We know from experience (having worked for CVBs on the marketing and sales side) that the group sales team faces many challenges when trying to reach the organization’s goals to drive more meetings and conventions business. Oftentimes, there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales and it’s of no fault of either one of the teams.
This disconnect is something we specialize in unifying—bridging the gap and helping both teams be more successful in their endeavors.
The CVB sales team has several “customers” they need to develop relationships with in order to be successful. It’s often hard trying to juggle their customers and meet their goals.
Typical CVB sales team’s customers include:
- Meeting planners
- Third-party planners
- CVB Board of Directors
- CVB Sales Committee Members
- Convention Center Staff
- Hotel Sales Leadership
- Hotel Sales Managers
- Unique Venue Partners
- Tourist Development Councils
With so many relationships and needs to manage at different levels, the CVB sales team is juggling the internal community’s need for group business along with the needs of the meeting planners they are trying to attract to the destination. Often, sales teams are spending as much time, if not most of their time, reporting, documenting, creating communication pieces and justifying their work as they are trying to sell the destination (and where’s the time for follow-up with the clients?!). And, to top it off, they are not able to directly represent the product they are selling, leaving the piece of business in the hands of their partners to close the group they worked so hard to cultivate and generate.
Most CVB sales teams are measured on room nights booked when, in all reality, they have no way of contracting business themselves since they don’t own the product.
At Digital Edge, we often counsel our CVB clients on moving to a sales activity-based model where the group sales team is measured more off of the sales activity they are generating. Activities include developing new planner contacts along with sales activities like FAMs, client events, sales missions, trade shows, site tours, research and leads generated. These are the actual sales activities the CVB can control, yet these activities are not valued as highly as booked business.
So, how can a more integrated marketing strategy help the group sales effort overcome these challenges?
When marketing is working to complement the sales team’s efforts, there are multiple benefits.
- The sales team has more time to focus on the sales process.
- The sales team has tools and resources to complement the sales process:
- Sales sheets
- Automated emails
- Template emails
- Sales presentations
- Sales videos
- Evergreen content
- Marketing surveys
- The meetings marketing creates awareness for a very targeted audience that helps introduce the brand to planners and decision-makers.
Digital Edge works with both your sales and marketing teams to identify where we can utilize marketing to intersect with planners as they are moving through the buying funnel.
When you break down the meetings marketing to develop strategies and tactics for each phase of the buying journey, it becomes easy to see what marketing can be most effective and where. We deploy strategies for each phase, all the way through to when convention services help welcome the group when the meeting occurs. By sitting down with your sales team and understanding what questions they get asked at the different stages and what messaging they use, your marketing team will have a plethora of information available to pull from to create the marketing strategies and tactics.
Generating Leads & Driving More Value from Partners & Boards
One of the most challenging parts of being on the group sales team is hearing from your partners that they already received the lead you sent and that they won’t be giving the CVB credit for the lead as a result. Often, the CVB is criticized for generating a lead the hotelier or center already received, which is not something they can control—CVBs don’t own the product and most planners are using the CVENT portal to distribute their RFPs.
The best way to overcome this challenge is to utilize marketing to generate your own leads.
When you make the decision to run lead generation marketing campaigns that are integrated with your sales team’s efforts, you are helping your team in so many ways. One, you are giving them a targeted lead generation source that is tailored to the types of business they are being pressured to grow. Business that is not being developed at trade shows or by copying the CVB on mass leads to hotels and centers. Two, you are giving the organization the opportunity to make your marketing investment more valuable and more measurable.
Lead generation campaigns provide valuable new planner contacts the sales team can utilize to grow into RFP opportunities. Working with your marketing team to fine-tune the targeting along the way will help focus the marketing to drive more real business opportunities for the destination.
Supporting Sales Team Gives Overall Organization More Value
Having been a VP of Marketing for two different bureaus, I understand how very little time your marketing team has for the meetings marketing. Quite frankly, that is why we started Digital Edge. We created our solutions to be tailored to what the sales team needs, what the marketing team needs and how we can shake up meetings marketing to be more innovative.
If you would like to start off with a conversation about how this all works and learn more about the programs we offer, reach out and say hello.
If you are ready to tackle the process on your own, you have a wealth of resources available to support you—from blogs to free whitepapers and eBooks. And, if you have an idea for a piece of content that would be helpful, send us a note and we will see what we can do!
with 10 years of DMO experience as an Interim President & CEO, Deputy Director and Vice President of Marketing for various DMO’s, Mya uses her expertise to shape marketing strategies & solutions for the agency’s roster of clients. Oh and by the way, she likes to share those meetings marketing strategies while presenting at industry conferences. Look her up!