Introducing Hosted Buyer Programs Should be No Brainer
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.