Why a Strong Event Planning Team Is Crucial for B2B Conference Success
In-person conferences are the heartbeat of an impactful, revenue-generating business strategy. At a time when 80.4% of organizers point to in-person events as their top marketing channel, it’s time for businesses to listen, invest, and innovate.
In-person conferences and events are the most impactful marketing channel, which means event organizers need the bodies, buy-in, budget, and tools to execute unforgettable experiences. Executive alignment isn’t just a checkbox; it’s the foundation of memorable event experiences.
Even still, nearly half (47.2%) of event organizers reported growth in their event teams in the past year, and the number of event teams with 10 or more people tripled to 30.6% from 10.2% in 2020!
It’s clear that the key to harnessing the full potential of conferences lies in having a solid in-house event team, and this article delves into why an in-house team is indispensable for B2B conference success. You’ll also learn how to build an in-house event planning team, how to integrate your team into marketing and sales, and how your event team can help achieve overarching company goals.
Why an In-house Event Team Is Vital for Business Success
An in-house event planning team is integral to the success of B2B conferences for several reasons. Firstly, having a dedicated team ensures a deep understanding of the company’s vision, goals, and branding, which is crucial for creating events that represent and further the company’s objectives. An in-house team is better equipped to tailor conferences to reflect the company’s ethos, ensuring a consistent brand experience.
Moreover, in-house teams bring a level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness that is hard to match. They can streamline processes, negotiate better with vendors, and leverage existing relationships. Their continuity and familiarity with their brand lead to better planning, execution, and crisis management.
But most importantly, a dedicated in-house event team brings an expertise and skill set that you won’t find anywhere else at your company. It takes a particular type of person and visionary to take what your business needs to succeed and translate that into an unforgettable, lead-generating, and brand-boosting event.
How an Event Planning Team Ensures Marketing and Sales Success
Sales-marketing alignment around events is crucial, but it’s also a challenge for today’s event organizers. In our State of in-person B2B conferences report, organizers shared the following with us:
- “The event strategy doesn’t align with our regularly scheduled marketing plans, but we’re working to integrate them further this year.”
- “We have new marketing staff that doesn’t understand how our events fit into our marketing mix.”
- “Passive metrics like session attendance and survey methodologies haven’t kept up with the complexity and sophistication of the kinds of questions our marketing teams are asking when determining ROI.”
An adept event team acts as the critical bridge between sales and marketing, ensuring this alignment not just in theory but in practical, impactful ways. Their role extends beyond event planning and execution; they enable marketing and sales teams to promote the event and capitalize on the leads generated effectively. Let’s explore the event team’s role as a unifying force.
Facilitating Marketing and Sales Integration
An event team is pivotal in integrating marketing and sales efforts for events. They ensure that the marketing team’s promotional strategies align with the sales team’s goals and targets. This alignment is critical for delivering a consistent message and experience to potential leads and customers.
Strategic Planning and Execution
The event team works closely with marketing and sales to develop a strategic plan encompassing pre-event promotion, event execution, and post-event follow-up. This collaborative planning ensures that marketing efforts, such as social media campaigns, email marketing, and advertising, are geared toward attracting attendees and generating qualified leads for the sales team.
Content Creation and Messaging
Consistency in messaging is vital. The event planning team collaborates with marketing to create compelling content that resonates with the target audience. This content is used for event promotion and in the event’s presentations and materials, ensuring a seamless transition from promotional efforts to actual event experiences.
The event team can also build tailor-made go-to-market strategies and content to ensure marketing and sales have what they need to drive registrations, leads, and meaningful follow-up.
Lead Generation and Follow-up
During the event, the event planning team facilitates opportunities for lead generation through networking sessions, product demonstrations, and interactive workshops. They ensure that these opportunities are structured to effectively capture lead information, which is then passed on to the sales team for follow-up. This handover is a critical point where the event team’s role in ensuring seamless integration between marketing and sales becomes evident.
Data Collection and Analysis
Post-event, the event team collects and analyzes data on attendee engagement, lead generation, and overall event success. This data is invaluable for marketing and sales, helping them understand their strategy’s effectiveness and how to fine-tune future approaches. With a dedicated event team, you can be sure you will get a comprehensive post-event report with actionable insights and takeaways for sales and marketing.
Continuous Feedback Loop
An effective event team establishes a feedback loop between marketing, sales, and event planning. This ongoing communication ensures that lessons learned are incorporated into future events, continually improving the alignment and effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts.
Ultimately, an event team comprises more than event planners; they’re the strategists and coordinators who ensure that marketing and sales efforts align for maximum impact. Their role in fostering marketing-sales alignment, from strategic planning to lead generation and data analysis, is indispensable in turning B2B conferences into successful platforms for business growth.
Event Planning Team Structure: 10 Roles To Consider
As you look to build or expand your team, understanding the diverse event planning team roles that contribute to successful event execution is essential. From creative visionaries to logistical wizards, each role uniquely transforms a simple conference into an impactful and memorable experience.
