An essential activity in traditional business strategies, today, business development takes different forms and makes use of many channels. Indeed, the internet and social media have greatly modified customer behavior, forcing sales teams to adapt to the expectations of customers who are proactive, mobile, and always seeking out innovation.
Such evolution naturally calls traditional business development techniques, such as organizing events, into question. Is this still a positive and profitable strategy? If so, under what conditions?
Corporate events: still relevant
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: the corporate event is not dead! Despite growing digitization, occasions that allow a sales representative to meet with their customers still hold a significant appeal. Perceived as situations that promote exchanges and the effective collection of information, they offer good benchmarks and encourage the development of a more “human” relationship with your customers. Customers also quite often perceive an invitation to participate in such events as a certain privilege. They therefore hold a certain appeal.
However, in order to achieve the best possible results, it’s essential to consider a few important parameters before organizing these events.
The type of event
In essence, we can differentiate between two main types of events:
– Social events: oriented towards building the relationship between the representative of the company and their customers, this type of event privileges contact, advice, and the human side over the commercial aspect. Here, it’s not about bringing together prospects and/or customers to sell them something, but rather to “cultivate” the relationship between the company and its customers and to promote new “meetings” in a totally informal setting. The prospect or customer shouldn’t feel as if they’re being “preyed upon”; instead, they should feel like a friend. Wine or cheese tastings and casual sporting events (golf, tennis, etc.) are perfect examples of social events that can effectively help maintain and grow your network.
– Product-oriented events: Because selling your product or service remains the best way to help grow your business, it’s essential to include events that let you speak directly with your guests about their customer experience and potential new products or services in your calendar. An open house, a private sale, or a product demonstration are some activities that can be considered in this context.
Beyond this classification, professional events aimed at developing a business network can also take several other forms that we won’t dwell on here.
The size of the event
The time to optimize customer experience is now, and that de facto involves a new approach when choosing the size of each professional event. Bringing together a hundred prospects and major customers in the same environment is no longer feasible. Your customers (especially the most important ones) need to feel privileged, like they have access to something exclusive and that they’re getting special attention. To meet these expectations, try to restrict the number of participants in your events as much as possible. You can therefore spend more time and energy on each guest and facilitate interactions between them.
Somewhat related to the last point, precisely defining the target of your professional events should be approached with the utmost seriousness. Before sending out your invitations, take the time to sift through your lists, focusing on your target’s interests and confronting them with the topics you want to address. Here, it’s above all about you and what you want to achieve at the end of your activities.
In short, organizing an event remains a feasible solution for expanding your network of customers and partners. However, putting this into action requires a great deal of planning as well as a personalized approach in order to achieve positive results. To achieve this with total peace of mind, you can also take advantage of Groupe Marketing International’s innovative custom solutions for boosting your business network.
You want to learn more about using events for your business development?
President, Groupe Marketing International