On Tuesday 8th March, the EVCOM team headed to the Excel Centre for day one of International Confex.
Claire Fennelow, EVCOM’s Executive Director says, “It was great to see the crowds returning once again and there was a great deal to see. I certainly made sure to make the most of the packed and varied conference agenda, as well as the chance to meet up with industry peers.”
The first talk we attended was Five insights that will change the way you sell in 2022 with Raoul Monks, Founder & CEO – Flume Sales Training. Customers often prefer remote sales experiences, said Raoul, which sales people feel less confident working remotely. So he shared top tips for how to hold the attention of potential customers whilst selling remotely. Professionalisation was first on the list. As working remotely has become the norm, the early days of cats walking across keyboards and tech setups that don’t function are become less and less acceptable. Customers and clients expect more. Add to this gravitas, and make sure you communicate your knowledge, passion and purpose. Finally engagement techniques such as storytelling, using visuals and using collaborative software are a must for keeping the attention of the person on the other side of the screen. Raoul encourages personalisation in every conversation, and reminds people to focus as much on retaining and developing current accounts as on finding new business. He advocates for the importance of regular sales training, especially for people who are performing at a mid-level within the team.
Next, Dale Parmenter, CEO – DRPG and longstanding EVCOM Board Member spoke about how to make CSR real. He talked through DRPG’s remarkable sustainability journey which is rapidly heading towards their head office being totally carbon neutral, and their sustainability policy – which hinges on people, profit AND planet – and gave examples of best practise. From adapting ways of working to making sustainability non-negotiable in the clients journey. And from sourcing food locally to team building with a legacy. Offsetting, Dale says, should be a last resort rather than a first go to. He stressed that it’s not about adding to your workload but changing the way you are working, so that sustainability (in all its forms) become embedded in a company’s culture and way of doing things. He also talked about how educating your clients and taking your whole team with you are essential components to success.
#EventsWithUkraine was a last minute addition to the programme, a chance for the industry to reflect on how they can help, offer perspectives and suggestion. The panel discussed the balancing act between punishing Russia without punishing the Russian people who have not been part of this decision, and membership associations and business alike were asked to consider their relationships with Russian clients and agencies. How we communicate around this is important, agreed the panel, to ensure doors are kept open. ExpoPlatform is calling for donations either to Ukrainian forces with a SWIFT bank transfer or the British Red Cross who are providing food and shelter to those in need.
Not surprisingly there was a lot about ‘hybrid’ and we particularly enjoyed the session with Daniel Greenwood, Director of Event Delivery – FT Live at The Financial Times talking about their journey from live events, through virtual and finally to hybrid in the session FT Live – Hybrid event case study – Business of Football Summit. He shared some really interesting insights into how to manage the process and echoed my concern about the financial model of running these events going forward. Event companies are squeezed from all sides when it comes to putting on a high quality hybrid event and only time will tell how we manage to work with suppliers, venues and clients to make them financially beneficial for all.
A session entitled What does the Metaverse mean for events? demonstrated that we are a long way off understanding the pro’s and con’s of this brave new world and finding our place in it. But it will surely come and the more prepared we are as an industry, the better.