Maximize This Year’s Marketing Budget – Part II

Last week, we discussed the initial steps involved in creating a Strategic Meeting Management Program (SMMP). As each company is unique, it would follow that each SMMP should be unique. However, there are some underlying steps that should be considered when creating and developing any comprehensive and successful SMMP. These steps include:

Meeting Leadership: Organize a leadership team that is responsible for setting standard polices and procedures and the oversight of all meetings. This team should have top-level management including a procurement member.

Meeting Approval Process: First define what a meeting is. Is it a gathering of ten or more people? Must outside resources be used? Is travel involved? Once you have defined the term “meeting”, be sure to communicate it to all departments/divisions. Mandate that all meetings must be registered and approved prior to any planning or allocation of funds.

Meeting Registration: Set up internal procedures for individuals to register their meeting internally with information such as the scope of the meeting, audience, budget, location, etc. Again, approval must be received before any action is taken.

Meeting Sourcing: Establish one central group that is solely responsible for the sourcing and selection of suppliers. Duties would consist of identifying key suppliers, negotiating terms, contracting/risk management, and leveraging the corporation’s meetings spend.

Meeting Planning: Upon completion of supplier selection and contract execution, the meeting planning begins. Planners should be given clearly documented and easy to find policies and procedures. It is important to clearly define roles, responsibilities and expectations between SMMP Leadership, meeting planners and third party suppliers.

Acquisition/Purchasing: Set up systems to ensure that you can scrutinize all expenditures. When possible, we suggest that a complete redesign of general ledger or budget codes be completed prior to launching the SMMP.

Data Analysis and Reporting: Upon completion of a meeting, compare the actual data with the estimated data and look for areas of opportunity. During the reconciliation process, it is useful to apply a set of common metrics to measure the meeting. Examples of such metrics are cost per attendee, percentage of total meeting cost for key commodity areas such as lodging, food and beverage, and supplier fees and expenses. When applied over time, these metrics per meeting can also identify trends and further opportunity to drive cost savings and process improvements.

Technology: Central to the quest for continuous improvement in any SMMP are the two components running throughout the best practice model: Technology and Reporting. Technology can assist with driving compliance to processes and standards, online meeting registrations, requests for proposal, budgeting, supplier research, etc. IT can also deliver standards and even customized reporting to assist in measuring the success of individual meeting and the overall SMMP.

If you are interested in learning more and need assistance in creating your own SMMP, please contact us today.

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