I feel you, friend, and I don’t envy you.
Planning B2B networking events can be a real struggle, even if you are an event professional. And if it's not your case, the hassle can feel downright torturous.
But either way, you still have to put on a good face and do everything you can to plan high-quality B2B networking events for your agency or institution.
You think there’s no one who can understand the challenge you must go through? Try me.
Here’s a quick list of some of the burning pains you probably have to overcome to give your guests a gratifying interaction experience:
Burning pain #1. Asking attendees about their networking preferences
Sending a ton of emails is anything but fun.
And although you can automate mass emails, you still have to read every single answer individually, and then update the information about your guests’ networking needs and expectations one at a time.
This can take long, grueling hours and mass quantities of caffeine.
Burning pain #2. Matching the attendees and scheduling their meetings
Here’s a word I bet you hate: spreadsheets (Excel spreadsheets, to be more precise).
After entering the attendees’ networking preferences into your spreadsheet, you then manually match everyone based on what they’re looking for or what they can offer.
Burning pain #3. Sending personalized emails to your attendees
Once you’ve completed the manual matchmaking process, you then have to send everyone (whether your event has 30, 300, or 1,000 attendees) emails with the networking schedule.
Subsequently, you must read every single reply and adjust the meeting schedule accordingly based on new information you receive from your attendees.
Let’s face it: What you are experiencing every single day at work is hell.
Why is this happening? “Well, because I’m not a professional planner, duh!” you might be thinking.
I have a different suspicion.
Why planning B2B networking events can be a real headache
First and foremost, you’re doing the best you can, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Anybody else in your place would collapse.
Don’t criticize yourself for taking a long time to match attendee meetings and plan the event.
There is one objective reason that explains why is this is happening … You’re doing everything manually.
Let’s admit it: Excel spreadsheets are great for some things, but not when it comes to planning high-quality B2B networking events.
There’s no argument that an Excel spreadsheet is a great way to store the information, but you can’t really do much else with it. You have to manually update the data constantly, while also trying to match up the attendees.
Apart from that, you probably have multiple versions of the same spreadsheet, and you probably at times forget which document is the most recent version.
Let’s recall for a second how this looks: You create a new Excel spreadsheet and add the names and email addresses of your attendees. As you receive the information about their networking preferences, you update the document.
You have to check each attendee, one by one, to see if there’s any compatibility with anyone else. Then, you have to match up the profiles and send the information back to your attendees. While doing all of this, you have to juggle between different tables and columns.
Subsequently, you decide incorporate colors, giving each one a purpose, but then you forget to create a code and can’t remember what each color meant.
Plus, you experience that moment of sheer exasperation when you realize that you can’t remember who’s who or which version of the spreadsheet you’re looking at: Is this the most recent version, or was this two versions ago?
You can’t remember.
And you know the worst thing about all of this?
Although you’re putting in a crazy amount of work hours and exhausted, there’s no guarantee for success.
The risks of manual matchmaking
Using Excel spreadsheets is great … when you’re an accountant.
But when your goal is to plan B2B networking events, you are always at risk of sabotaging your attendees’ experience.
By doing things manually, you can never be 100% sure about the positive outcomes of your efforts.
The planning will look unprofessional
Sending tons of emails back and forth and asking your attendees for all sorts of information is both annoying and unprofessional. The mere fact of planning the matchmaking dynamic using an Excel spreadsheet looks a little bit shabby.
You’ll make mistakes
No matter how careful you are, when you’re constantly updating Excel spreadsheets, you’re likely to make a few errors. It’s normal. You are a human being, not a machine.
But these mistakes can lead to greater problems—such as updating incorrect information or entering one person’s information in another person’s profile—which can compromise the success of the B2B networking event and the attendees’ experience.
Nobody doubts your ability to match the attendees according to their networking preferences. However, sometimes you may mistakenly follow the wrong matching criteria, and end up scheduling meetings between people who aren’t well-suited.
This will prevent your attendees from building truly meaningful business relationships (and likely discourage them from attending future events).
All these factors can become a serious impediment from planning and running B2B networking events. Not to mention that it’s just too unsustainable to do things manually.
Think about all the time and effort you’re wasting on something you know probably has a few mistakes.
So what should you instead? I have a solution for you.
How to avoid the hassle and run B2B networking events
This might seem obvious, yet after spending so much time staring at Excel spreadsheets to the point where you eyes feel like they’re burning, you may not realize there’s a different way you can plan B2B networking events: by automatizing the planning.
You don’t have to collect the attendees’ preferences for the event. A system can do it for you. There’s no need to manually match the offer and demand. You’ll have a tool doing it for you. You don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes. A B2B matchmaking platform will execute things flawlessly.
Here’s how good B2B matchmaking software works: Instead of sending emails asking people to express their networking preferences, you can set up an intelligent registration form.
The form will prompt attendees to specify how they want to interact with each other.
Subsequently, having this information, the system will determine the matching proposals, and your attendees can schedule their own meetings. Simple and neat.
Meanwhile, you can focus on other tasks.
If you’re still struggling to plan B2B networking events, please do you yourself a favor, and automatize the planning.
You don’t have to do the matchmaking manually and run the risk of making mistakes.
There’s a system that can execute the hard work for you.
Simplify your life and run high-quality B2B networking events your attendees will love and enjoy!