Although you can outsource some of these positions, you’re better off hiring for key roles and then engaging individuals on other teams who are already specialized in some of these fields (e.g., marketing) and building a cross-functional event team.
- Event manager/planner: This is the keystone role, overseeing every event aspect. They manage the planning process, coordinate with other team members, and ensure all elements come together seamlessly.
- Event technologist: With the increasing role of technology in events, an event technologist is crucial. They are responsible for the event management software, audio-visual equipment, high-tech event wearables, and other technology.
- Marketing specialist: This role focuses on promoting the event, engaging with potential attendees, and managing all communications. They are responsible for social media outreach, email marketing, and public relations.
- Logistics coordinator: They handle all logistical aspects, such as venue selection, transportation, catering, and accommodation for attendees. They ensure that all these elements are well-organized and run smoothly.
- Sponsorship coordinator: For events that involve sponsors, this role manages relationships with sponsors, ensuring their needs are met and that they are effectively integrated into the event.
- Content creator/program coordinator: This person is responsible for the event content and programming, including speakers, workshops, and panels. They curate the event’s content to ensure it aligns with its goals and audience expectations. They’re also responsible for repurposing event content and post-event content nurture plans.
- Financial controller/budget manager: They manage the event budget, ensuring that all aspects of the event stay within financial constraints and that spending is tracked and reported.
- Registration and onsite staff: They handle onsite attendee registration and check-in and are the first point of contact for attendee inquiries, providing customer service before, during, and after the event.
- Graphic designer/web developer: They are responsible for the visual aspects of the event, including website design, promotional materials, and event branding.
- Volunteer coordinator: If the event relies on volunteers, this role manages these individuals, ensuring they are well-informed, effectively deployed, and supported throughout the event.
To simplify your plans, consider working with an onsite event partner like Bizzabo, which offers customizable self-service and full-service onsite offerings. With onsite badge printing software, easy event check-in, expert in-person support, and the Bizzabox, you can build an onsite experience that works for you.
Common Challenges in Building an Event Team and How To Secure Stakeholder Buy-In
Building an effective in-house event team for B2B conferences can be a complex process with various challenges. Equally important is gaining the buy-in of key stakeholders, as their support is crucial for the successful formation and operation of the team. However, according to the State of in-person B2B conferences, 27% of organizers say getting executive alignment around events is a significant challenge.
Here are some of the most common challenges you’ll face when trying to build an event management team:
- Finding the right talent: Sourcing individuals with the right mix of skills, experience, and cultural fit can be challenging. Event management requires a unique blend of creativity, logistical prowess, and technological savviness.
- Battling budget constraints: Often, the initial barrier is securing a budget for hiring. Convincing stakeholders of the ROI that a dedicated event team can bring is crucial.
- Defining clear roles: The diversity of roles within an event team means that you must establish clear job descriptions and expectations to avoid overlapping responsibilities.
- Integrating with existing teams: Ensuring the event team works harmoniously with other departments, like marketing and sales, can be a delicate balancing act.
Luckily, we have recommendations tackling these concerns and more to get stakeholder buy-in so you can build the event planning team of your dreams.
- Demonstrate anticipated ROI: Prepare a clear presentation outlining the potential investment return. Use data and case studies to show how an in-house event team can lead to more successful, cost-effective, and brand-aligned events.
- Align with business goals: Show how an event team aligns with broader company objectives. Emphasize how events can be pivotal in lead generation, brand awareness, and customer engagement.
- Highlight the costs of not having a team: Point out the inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and potential lost opportunities that can arise from not having a dedicated team. At many companies, people are pulled from numerous teams to organize and execute events, costing time and money.
- Propose a phased approach: Suggest starting with a smaller team and scaling up as you demonstrate success. This reduces the perceived risk and can make the proposal more palatable.
- Engage key stakeholders early: Involve potential internal champions in the planning phase. Their input not only improves the plan but also helps in building advocacy within the organization. Remember: The more you make it sound like it was their idea, the more quickly you’ll get buy-in.
- Plan for skill development: Alternatively, show commitment to upskilling the existing workforce to take on event roles, which can be a cost-effective way to build the team. There may be people at your company already working on events who want to take a career or title pivot to join the event team.
- Address resource management: Clearly outline how the team will be structured and how resources will be managed to allay concerns about overstretching existing resources.
By addressing these challenges and effectively communicating the value and strategic importance of an in-house event team, you can build a strong case for stakeholder buy-in. This approach encourages the team’s formation and ensures its long-term success and integration within the company.
Elevate Events That Matter by Investing in an Event Team
A well-rounded in-house event team is not just an asset but necessary for companies that want to leverage events for business growth and success. By ensuring alignment with company goals, fostering marketing and sales initiatives, and driving innovation and efficiency in event planning and execution, these teams play a crucial role in propelling companies forward in today’s competitive business environment.
Investing in your event team isn’t just a nice-to-have but a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to thrive and excel.
PS: Once you have your event team up and running, let’s talk about your event management software and how it can be a powerful extension of your talented team!