The mia welcomed event professionals from venues across the country on Wednesday, 6 July for an afternoon of insight and advice on accelerating sales through successful customer relationship management.
Hosted by Mark Pritchard from Ungerboeck Software International, the session covered all aspects of customer relationship management (CRM) software, from how it can help businesses to new and innovative functions to streamline event management and maximise profits.
With a background in event and exhibition management, Mark is an expert in helping small and mid-sized venues get the most out of their CRM systems and understands the pressures on sales and event managers which can be eased by having the right system in place.
Mark’s top tip to attendees is to always start with your problems and requirements and then find the software that’s right for you, rather than being wowed by bells and whistles that won’t actually help your business. We’ve summarised some of the most common problems facing venues along with Mark’s top tips for how the right CRM system can help.
Difficulty managing data
Better data = better decisions. The better the data you have on your customers the more tailored you can make your marketing and the bigger the profits you can make. Collecting data can be difficult and time consuming though, so how do you make managing it as simple as possible? Integration is key as life becomes a lot easier when your sales, event management and invoicing systems are connected. Online enquiry forms that input directly into your CRM system can save huge amounts of time and having required fields will ensure that none of the key details you need are missing. Make sure your team are trained in using the system too; if it’s easy to navigate and easy to use they will make the most of it.
A geographically dispersed team
Even in small venues it’s rare to find a sales and events team who spend all of their time sat in an office together working on the same network. With employers offering flexibility in remote working, members of the sales team out in the field and the events team on the floor, being able to access and update your CRM system wherever you are is an increasingly important function.
Mark recommends using cloud-based software which can be accessed anywhere from any device, so that information can be updated at the touch of a button and nothing is missed. This way you can be sure that whatever information you’re looking at, wherever you are, it’s as up to date as possible.
Revenue falling down the cracks
It can be surprisingly easy to miss out on valuable additional sources of revenue, simply through a lack of communication between event managers and the sales team. For example, if you held one conference a week that asked for an extra round of tea and coffee that wasn’t added on to the client’s invoice, over the course of the year you could be missing out on a significant chunk of revenue. To avoid revenue falling down the cracks like this, use a CRM system that allows event managers to update details as the event is in progress from a mobile device or tablet, so that nothing is being missed.
Too much work, too little time
When you’re faced with an overwhelming amount of work, where do you start? How do you decide which client or business stream is going to be the most profitable and should therefore be your priority? A CRM system that can show you your most profitable events and clients will help you prioritise your time and focus. Managing priorities isn’t always easy, but if you can see which clients are most likely to book an event or which bring the highest profit you can manage your time more effectively.
Difficulty forecasting the future
Most sales and event managers are familiar with the scenario of being asked to produce a financial forecast at short notice and having to scrabble around various systems and spreadsheets to pull something together. A fully functional CRM system can produce these reports at the touch of a button – Mark demonstrated how Ungerboeck’s customisable dashboard allows management to log in and see the up-to-date reports they need all in one place.
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