There's a common adage that's been making the rounds in the business world for years:…
As meeting partners, we work with a variety of different meeting planners, and all these different personalities and job titles react differently to our communications, prospecting and relationship building. Corporate meeting planners differ in their expectations from association planners, versus those planning an evening event function.
Corporate planners can also take different forms depending on how much of their day is spent planning meetings.
Typical Meetings Hosted by Corporate Planners
Corporate planners plan a plethora of different types of meetings:
- internal staff training meetings – these typically originate from an internal manager or director who reaches out to the meeting planner to plan the event. The internal manager may or may not know what the goal of the staff training may be; many of these meetings are “because they thought they should have a meeting”.
- internal incentive meetings and events – these are more celebratory and offer staff retention value to the corporation.
- external client facing meetings – likely a director or C-level executive requests these types of meetings to reach B2B clients of the corporation
Below are some different types of corporate meeting planners and ways to work better with corporate planners:
Corporate meeting planners, “Meeting Planner” or facsimile in their job title
These planners likely have some formal education and meetings industry knowledge under their belt. Meeting planning may be 60%+ of their job, so they are learning and cutting their teeth on their skills every day.
How to get their attention – it almost goes without saying, corporate planners are busy people and there are lots of people trying to get their attention. It’ll be tougher to romance this audience with something new and cutting edge. They are likely receiving tons of emails and invitations from meeting partners to experience their hotel or service. Differentiating your product or service will be the only way to get their attention. These planners are the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” type of planner. Corporate planners tend to be Type A personalities.
How they make decisions – decisions are typically not made by the planner themselves. They answer to internal clients and other stakeholders who hold the final vote on the venue or destination they will take their meeting to. Trying to reach the other internal clients and stakeholders will likely not work, so your best bet is to create persuasive messaging that can be easily passed along. In some cases, decisions by their internal clients are made regardless of the various marketing tactics you try (ie. the C-level executive who took their spouse somewhere for a weekend 3 years ago… that’s where they want to book their upcoming board meeting).
This may not work –
- full day site visits and FAMs may be tough given their schedules; try scheduling stuff well in advance
- trying to “go around” them to the decision maker. They are the gatekeeper, respect their role as this
Try this –
- this is a GREAT audience to host group dinners or receptions where like-minded corporate planners can get together and socialize.
- including some education on their site or FAM day may help them sell the day away from the office back to their corporation
Corporate meeting planners – administrative assistants, human resources, communications
These corporate meeting planners only occasionally plan meetings and they are typically smaller in nature (ie departmental meetings, board meetings, training sessions). Meeting planning can be as little as 10% of their overall job description.
How to get their attention – keep it simple. These planners have a ton of different skill sets to work with, and meeting planning only gets a small fraction of their attention. Keeping it simple means giving them the information in layman’s terms, but keeping it vibrant and exciting at the same time.
How they make decisions – similarly to full-time corporate planners, the occasional planner also answers to other internal clients and stakeholders
This may not work –
- complicated industry lingo may not work with this group
Try this –
- this is a great group for romancing as they likely are not recognized for their hard work on a regular basis. Spoiling them is always appreciated. Group parties with admins from the same company will work. High levels of service and ease of doing business will make loyal customers out of this group of planners.
- ask for referrals – given the vast network of planners that can exist at a corporation, asking your new corporate client for referrals to others that plan meetings can work to find others at the corporation.
Corporate planners are a great group of planners to work with – building relationships with them can result in some amazing business and loyal customers! Take some time to get to know YOUR corporate planners and prospects!
Want more tips on how to best reach corporate planners? Download these handy actionable tips here.
RELATED – Working with Type A Planners