How to Plan for Success. 

If you’ve been put in charge of planning your company’s upcoming sales conference, chances are you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, this is a likely big investment and an opportunity for you to either shine or feel the repercussions if all doesn’t go smoothly. By thoroughly planning ahead and teaming with the right experts, the event can be both memorable and motivating, while improving your own standing within your organization.

The best place to start is by understanding the goal of the sales conference. Is it to motivate and reward your sales force or distributors? Are you trying to provide a networking opportunity for different regional groups? Or perhaps the conference is to introduce a major new product? Knowing the goal will determine all the aspects of the conference, including the venue, speaker, and activities.

Once you have a clear purpose for your sales conference, you can create the preliminary agenda. It’s important to figure out what types of meeting spaces you might need for small group and large group sessions or presentations. Will your company be entertaining attendees on the venue grounds or will there be golf outings, fishing trips, local scenic tours, museum visits, spa or shopping excursions? Knowing all of this will help determine the location and type of venue needed.

Establish a budget. You need to know how much you have to spend on the venue, a speaker(s), entertainment, food, drinks, pre-show marketing, event signage, apparel, gifts, staffing, etc.

Book your venue, hotel rooms, and any transportation needed. This includes airfare if necessary, as well as shuttle buses to and from an airport or entertainment venues.

Secure your speaker and hire any vendors you might need. Find out what types of accommodations your speaker requires. Line up any vendors needed to produce or assist with your marketing materials.

Figure out how much branding you’d like to do. Should your sales conference have a logo that supports its theme? A consistent look and message will go a long way. How much signage will be needed at the event? Will each attendee receive a gift, and if so, will imprinted promotional items be included? Use the same color scheme and design on the invite, email updates, program books, event schedules, social media, etc.

Begin formulating a social media plan. This should include everything from having a Facebook event page and/or a Twitter hashtag. Posts leading up to the event can help attendees reserve the date.

Consider using an event app. Event apps can be fully branded and customized to promote your conference while informing and engaging your audience before, during and after the event. These apps can also be a great way for participants to connect.

Try to anticipate your attendees’ needs. Will they need phone charging stations? Will a secure Wi-Fi network be available? Does the venue offer healthy vegan menu options?

Conduct a post-conference survey. This can be done at the conclusion of your event or sent to attendees afterwards. It’s a great way to gain feedback and improve upon your success.

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