As you already know, DistribuTech is a massive event – with almost 10,000 attendees, over 350 speakers, and 475+ exhibitors. Getting off course can lead to a missed opportunity, so how can you make the most of your trip? Here are 5 simple, perhaps obvious, but often neglected steps you can take to ensure optimal gains:
1. Focus On Your Core Objectives
Maybe this is the one event a year that you attend solely for the opportunity to learn and remain on top of industry trends, in which case, reviewing the agenda thoroughly and choosing your tracks is really all you need to do. However, if you are in the process of considering a solution or service, the expectation is that you get back to the office at least one step closer to your final decision.
• Review your agenda, focus, clarify expectations.
If you’re still in phase one of the shopping experience, you may not know who you need to speak to; therefore, scoping out the list of speakers and exhibitors pre-conference to establish the “must-sees” is critical to meeting your objective. DistribuTECH offers a truly comprehensive event guide of the floor plans, agenda and speaker information to make this task as easy as possible. Furthermore, you will likely be receiving information from vendors planning to attend; create a folder in your email account that auto-archives all content that includes the keyword “DistribuTECH,” so that you can review it during this exercise.
• Examine the event lists, time tables, and floor plan; organize your vendor emails the smart way.
Generally speaking, while at the event, don’t be afraid to grab the collateral and business cards for those businesses that you may not have the time to dedicate time to on the spot, they may very well end-up being the “one,” even if they weren’t on your agenda. Be sure to engage with companies that may not necessarily be exhibiting, many smaller vendors may not have the interest or marketing budgets to exhibit, but actually have the precise type of niche expertise you require, and attend the event to network and further their knowledge as well.
• Knowledge is power; collect cards and handouts to research after the event, you never know if it could lead to better meeting your objectives.
• Take the opportunity to network, vendors that don’t make your list could actually be the perfect fit.
2. Divide and Conquer
If your company has more than one person attending, get together to discuss the strategy for the event and how you can each be responsible for gathering specific information. For consistency, and to make this exercise effective, ensure your criteria for the ideal vendor/partner is on-hand, so that if you each connect with the right people, you drill down into the key questions and are able to compare apples to apples upon your return.
• With multiple attendees, make a game plan; hit on the same key points for an equal comparison later.
Having two participants allows you to devote extra time to getting to know some of the niche vendors, if your schedule allows. Aside from meeting your initial objectives, having multiple attendees allows you to collectively research and connect with smaller vendors that may have a different way of doing things than some of the larger vendors. Even if you’re able to add one new vendor each, you increase your odds of obtaining information to help you fulfill your objectives.
• Complete your initial objectives, but diversify your schedule.
• Take the opportunity to bring back more than just the basics.
3. Schedule Key Meetings Before the Event
Once you’ve done your research, book appointments with whom you’d like to speak to before the event. Spending a short amount of time to better organize your schedule prior to the event allows you to maximize your time while attending, and ensures you’ll be able to meet your main objectives. If you’re attending with others, take the initiative to make sure they do the same, this will free up time and allow for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
• Book ahead to maximize time and headaches.
With key meetings scheduled take the time to review your original plan. You may find you have more time than you originally thought, allowing for further networking opportunities, or the chance to add more exhibitors or speakers to your schedule. Or, if time allows, this is the perfect opportunity to revisit the additional vendor information you’ve picked up and spend more time with some of these vendors one on one.
• Revisit your schedule and plan to use the time you may have saved wisely.
4. Keep the Momentum Going Back Home
Make sure each attendee dedicates approximately 45minutes, either on the flight back home or as soon as they are back in the office, to focus on consolidating all the key takeaways. While they are fresh, put these ideas into one document, with identified actions and deadlines for you and your team to get the ball rolling on with the key contacts you have made.
• Don’t waste time, focus on consolidating and identifying actions.
• MAKE DEADLINES; don’t put things off until later, or you risk losing the momentum.
Put all of the business cards and collateral on your desk and categorize them into 3 groups:
Connect with these contacts on LinkedIn, schedule follow-up conversations or do some further research. Book a debrief session to consolidate the data, and at least one follow-up meeting to the debrief session to ensure all actions were taken. When you double check that all resources were thoroughly investigated, you can confirm that time was well spent and no opportunity was missed.
• Categorize, contact, research, and review.
• Take the time to organize the resulting data and follow-up.
5. Close the Loop
Now that the information has been completely reviewed and the list of partners, vendors, and clients has been narrowed to ones that could fit your needs, close the loop. Organize a strategy with management and stakeholders to select those who are going to bring the most benefit to your organization. Take the opportunity to show case your findings and field questions to help solidify your decisions and move forward.
• Narrow down results and make decisions based on maximum overall benefits.
• Keep the forward momentum going in order to meet your goals.
Deciding to work with a partner, regardless of the service type, requires the appropriate amount of time and the contribution of many key stakeholders. With the help of preliminary research compiled at events like DistribuTECH, it can make closing he loop easier at the end of the line.
• Move toward end goals by using events like DistribuTECH wisely.
If your goals for the event are focused on Field Workforce Management, and include issues such as:
• Increasing proactive maintenance
• Better reporting for management
• Improved mapping for field personnel
• Significant cost savings via automation
Please consider adding Diabsolut to your DistribuTECH agenda. Diabsolut is the Leading Solutions Integration Partner for ClickSoftware technology solutions in North America, and will have two of our top Workforce Management Experts in attendance; Bryan Ward, EVP, Business Development, and Micheline Chiniara, Strategic Account Executive.
Keep us in your thoughts as you schedule key meetings, to ensure you maximize your time at this year’s event, and meet your: Implementation, Integration, Optimization, Change Management, and Learning and Development needs.