With new Covid 19 vaccines being announced and restrictions on events being eased, we are looking forward to the events industry getting back on track in 2021 after an extraordinary 2020.
If event businesses want to thrive going forward then they need to take a look at the data they hold, how they can use that data and, most importantly, turn that data into actionable information.
How data analysis can drive your business forward
Data analysis? Sounds a bit scary – it needn’t be. You don’t need to be an Excel wizard. Armed with a logical approach you only need to concentrate your efforts in a few key areas:
New leads are the lifeblood of any venue and increasing conversions is going to have a major positive impact on your bottom line.
It’s vital that by quickly looking at your venue management software you get these key pieces of data:
- An overview for each enquiry. We recommend holding data on enquiry status, the contact details, lead source and potential revenue
- Probability – A probability of closing against each enquiry and against each salesperson
- Revenue contribution – A vital piece of data for evaluating the effectiveness of marketing activity
- A summary – A summary of the number of enquiries against revenue against probability
By using this data you can easily make key decisions:
- Identify which lead sources work and which don’t. Take a long-term view to make quick yet informed decisions on where to invest your marketing budget.
- Get a snapshot view of what business is coming in and who is bringing it in. Make the right resource allocations for the future and identify which salespeople need coaching.
- Obtain a candid view of the effectiveness of lead generation against the bottom line.
- Most importantly, get an accurate forecast of future business and revise sales targets where appropriate.
New business may drive future business but it’s also important that you drive repeat business from your existing client base.
Key data that you need to extract from your venue management software includes:
- Identification of who your most valuable customers are by revenue contribution
- What type events they have booked before?
- Any patterns e.g. they book an AGM every October
Armed with this information you can easily create targeted and effective loyalty campaigns. With marketing budgets being slashed due to Covid it is more important than ever to be able to identify quantifiably who your most valuable customers are rather than relying on guesswork or, worse, sentiment.
As a best practice we recommend you put 80% of your efforts into the top 20% of your clients. By being able to identify patterns you can identify low hanging fruit then easily reach out to them for a repeat booking and a good venue management software will make this an automatic process.
This is a bigger dataset which needs to be more detailed and all-encompassing to give a holistic view of sales performance. This is critical as it enables the sales manager to evaluate future business and also to help marketing get a better understanding of what they need to do to support sales with better qualified leads.
The data needed here includes:
- A list of every enquiry with status
- The capability to order this by month, salesperson, arrival date, enquiry date and confirmation date
- Total number of enquiries
- Number of appointments generated – split by telephone and in-person
- Total revenue value
The pandemic has accelerated a move towards hybrid and virtual events. A good venue management system will enable you to easily track the revenue contribution of such events as they become increasingly become an important revenue stream.
Look beyond the data
Collecting data for data’s sake is no good to anyone.
You need to look beyond the figures and put together a story of what the data is telling you and how it can be used to influence future outcomes.
Looking beyond the data you can also take decisive actions and drive continuous improvement:
- Identify which opportunities are stuck in the pipeline and devise a strategy to move them to close. Ask yourself some questions – would this client move to a close if you were prepared to make a concession on price? Could you sweeten the deal if you added some complimentary items to the event? Maybe the event could be done withing their budget if you moved it offline?
- It’s more than just revenue in isolation – you need to look at the human dimension. Look at your most successful sales people – what aspects of their success can the others emulate? Is there a training opportunity? If there is – could they lead it and could it be recorded for future sales people to refer to?
- What trends are you seeing? What efforts can the marketing team make to generate more of these enquiries? If you are seeing a trend towards wedding enquiries, for example, should they invest in virtual wedding fair?
- Are enquiries for hybrid events increasing? An opportunity here to invest in state of the art facilities – which you can monetise.
With a deep dive into the data and some out of the box thinking it is possible to drive innovative strategic decisions which will have a real long-term benefit to your venue.
Quality Not Quantity
Numbers can only take you so far. Sometimes they don’t tell the whole story as you may be missing key pieces of data or, rather, the interconnections between data sets.
You may be missing a trick as you don’t know at a micro level how your prospects are engaging with you digitally before they even pick up the phone or complete an enquiry form on your website. This is again where technology can help you to build a competitive advantage as you can swoop in before anyone else does.
We would recommend that as well as a venue management software solution that you also look at an integrated CRM solution – such as Microsoft Dynamics – which will give you a wealth of qualitative information around the conversations your sales team are having with prospects as well as giving you the full picture of your marketing team’s performance in areas such as social media and email marketing.
Taking this theme of integration further, you can also integrate the CRM with Google Analytics so that you can then start to see through the CRM who is repeatedly visiting your site, which pages they are visiting and take action. A good CRM will enable you to create targeted and personalised campaigns to these repeat visitors – keeping your venue top of mind.
The CRM will also enable you to present this whole 360 degree view graphically using easy to understand dashboard reporting and exports to Excel for further interrogation. You will, for the first time, get an end to end view of how your sales and marketing activity is translating to sales at every touchpoint.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what data can do to help your venue prosper in 2021. Armed with key data sets it is easy to see where your sales activities are working and where they need improvement.
We are excited about how using complementary technologies together can create actionable data and effective outcomes. Elements of automation such as targeted email marketing to your returning website visitors will enable you to retarget prospects more effectively – a great time saver and revenue generator.
For more information on how Rendezvous venue management software can help you then download our new brochure today for an easy to read overview. Also check out our sales guide and related blogs about how technology can aid you in the sales process.