Letting your CRM take the heat out of events

11 April 2016 by Naresh Raj

Have you ever considered getting your CRM to manage more than just contact data? Ever wondered if it could manage your events? And I’m not talking about it just recording bookings or attendance fed in from a third party-system or your website CMS.

 

Have you ever considered getting your CRM to manage more than just contact data? Ever wondered if it could manage your events? And I’m not talking about it just recording bookings or attendance fed in from a third party-system or your website CMS.

I’m talking about your CRM being the central source for all aspects of organising and managing an event, whether it’s a simple one-off seminar or a multi-day, multi-stream conference.

Many systems allow you to manage subscriptions, marketing and other member touch points. A key touch-point for many member organisations is events. If this is the case for you then you should be looking to use an events management system.

How can an events management system help?

You might be thinking that you don’t need such a system as a) you have an events team, b) your current way of managing events works just fine and/or c) you see it as just logging information in another place (delete as appropriate). But don’t be quite so hasty!

There are a number of benefits of using an events system:

  • Everything in one place - not in Excel, Word, post-it notes or your team’s brains, meaning the event can still go ahead whoever is off sick/on holiday etc. and you can manage multiple events happening at the same time with less confusion
  • Gives you visibility of past, planned and future events - so you can see everything at one glance
  • See what events appeal to different types of member - see who’s attending what and more importantly NOT attending so you can identify gaps in your event offering

​What should I look for in an events management system?

There are number of key features to look for:

  • Simple and easy to use - goes without saying doesn’t it? If it’s too complicated staff just won’t adopt it
  • Flexibility to manage events of different scale - from (relatively) simple single location seminars to large, multi-stream conferences
  • Customisable - to work within the quirks of your organisation (it’s ok, we all have them)
  • Ability to include information on speakers, sponsors and exhibitors - so it’s not just your delegates who are recorded in CRM
  • Track and monitor - accommodation, transport and venues in the one place
  • Automation of event tasks and communications - it should be more than simply a storage facility; you should be able to automate certain tasks and emails with the help of workflows and…
  • ...Integration with an email service provider - so you can have all the benefits of your email service (e.g. dotmailer) combined with the automation and storage capabilities of your CRM
  • Integration with your front-end booking system - whether it be your website or a third-party platform so all the delegate registration data is fed into your CRM automatically
  • Integration with your finance system - or a third-party payment gateway to allow for easy payment and recording of such information automatically in CRM
  • Integrated with your own CRM - sitting within it preferably so everything is easily accessible for users

That last feature brings me onto the main point for this article. If you’ve been busy integrating all your systems with your CRM (in order to have all customer data in one place), it doesn’t make sense to start using one that isn’t integrated with your CRM, does it?

So, ideally you should look for an events management module that sits within your CRM already, giving you all the benefits of your CRM with all the familiarity of that system and the peace of mind that all information around your events is in the same place as your delegate data.

Now, that makes sense doesn’t it?

If you’re wondering if any such event management systems exist then you should check out our smartevents module, designed to sit within Microsoft Dynamics. Read more about it»