Marketing February 12, 2016 Last updated February 12th, 2016 1,853 Reads share

What I Learned From Hosting the 2015 Edge User Conference

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Although eFileCabinet hosted the

Insights From Guest Speakers

Here are a few of the highlights from our guest speakers:

  • Technology enables local businesses to compete globally. Rowe’s speech about the power of technology helped attendees understand how to expand their business operations beyond geographic borders. It’s no longer just about location — you can become a global business leader from anywhere in the world if you use the right technology.

Even the conference itself has to compete in a global market, as B2B tech marketers now attend twice as many customer conferences as they do trade shows, according to Kathleen Schaub of IDC’s CMO Advisory Service.

  • Work ethic determines productivity and quality. Renowned speaker and business coach Brian Tracy spoke about personal productivity and how winning in business comes down to work ethic. If you want something, you have to work harder for it than your competitors are willing or able to.

Against all odds, you have to be willing and able to provide consistent quality on time, every time. To reach real success, though, you must proceed with the end in mind. In other words, what really matters in business is keeping customers happier than your competitors can.

How to Improve Customer Interactions

Everyone on our team gleaned a lot of important takeaways through breakout sessions, one-on-one meetings with clients, and keynote speeches.

Here are a few more tips company leaders will find helpful to improve their interactions with customers at large-scale events:

#1. Know your audience

Preconference preparation helped us get to know the attendees (who are also our customers) a lot better. As we made plans for the conference, we gathered as much information as possible on attendees to make sure the event would be beneficial for them.

During the event, we sat down and listened — face-to-face — to everyone’s real-time feedback. According to a survey by Constant Contact, 48 percent of respondents believe meetings drive business more effectively than websites or email marketing. This in-person communication helped balance the event’s agenda with everyone’s desires and needs and helped us learn more about the main business issues our customers face.

Our primary goal is to help small- and medium-sized companies improve every aspect of their businesses, so we worked hard to ensure all classes, meetings, and speakers touched on a variety of ways to maximize productivity and overall profitability.

#2. Put a face to your brand

Hosting or attending large business events enables clients and customers to attach a face to your brand. Because you’ll have representatives on hand, make sure they depict your brand exactly how you want it to be showcased.

Too often, employees fail to understand what differentiates their company from competitors. Gallup recently asked more than 3,000 random workers to assess their understanding of the brands they work for, and 24 percent lacked a strong grasp — likely due to training issues.

Prior to Edge, we held meetings to train our team on exactly how to act, dress, and even eat (e.g., either out of view or sitting with customers). When teammates were inside the venue, they acted as brand ambassadors from the minute they arrived until the minute they left. Everyone knew what was expected, down to the breath mints in their pockets. We not only made a good impression, but we also got to put faces to our customers. These kinds of personal connections benefit both sides of a business relationship.

#3. Solicit feedback from customers

At the end of the Edge User Conference, we solicited feedback from all attendees, guests, and speakers. We wanted to know what they thought about how things went and how they could be improved for next year.

There’s always an expectation, no matter how much success your company achieves, that the next success will be bigger and better. Soliciting feedback from our clients, customers, and business partners allowed us an excellent opportunity to gather information that would help us improve all of our brand’s offerings.

Listening to customer feedback is the foundation of delivering beyond expectations every time you interact with them. This is why political polls, market research, and customer satisfaction surveys exist — everyone’s opinion counts, and each can be enlightening.

Conferences Are Great Networking Opportunities

Business conferences are often expensive to attend, and determining the value and ROI is important to those who are deciding whether it’s beneficial to do so. Therefore, focusing on meeting customers’ needs, increasing revenue opportunities, and planning ahead are the keys to hosting a successful conference. It helps to understand that the event will be a financial loss going in, but the potential for sales and converting new customers, vendors, suppliers, and partners is worth the expense.

However, the No.1 benefit of hosting an event like this is building relationships with our customers. This was valuable time to build personal connections and network. Getting to meet the people they’ve talked on the phone or communicated online with was great both for our employees and for our customers.

Our employees left the conference inspired and committed to finding ways to improve our training and marketing, as well as our support and implementation processes to help our brand and our clients grow together.

Our customers left with an emotional connection to our product because now they could put a face to a name. Especially in today’s world, where transactions and even support are often conducted online, business can seem cold and impersonal. We actually had customers in tears over the conference and the product, and this kind of experience creates a lasting emotional connection to our company.

The Edge User Conference was a success for my company, and the personal relationships built there will last far beyond the event itself. Moreover, we believe conference attendees left with an arsenal of information and tools that will better enable them to compete in today’s market — no matter the size of their business.

Images: Edge User Conference

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Matt Peterson

Matt Peterson

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