Strategic meetings are an asset that can’t be replaced. If a business wants to grow, B2B strategic meetings need to be employed somewhere in the engagement process. These conversations connect executives with customers, prospects, vendors and other stakeholders to increase trust and form valuable relationships.
Along with strategic meetings comes a number of components that need to be properly managed. Attendee invites, responses, calendars and other notes should be organized in an easy-to-access way where data can easily be sorted. Spreadsheets and emails are common practice for hosting all of this information, but meeting managers are noticing that these tools are becoming inadequate.
Below are five challenges in using a spreadsheet-based meeting management system:
Most of the data put into a spreadsheet is entered by hand, leaving your information susceptible to human error. Research shows that nine out of ten spreadsheets contain errors caused by manual data entry. Just one error can lead to a chain reaction of misinformation across an entire sheet. These mistakes, although common, can cost companies a lot of time and money. Almost one in five businesses has experienced financial losses due to spreadsheet errors and there’s no real way to prevent these slip-ups from happening.
Unable to Integrate
Events require multiple actions, typically managed on multiple platforms, to ensure everything goes smoothly. This includes capturing data from badge scans, tracking meeting check-ins, recording event registrations and more. You don’t want any of these processes to be out of sync. Spreadsheets do not allow you to integrate with other tools for a streamlined, simplified experience. Switching back and forth between platforms slows the entire process down.
Lack of Invitations
One of the most important parts of a meeting is sending out the actual invite to your contact list. Spreadsheets are great for collecting a large pool of static data about potential attendees, but they can’t do much else. They can’t send out invitations and aren’t equipped for keeping an updated list of responses or schedule changes. It’s much more beneficial for meeting organizers to collect all of their resources in one place, such as in a Meeting Automation Platform.
Meetings are usually held by multiple stakeholders, who are working together on different moving parts. Changes to an event can happen quickly and collaborators need to be able to update the rest of the group. It’s inefficient to keep sending a spreadsheet back and forth. Also, with spreadsheets, there is no guarantee that people are using the same version of the sheet. Collaborators could be utilizing different schedules or calendars that are outdated, causing confusion for them and potentially for attendees of the meeting.
Don’t let all of the valuable information you collect at your strategic meetings go to waste. A study by Harvard Business Review shows more than half of marketers are not able to track the ROI of their events, mainly due to a lack of the right tools. To establish ROI, metrics like the number of meetings that took place, the number of meeting invites accepted and average deal size are essential. Spreadsheets can’t provide much more insight beyond “sum” or “average.” Any data put into the spreadsheet is up to interpretation by each individual, leading to different evaluations. It doesn’t provide the right features to capture information and convert it into actionable data. Spreadsheets might not be built for this, but there are softwares that can record information and track data across an event for you, such as a Meeting Automation Platform.
Whether you’re planning a strategic meeting at a trade show, conference, or briefing center, it’s important to consider how you will manage it. Spreadsheets are becoming a management system of the past, unable to provide the necessary tools that improve efficiency for a large volume of meetings. Remember how important strategic meetings are to your business’ growth and consider other management options that save time and money and minimize the risk of errors.
Ravi is the CMO at Jifflenow. In his role, Ravi creates and executes business strategies, generating demand and raising brand/product awareness in competitive markets. As VP of Marketing at both large and small technology companies, Ravi built strong teams and brands and enabled faster revenue growth for a wide range of solutions based on Big Data, SaaS, AI and IoT software, HCI, SAN, NAS. Ravi has MBA degrees in Marketing and Finance and is an expert industry spokesperson and presenter.