Introducing Hosted Buyer Programs Should be No Brainer

August 16, 2017

According to a 'State of Sales' report published by Salesforce in November 2016, growing the number of leads/new customers tops the leading sales objectives for sales professionals worldwide. Fifty-six percent of the more than 3,100 sales professionals from a variety of industries who responded to the survey cited this as their number one priority.

At the same time, many B2B companies are finding it difficult to achieve their sales goals. A January 2016 study of B2B marketing and sales executives worldwide from Seismic showed over 60 percent of respondents named the lengthening sales cycle as a leading factor pressuring their companies to improve sales enablement.

Clearly, gone are the days when time was just another valuable commodity. Today, it’s an invaluable commodity. People are busier than ever, and they also have higher-than-ever expectations and goals to meet. It’s not surprising then that in the business world, the time spent in closing a deal is just as important as any other parameter considered by an organization for gauging its ROI.

Tradeshow and exposition organizers may find themselves responsible for leading the charge in their respective industries. For them to continue to provide value to their ecosystem, it is critical to consider the practical implications of this altered reality for their buyers and suppliers. That is the underlying reason that is driving the growing popularity of the Hosted Buyer Program (HBP) model in the face-to-face B2B events space.

Whether presented in conjunction with an industry event or as a stand-alone event, there are many compelling reasons why HBPs (or some variation thereof) are quickly becoming a necessary benefit to incorporate into your member and corporate offerings.

Value to Members

For your members, especially qualified buyers, participation in a HBP can be the best use of their time and provide the most return than any other aspect of their participation. Typically, the event organizer incentivizes qualified buyers to participate in the program with free registration, housing-block and more. Some trade events have made participation required for first-time attendees. Others have found offering CEU credits for participation to be enticing. The take-away for buyers is a set number of “quick” pre-scheduled meetings with suppliers that they are interested in meeting. The typical meeting timeslots range from 10-25 minutes and are meant for initial introductions, mutual qualification, and facilitating further discussion and next steps.

Value to Suppliers

For your industry suppliers, participation is often a pay-to-play option and there are usually guaranteed offers, such as a minimum number of meetings they will receive with qualified buyers. For brands, this opens up an excellent opportunity to gain the attention of and present their solutions to the key people who have buying and decision-making authority. For them, the meetings facilitated by HBPs often lead to numerous new viable business opportunities.

Converting even a small fraction of the hosted buyers into clients from the program typically will yield manifold revenue than the suppliers’ participation investment. Some programs have offered seller participation on a first-come, first-serve basis with a high price point, while others have included participation as part of an exclusive sponsorship package. To promote brand participation, event organizers may also provide the pool of participating buyers to potential sellers during the pre-registration promotion phase.

If you are considering launching a new HBP, here are some essential ingredients to incorporate in it to deliver the promised value to participants:

  • Define rigorous criteria for qualifying buyers to ensure that buyer participants having purchasing and/or decision-making authority. You could also take suppliers’ input during the planning stage to ensure you are meeting their expectations and requirements.
  • Have a system in place to organize the entire program and simplify the seemingly complex process. Notwithstanding the size and scope of program, it can be challenging to coordinate the logistics without a smart solution in place. Using intelligent technology, such as a2z’s platform, can digitize the process, from providing the automation software to completely managing the program in its entirety, turn-key and white glove.
  • Create a designated meeting space as well as dedicated section for your HBP in your event’s overall program. This is important to ensure that all the meetings take place on schedule and can be easily verified right away.

In summary, Hosted Buyer Programs are quickly becoming necessary to continue providing the most value to your industry. Whether you are still investigating how to incorporate or beginning to actualize, with right planning and resources, providing these events to add value to your industry should really be a no brainer.


Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact