Whether it’s a sales event for 30 or 2000 people, there are certain things you should go through in order to build a sustainable, impactful sales event.
As I’m a professional of sales with 20+ years of experience, I figured Oliver Lopez Industries could share what makes a sales event impressive as well as what should one cover in order to organise an event that will blow everybody’s mind.
First of all – the purpose
Obviously, before you get into planning, you need to figure out, why are you organising this sales event in particular and what your goals are in doing this.
I know you probably feel like “duh, it’s to do this this and that”, but I’m telling you – writing down clear statements with specific goals is the key.
You should do it together with the people that have decided that this event is needed, most likely the executives of sales & marketing.
Every single decision you or your team will be doing later will fall on these statements and will keep your event in place.
- Is this event here to present the new strategies that your company is overtaking?
- Is the purpose to boost everyone’s motivation for higher goals?
- Is it here to do both? Teach employees about new platforms? Or maybe it is co-creation space? You name it, this is the time and place for you to decide on the purpose of the event.
Goals & Timeline
As sales people have KPIs, every other job position has this too.
Set the goals for the attendance, budget, content. Make it as measurable as possible and make sure every person of the team is aware of it.
Obviously, you also need to set a time frame. Once you have all the tasks divided, you’ll be able to put them all in a timeline and figure out how much space is there for each task.
Your Team Managers
If this is a sales event of 30 people – you might be able to organise it alone or with a partner, this being your main job in the organisation. However, if this is an event of 2000 people, you must have a core team with A LOT OF HELP.
When I talk about the core team, I mean the people that will direct the most important parts of the event – the content & the logistics.
These people should have their own teams responsible for implementing the plans you create together and should be responsible for managing them.
Usually, in the event of 2000 – 3000 people the content team has ±8 people that manage speakers, speaking sponsors and the whole agenda of the event.
The team of logistics will have around 10 people with more supporting during the event. They will take care of the venue, food and drink arrangements, transportation, accommodation, attendants, tech side of the event and will provide for any need a person might possess during and before your big day or weekend!
Management of the content
You as a project manager should find someone who could easily understand your vision for the event.
It helps if it’s someone with enough of sales background to relate to the needs of the attendants, who is in the company for a good while and who has experience in speaking at sales events so they know how to deal with speakers and attendants.
You and the content manager should put together the goals for the agenda of the event, depending on its purpose.
Together you should define your target audience, whether there’s a need to split the agenda according to the experience of the attendants, figure out how much of the content should be divided to deliver each of your goals.
You should also build a time frame for the agenda, together with breaks, networking spaces, keynotes, workshops, etc. Everything that will happen during the event, should be planned according to how much time you have.
Think of how the content can stand out, have enough of space for accomplishment of different goals and above all – don’t overcrowd it. People want to come for knowledge, but they don’t want to feel like working.
Speaker management of the sales event
Once you have decided on the purpose, goals, attendants, you need to figure out who will deliver the event. The final responsible for this job is the content manager and their team.
To figure out who should be the person to talk in front of all the attendants, think of who will transmit the message you want to deliver the best and what will make the people attending excited the most.
To downscale a strategy → Leader of the sales section of your organisation or the CEO.
To facilitate building a strategy → An outside sales consultant that understands your reality and has wonderful facilitating skills. (Could be a team of these people.)
To inspire for growth → An outside sales speaker that could talk about what your company has been doing with experience, but has an encouraging message for the changes you want to implement or aspire new action.
To entertain and let everyone loose → An entertaining host for the whole sales event/improv group/band/dj, etc..
Generally, my take on the internal events is that there should be a balance between external and internal speakers. It all depends on the capabilities of your executives, unless you are sure that the attendants will love a workshop or a keynote delivered by their boss – don’t do it.
Internal events tend to drift into “he knows best, so he should talk” even if the person is not fit for speaking in public.
Information can be passed on to someone, but the charisma and speaking skills are much tougher to be taught in a matter of days.
However, there is no point to ask an external speaker to teach your employees about this new strategy you’re implementing, because there needs to be a personal connection to the delivered content.
Your employees will know that this person will have nothing to do with your company as soon as this sales event is over, so they will definitely not build a personal connection and trust to what is being delivered in the room.
You should leave your content team to make invitations, arrangements and as a project manager you should oversee that they happen on time and in case your content manager is having trouble – help them work it out.
Management of the logistics
Now this is a huge part of what the sales event is built on or any event for that matter. Simple things like a lack of microphones or the lunch not being on time can make the whole event seem like a failure. That is why your logistics manager needs to be someone with great project management skills and an ability to manage big teams.
This person has to oversee everything from the tiniest details like having the carpets be the right colour to solving last minute troubles like having the roof of a venue break down a day before the event. It’s someone who is good under pressure and has great problem-solving skills.
Usually, the team of logistics takes care of these things:
- Communication with the attendants
- Support for the needs of the speakers
- Marketing of the event
- Informal part of the event
How far you are going to go with details, it really depends on the team you gather and your determination.
Some business events provide simple but crucial parts and succeed, however there are people who go all out with personalization, decorations and bringing in entertainment that no office had ever seen before, help out speakers to go to the next level with extraordinary ways of delivering content.
As the project manager you should support your team of logistics to keep everything intact, on time and with excellent quality.
An overall role of an event project manager
As a lot of responsibilities were divided between the teams of content and logistics, it might seem like the project manager is left with little to do.
However, if the event fails, they would be the one to blame. That is why the project manager has to oversee the big plan, assure that all the parts of the team are functioning and performing on time and with the quality that the company wants.
The project manager also communicates with the sales executives of the company that most likely created the strategy that needs to be presented. They bring in all the people and tasks that must happen for the event to perform best.
Depending on the nature of the project manager, they can also get a little more involved in the content creation or the logistics, depending on what are their passions and what matters to them the most. It is okay as long as the final responsibilities are clear and no roles are overtaken. If you get involved into somebody else’s business, it should only happen if they are happy with it and if they make the final decisions.
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You can also book me as a speaker for your next company event!
Sales & Marketing Alignment Advocate, HubSpot Gold Partner, Owner of Structsales.
With 20 years of experience in sales and marketing it’s exciting to share what it takes to build the best sales organization for your business to thrive.