How to choose the right SMMP provider

Strategic meetings management programs (SMMP) offer a comprehensive means to take back transparency, compliance and control over your organization’s meetings and events spend. Our experience allows us to estimate potential savings between 15 and 25 per cent within the first two years of adopting an effective SMMP.

That said, introducing strategic meetings management to your business requires strategy, flexibility and ongoing support to ensure all company processes are in line with your SMMP. For this reason, it's vital you choose a provider who's prepared to work with you according to the needs of your business.

In this article, we'll address five defining attributes of an excellent SMMP provider.

1. Reputation of the SMM provider

Before entering any service provider relationship, it's important to do your research as to the reputation and backing of all providers under consideration. Key factors to look at when determining if a provider is reputable include:

  • Company size,
  • Time in the meetings and events industry,
  • Age of SMM offering,
  • Tenure of existing clients,
  • Financial backing.

This final point is especially important, as choosing a provider with the backing of a larger business means there's less threat of losing support or having services downgraded due to factors outside of your control.

An SMM provider with the financial backing of a global business offer greater security and reliability.

An SMM provider with the financial backing of a global business offer greater security and reliability.

2. SMM processes

Be wary of any provider offering a quick-fix or off-the-shelf SMM solution.

SMM is a process, not a tick-box. It takes time to develop a strategy that aligns with your organization’s goals and objectives, and has the necessary flexibility to adapt as your business grows. You need to take SMM one step at a time, continually building the program as you gain visibility to your data and necessary changes to policy become apparent. A quick-fix solution may be able to help in the short term, but you want a provider that's not just giving you a product, but offering long-term partnership and development.

Likewise, off-the-shelf solutions may work well in some procurement and management strategies, but SMM is not one of them. If your SMMP is not customized for your business, it can't effectively increase long-term savings and drive the right behaviors within the organization. A bespoke SMMP helps you achieve year-on-year growth and stay ahead of changes coming in the industry.

3. SMM technology

A great provider will offer a comprehensive suite of technology, enabling you to self-manage data as needed. An absence of user tools requires all data and strategy run solely through your provider, thereby calling for a higher headcount and greater overrides that flow through to you. Having a balance of technology and human services is crucial for ensuring you stay in control of your spend.

In terms of self-managed tools, an SMM provider like cimeetings offers a technology suite accessed via a single portal, including venue sourcing, analytical software, marketing and event communication tools, contact management and billing. On top of this, smart reporting is available alongside account management and assisted services.

Achieve visibility and insight support by technology and account management with cimeetings.

Achieve visibility and insight support by technology and account management with cimeetings.

4. Account management

On that note, your SMMP provider should never truly leave you alone with your data. Rather, a provider must wrap consultation and analysis around their SMM offering so they can advise on areas clients can leverage and/or improve. Adopting an SMMP without any prior experience can mean you're not realizing the full potential of your data. A dedicated account management team helps you identify areas for growth or revision and maximize the benefits of your SMMP.

Your provider should offer support every step of the way to answer questions and guide the implementation of your program. Be wary of any provider offering a pure technology solution, as you're likely to find you lack the human analysis, direction and guidance to customize your program and achieve your SMMP goals.

Being able to track your data across both self-managed technology and assisted services provides you with fantastic transparency and visibility across events, from five-person training sessions to national summits. Data is collated in a central location, granting you visibility over spend to leverage future deals while our people can analyze that to drive recommendations and year-on-year savings.

Leverage the excellence of a full team of professionals with cimeetings and cievents.

Leverage the excellence of a full team of professionals with cimeetings and cievents.

5. Scalability of meetings and events services

In addition to account management services, consider what else your provider could offer should the need arise. Because meetings and events are so broad in scale, it's convenient to know you have the backing of a full team of event professionals who can provide support as needed.

As part of cievents, cimeetings can extend the services of a global team of event professionals to assist in the management, production and creative services relating to events of any size. Whether you need a hand managing group logistics or optimizing event strategy and messaging, you can rest assured knowing you have a partner ready to help.

Ready to unlock the full potential of strategic meetings management in your business? Reach out to the cimeetings team today to learn more.

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