The answer can be yes, if you do some other things right.
In my experience, the typical impact of an event looks like Figure 1. Impact on the sales force and market share spikes briefly, then settles close to previous levels.Begin with this simple idea: An event is always more than just the event. Pre-meeting activities can optimize the on-site experience, while post-meeting activities can reinforce the event's messages. This type of thinking enables a sales force effectiveness strategy that:
The Logic of Emotion
Anyone who has ever attended a sales meeting knows they can be high-energy affairs. But the role emotion plays in your long-term success might surprise you. Consider these findings from Harvard University's interdisciplinary Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative:
Because emotions precede cognition in the decision-making process, they exert a powerful influence on behavior. You need to keep emotional engagement at the forefront during the meeting planning process.
Don't Greenlight Without a Blueprint
Although assessment and analysis are time-honored business tools, companies don't often apply them to meetings. This is understandable: Meetings are so logistically challenging that it's easy to let the tactic wag the strategy.
But proper planning and assessment can help make every event uniquely successful. It's important to bring together a cross-disciplinary team of experts at the planning stage. While each meeting has its own requirements, such a team typically consists of creative directors, producers, organizational development strategists, instructional designers, and project managers.
The first question this group must address is: What are the event objectives? To yield useful insights, this question should be posed from three perspectives.
First, what do you want participants to know as a result of the event? Determine what information the participants need to know—that they don't already know—to be more effective. This may include content related to clinical studies, disease states, the sales process, etc.
Second, how do you want participants to feel as a result of the event? As they return to the field to drive sales volume and market share, what should their emotional state be? Should they feel challenged? Confident? Optimistic? Maybe even a little over-zealous?
Third, and most importantly, what do you want them to do? What specific behaviors will drive share and volume? These actions could involve delivering particular messaging, planning before a sales call, closing a deal, and handling objections.