Picture this: You’ve had success with your meetings program in region, and you’re ready to globalize those efforts. Scale what you’re already doing and call it a day, right? Well, not quite. We’ve been working with clients for a long time on their SMM programs and know it’s not always that easy. Read below to learn advice from two of our experts on how to best begin globalizing your SMMP.
Ben Hoeksma (@benhoeksma), Global Account Director
Darim Mohammed, Global Account Director
GOAL: GAIN COMPLETE VISIBILITY OF M&E SPEND TO ALLOW TOTAL CONTROL
REALITY: It takes time. The first step should be to capture whatever data you have through key stakeholders to understand volumes. Assumptions can be made (whether by using your travel data or extrapolating from current data), but there needs to be an acceptance that there will be a margin for error and you will need to adapt appropriately. Different markets will be at different stages of maturity so consider a phased approach by country/region.
RECOMMENDATION: To get consistent consolidated reporting, begin with deploying a consistent meetings technology so that key metrics are captured in the same format throughout. As a minimum, you should ask users to enter in meeting data irrelevant of how it has been sourced/booked. Ensure you are only asking them to track relevant data and not unnecessary information.
GOAL: CONSISTENCY OF SERVICE (This can be service delivered to internal stakeholders from third party suppliers/agencies or delivered to attendees.)
REALITY: Local cultures and practices can lead to differences in delivery (e.g. in some countries, technology will not be widely used or appropriate as it is in other markets). You may find some countries have long standing local relationships they are not willing to give up.
RECOMMENDATION: Long term, we suggest having one global supplier to ensure consistency. However, to begin today, standardize your SLA’s and KPI’s across all regions and suppliers to set a standard but allow for local nuances where needed and applicable. You have an end goal and expectations that need to be delivered to; however, how much does it matter about how you get there? As long as you and your stakeholders gain the expected results, there should be flexibility. Apply best practices and lessons learned from each country during implementation. Don’t be rigid; take the opportunity where there is room to improve!
GOAL: REDUCE COSTS
REALITY: Initial investment needs to be made in setting up your SMMP. While using a third party will create costs, you’ll need to weigh those against your overall long-term program goals.
RECOMMENDATION: Advocate for the use of global preferred supplier agreements and consider different funding models in each region. Set realistic savings targets in each market, tapping into the company’s global spend and the service delivery company to benefit from the buying power of the two organizations, ensuring maximum return on investment for the program.
GOAL: COMPLIANCE TO ACCOMPANY POLICY
REALITY: Compliance regulations vary across regions so local expertise is critical.
RECOMMENDATION: Working with one global partner and setting KPIs that the partner adheres to will help drive global compliance for your meetings program. These goals and KPIs should be measured and reviewed on a regular basis and shared with meeting owners as part of policy to remain consistent and adhere to compliance.
GOAL: MITIGATE RISK
REALITY: An organization should review how to mitigate risk with its employees and delegates in venues around the globe. Taking local cultural nuances and requirements into account is also essential. Ideally clients would have all their suppliers sign off on their T&C but the reality is that it can be difficult.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Work with partner venues that have been vetted and offer delegate safety and security. Use a centralized system to track delegate locations such as iSOS, thereby fulfilling the company’s duty of care and security. Identifying delegate location in any emergency and minimizing any company exposure or risk should be top of mind as you develop your program. Attempt to have all venue partners sign off client’s T&C prior to any event taking place to fulfill the obligations to the company policy. Keep the document as minimal and relevant as possible to gain agreement, particularly from smaller venues who may not have a legal team to review.