Annual Meeting ROI
How to Justify Annual Meeting Attendance
As a manager, how do you propose any allocation of resources in your company/organization? You need to understand two components to make decisions: expense (investment) and ROI (return on investment.)
Expenses Worksheet (download)
Annual Meeting expenses are affected by a number of factors. Before you can even begin to justify Annual Meeting expenses, you need to calculate what those expenses are. To do so, utilize the following expenses worksheet to develop a cost estimate for attending the Annual Meeting:
Understanding the Benefits
Honestly, many of the benefits from attending an Annual Meeting are very hard to quantify. For example, many past Annual Meeting attendees would say that the top benefit of Annual Meeting attendance is networking. Where else can you find so many total cost management professionals facing the same or similar issues as you do at your company/organization? Are there solutions you aren’t aware of? Although networking is undoubtedly the most important aspect of the Annual Meeting, it is also the toughest for which to quantify any value.
On the other hand, if an employee came to you and said, “I want you to fund me for $4,000 and I don’t know what it’ll do for you,” then you would likely laugh at the offer.
When you propose a conference for approvals, don’t focus on how much you want to go. You should focus on what you will specifically bring back to the company/organization as payback for the investment.
Some specific details you’ll need to identify include:
- Technical session content – what technical sessions have particular relevance to your organization’s work?
- Vendor contacts – the Annual Meeting features exhibitors and showcase presentations by the premium exhibitors. From these vendors, you can learn about tools for use at your company/organization. The show floor is a great opportunity to compare competing tools.
- Best practices – will there be sessions in areas that will immediately benefit your company/organization?
- Training – there will be skills and knowledge sessions designed to teach attendees or help them brush up on their total cost management skills.
Quantifying the Benefits Worksheet (download)
Although you might understanding the benefits of the Annual Meeting that interests you, your manager may not. Therefore, to be most effective in justifying the Annual Meeting, you need to clearly articulate the connection between your company/organization’s knowledge requirements and the Annual Meeting program. Do not assume that your manager will be able to automatically make these distinctions.
To support this process use the following benefits worksheet to help you focus on the benefits. Use whatever makes sense for your particular company/organization and omit the rest.
Sell, Sell, Sell
After you have identified the specific knowledge benefits, you’ve’ provided both the expenses and benefits your manager needs to decide the value of your proposition. A salesperson works the same way. They do not let customers infer the value of what they are selling, they make the sale!
Sell the Annual Meeting to your manager!