Process Efficiency As A Value Proposition Leaves Business On The Table For Event Tech Companies
Process Efficiency As A Value Proposition Leaves Business On The Table For Event Tech Companies21-Feb-2017
Every new-to-market event management technology company has to figure out which value proposition resonates most with potential customers. Many lead with process efficiencies—it saves time, lets team members and third-party contractors collaborate, or helps with document version control and task management, etc. But that approach doesn’t always result in a sale. When the team behind EventCollab began to notice that event planners loved the platform, but buy-in from the rest of the team, including the C-Suite, was sometimes a little lukewarm, they began to change their approach to go beyond process efficiency as a value proposition.
Planners and decision-makers see the value of event management software differently.
Most event planners and project coordinators have a singular objective: to execute the best event in the most efficient way for the lowest cost possible. They completely understand the value of software that allows them to do their jobs better and faster. Most chief executives, however, see the value of software differently. So, when EventCollab began to learn that what motivates planners to buy is different from what matters to the C-Suite, Megan Powers, marketing director at EventCollab, began thinking about how to expand the platform’s value proposition.
As a writer, Powers began to envision a new narrative. She started to collect case studies that highlighted not only EventCollab’s process efficiencies, but also areas where the platform achieved higher-level business outcomes. In one example, a production company used EventCollab to reduce labor costs at an annual event by 13% over the previous year, a savings of over $100,000 for its client. Another third-party audio-visual contractor saved its customer $60,000 on the installation of a trade show booth. Both case studies illustrate the user’s ability to “run a tight ship,” but they also show how EventCollab improves the value of their brands in the eyes of the customer.
The people who control the purse also control the purchase: what CFOs want from event management software.
Because the job of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is to guide the financial wellbeing of the association or enterprise as well as look for growth opportunities, he or she isn’t all that interested in how the event sausage is made. That’s why the pitch for a software company to the CFO—the one who ultimately influences, if not controls, the purchasing decisions—has to be about more than just revenue tracking or cost containment. Powers started to think about messages that appeal to the CFO’s bigger picture thinking, for example:
EventCollab can play a central role in an organization’s Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP), a discipline defined by Global Business Travel Association that encompasses the processes, spending, volumes, standards, and suppliers required to achieve quantitative cost-savings, risk mitigation and superior service.
Business continuity and the preservation of institutional knowledge are also concerns of the CFO as the guardian of administrative, financial, and risk-management operations. “When you’re managing every element on your events online, in one space [a capability of EventCollab], as people come and go and the company evolves you still have access to all the history, data, discussions, budgets, and schedules,” Powers explains.
Return on investment (ROI) is perhaps the most overused term in the event industry, but it’s one that means a lot to the CFO. Powers figures that EventCollab’s ability to surface the cost savings associated with an event also makes it easier for the CFO to determine the length of time it takes an organization to recoup costs and realize a return on its investment (not that long at its highly competitive price point, she says).
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is often consulted about event technology purchases. Here’s what he wants to hear.
Process efficiency as a value proposition probably won’t ring any bells for the CTO. He or she has his eyes on event technology infrastructure, implementation, and resource allocation. To that end, Powers has begun moving benefits that appeal to the CTO into the value proposition column, including:
Access control—A centralized solution like EventCollab’s can be a blessing and a curse. “Putting all of the information in one central place where all of the changes, updates, and everything to do with the event can be shared in real time is a huge benefit,” Powers says. That said, “You wouldn’t want your vendors to be able to access things like the event budget.” She adds. The ability to control access to information by assigning collaborators to their appropriate work groups (circles) is a feature that CTOs can get their heads around.
Security—Because CTOs are concerned about data security, Powers plans to emphasize that EventCollab is built on the secure Heroku cloud platform hosted by Amazon Web Services. That fact may not mean anything to an event planner or project coordinator, but it speaks volumes to the CTO. Another point she intends to make is the way that EventCollab’s built-in communication tools reduce the need for email (the source of phishing scams and viruses).
Agility—A flexible platform that makes it easy for planners to manage multiple event or project types—should be of interest to CTOs whose job it is to bend technology around the needs of the organization. Powers plans to draw CTOs’ attention to EventCollab’s built-in integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive (the planning tools of choice for many project managers).
Too much process talk can leave business on the table.
Focusing on process efficiency as a value proposition isn’t a rookie mistake. Many event management software developers start there because getting the slaves-to-process planners on board is the low-hanging fruit. In EventCollab’s case, it has been a successful strategy. It allowed them to get their foot in the door of a very crowded category, place in the ibtm world Technology and Innovation Watch Award’s Top 10 two times, and tie for first place in ibtm america’s “Innovation in Motion” contest last year. But in 2017, Megan Powers is embracing a new mission to “tell our story better” and give senior-level decision-makers—the gateway to more and better business—a reason to love them as much as event planners do.
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