
So now is an ideal time to revaluate how you can drive future event bookings in the medium to long-term by using sales and marketing technology.
So where to start?
Look at your existing processes and ask yourself four questions:
1) Am I maximizing all my current marketing opportunities?
While now may not be the time to don a lanyard and press the flesh at a trade show, you are no doubt putting extra effort into digital marketing, whether through your website or social media or email marketing. “Always be closing” is never truer than in a tough trading environment.
2) Am I getting to my prospects at the right time?
Situations change – especially now – so do you have a resilient venue management software solution that keeps your prospects engaged and enables you to be top of their mind when they are ready to book? Will they remember you in a year’s time?
On the other hand, you don’t want to be that pushy salesperson contacting prospects when they are weeks away from a decision.
3) What systems do I have to measure performance?
Sales and marketing is all about statistics. Are you able to measure how your sales people are doing against their targets or can you tell which digital channels are performing well? Can you see where the sales team might need help?
4) What am I doing to generate repeat business?
Typically, a successful business will generate 80% of its revenue from 20% of its existing clients. It is great to identify these clients but you also need to have a strategy to engage with them and increase their lifetime value.
Are you happy with the answers you provided to these questions? Here’s our action plan for creating an ecosystem that works.
Sales and marketing are evolving all the time. Even 15 years ago the idea of ordering goods from a mobile device was a novelty and artificial intelligence was science fiction.
Fast forward to today and it is possible to order goods with one swipe, while having a conversation with Alexa is mundane.
There is a wide choice of technology available to venue sales and marketing professionals today and we recommend that you look at your requirements holistically and choose systems that meet specific needs.
Our suggested action plan for evaluating technology:
1) Improve your day to day operations
Venue management software solutions enable you to streamline the operational management of your venue while also improving sales functions such as enquiry handling.
Automated task handling ensures that sales enquires always get followed up so conversions increase. The venue management software also collects valuable historical data that can be used to determine who your most lucrative clients are so you can tailor client retention campaigns or to drive repeat business for Christmas parties, for example.
The sales team also need a venue management software solution that can help with the personal touch such as enabling them to conduct show arounds and present professional pricing proposals.
Look for a mobile venue management software solution which enables sales executives to present the event options to clients directly and send the proposals swiftly and that integrates with e-signature solutions for a fast turnaround of contracts.
2) Capitalise on your digital channels
Online booking engines present a great opportunity to present some, or all, of your room inventory 24/7. Look for a solution that gives you the flexibility to integrate with your own site as well as third party sites for maximum coverage. It is like having an extra pair of hands as all the booking details are entered into the venue management software system automatically.
3) Get sales and marketing on point
Enterprise-level CRM solutions are ideal for large venues and venue groups who need to engage their audience with timely and targeted email campaigns and social media marketing.
The days of ‘spray and pray’ email marketing are long gone – with solutions like Microsoft Dynamics it’s possible to create nurture campaigns that engage your audience for months, and when they are ready to book the artificial intelligence will push these warm leads out to the sales team.
Detailed sales and marketing reporting enables managers to pinpoint opportunities and evaluate what marketing channels are working.
4) Look at your strategic needs – do you have the total solution you need?
These solutions do not need to exist in silos. It’s possible to architect a fully bespoke sales and marketing technology ecosystem where they are fully integrated so they work from a common database. For example, it means that sales can, for example, see the venue diary at a glance to see what availability there is for a wedding next year without leaving the CRM while the client is on the phone.
Marketing can take historical data from the venue management software and use it to drive emails marketing campaigns to existing clients to increase lifetime value.
Leveraging Dynamics’ powerful reporting engine you can get a unified view of how your venue and team are performing with sales pipeline analysis also ensuring that no opportunity goes astray.
By taking these solutions and putting them together you create an ecosystem that is so much better than its sum parts which enables you to streamline processes, engage prospects and convert more enquiries to bookings.
The world is changing but it is also staying the same – there is always going to be a demand for weddings, parties or meetings.
And even though those gatherings might not be happening for a while, this is the time to get ready. Take the time to evaluate and improve on your sales and marketing processes ready for a prosperous 2021; you won’t regret the investment.