Sales Conference planning even for the smallest of sales conferences requires hours of design, preparation and hard work that often go unnoticed. If you are planning on hosting your own Sales Conference then you should be aware that the cost of a well run sales conference in terms of marketing, venue, catering, audio visual, speakers and administration can be expensive. What’s worse, in most cases if things don’t go well we have to then wait twelve months to correct things. Needless to say the benefits of a successful sales conference far outweighs the time, money and effort needed to deliver one, and below we have listed some points you may wish to consider when planning your own sales conference.
Start off by thinking what it is that you are hoping to achieve, what does success look like after the conference? With conferences it’s not usually enough for people to have just enjoyed themselves, you may be using your sales conference for a new product or service launch, product training, team building, sales training, awards and recognition. Define the key takeaways and calls to action that you would like your audience to remember from the conference.
Create a project plan with milestones, responsibilities and timelines. Choose a date that maximises your attendance numbers by avoiding any relevant local, national and international holidays. Cross reference dates with availability of venues, presenters, speakers and Senior Executives in your company. Consider transportation to and from the venue and any additional activies external to the venue, if, for example, you are dining in a different location. Ensure participants have enough time between sessions to answer email and voicemail. Allow people time to move between conference rooms as one session ends and another starts – 30 people unescorted, moving from one conference room to another will take 15 minutes minimum.
We normally suggest you start with a theme and build content out from there. Content is hugely important when it comes to your sales conference as sales teams can be quite demanding. Depending on numbers, offer main plenary sessions supplemented by breakout sessions that offer a choice of topic or activy, each of which ties back to your original Objectives. Where possible, record video and audio content for re-use on your website, PR, follow up campaigns and to promote next years event. Consider, where appropriate, inviting key customers and or key suppliers to help promote partnerships and alliances to either parts or all of your sales conference.
Attendee numbers are critical to the success of any sales conference, so send out invitations as soon as possible from the key Executive in the organisation who is sponsoring or owns the event, and where possible explain that the conference is mandatory. Welcome packs should reflect the conference theme, objectives and key takeaways. Also, consider inviting employees from non sales departments such as operations, support, service and marketing, in order to build bridges, cement teamwork and boost numbers.
Sales Conferences often take more time than is imagined so if you are juggling your Sales Conference duties around your day job, be sure to create an inhouse team and delegate some of the responsibilities where appropriate. A well conceived and executed conference is however a great tool to engage, inspire and motivate your sales team and will therefore deliver great value to your organisation.