A quick search on Google for ‘Event Software’ yields a lot of results, almost 11,000,000 to be exact. Evidently, it’s fair to say there’s a lot of event technology platforms that promises it all.
From booking rooms and mapping projections to automating your registration process, there are solutions for really anything you can think of when it comes to event management. The hard part is identifying what it is you’re looking for, finding it, and making sure that it’s the right match for your needs.
That’s why choosing the right event tech partner is a big deal, and rightly so because when you get it right you can see a huge investment in your budget and the total amount of time saved. To help with this, your tech partner should be enabling you to implement and optimize your event tech so that you can achieve your marketing strategies.
Now, before we delve into how to choose your next event tech partner, it’s important to first outline some of the trustworthy characteristics that you should be looking for.
- Robustness: This refers to the ability of your event technology to cope with the requirements of all your users. You need to make sure that it’s durable and designed with all of the end-users in mind.
- Scalability: Event technology needs to be scalable so that it can adapt to the evolving needs of your business without any issues. This shows that the technology can handle any growth without issue.
- Ease of use: Can the technology be adopted quickly by all of the end-users? It needs to be simple and easy to use so that everyone is fully on board and that they can quickly get the most out of the technology.
- Customization: It’s vital that the event technology caters to the needs of your business. Because without any customization you won’t be able to get the most out of the technology.
📌 Criteria #1. The learning curve
The learning curve is the time and effort it will take you and your team to get up to scratch with and master new technology. The more difficult the platform is to use, the steeper the learning curve will be. For this reason, you’ll want the technology to be easy-to-use and operative. To identify the learning curve of the providers you’re choosing from, here are a few things you should look out for:
- Check the knowledge base: A knowledge base is a centralized database that provides valuable information on the product such as FAQS, how-to guides, and tutorials. By having a look through the knowledge base, you’ll be able to see how much time and effort has been put into it. You’ll also have a better understanding of the product interface and how easy the technology is to use.
- Book a free demo: Live demos are an extremely valuable resource when considering new technology. Do as much preparation as possible to ensure that you get the most out of the demo. This is your chance to really get up close and personal with the product and see what it’s all about, so make sure you have an agenda and a list of questions to ask.
- Analyze product reviews: When it comes to finding new event technology you’re not alone. In fact, there are plenty of companies, just like yours, that have gone through this exact process and have shared their experiences online. Take a look at Capterra, G2Crowd, and TrustPilot to see how long it took for paying customers to get up to scratch with the product.
- Watch a few tutorials: To demonstrate the ease-of-use of the product many technology companies will have a range of tutorials either in their knowledge base or on their YouTube channel. This should give you an idea of some of the best features of the product and how easy it is to do certain processes. Always check to make sure that the tutorials address your major pain points.
- Try the free version: Any potential technology partner should have a free version or trial version of the product. Whilst you might not get all of the features, this is your first chance for everyone in your team to experience the product. Get their feedback and ask them the big questions such as: How long did it take you to familiarize yourself with the product? Have you saved time? Would it make your job easier?
📌 Criteria #2. The customer service
The next step is making sure that you’ll have the necessary support in case anything goes wrong or you have any questions. This is why you need to evaluate the provider’s customer service department to check if they’re responsive and are able to provide assistance in any sticky situations. Here’s what you should be looking for to identify the customer service level of the providers you’re choosing from:
- Check if they’re offering onboarding: A good test of how much your new event tech partner is willing to invest in your business is through the onboarding process. This is the first step any new customer will take in their journey so it is vital they offer onboarding so that you have someone to help you and your team get up to the scratch and answer any questions if need be.
- Read the customer support reviews: The product might have everything that you’re looking for but without good customer service you’re quickly going to find yourself in some problematic situations. The best way to overcome this is to look online for reviews specifically about customer support. All of the big review sites have a section on this, so take a look and see what people have been saying.
- Ask if they provide any support: Will you have a dedicated account manager or customer support representative? How quick is the response time? It’s important to get the answers to these questions because this will give you a good insight into the level of support that your tech partner is offering.
- Ask if they’ll offer to help in situ: This is a very strong indicator of how far your potential tech partner is willing to go for you. If they’re willing to provide onsite onboarding and support then this shows that they’re really willing to invest in your business.
- Test the support for the free trial: Another good measure of the level of customer service is to test the support in the free trial. This should give you a real insight into how customer service works and how it’s going to roll out once you’re a paying customer.
📌 Criteria #3. The benefits & features
To clear this one up, features are defined as surface statements about a product specifying what it can do, whereas benefits show the end result of what a product can achieve for its customer. In other words, the features are a means to an end, whilst the benefits show the value that can be added to your business by adopting the tech. To identify the benefits and features, here are 5 things you should look out for:
- Make a list of the needs you may have: An important first step is to identify the needs that you have in a list. This will save you a lot of time when reviewing different partners because you’ll quickly be able to tick off each of these needs and make a final shortlist of providers.
- Analyze their offer on the website: Leading on from the last point, it’s vital to analyze the website of your event tech partner. Take a look round and see what they’re offering, maybe they have different solutions or plans. Either way, do your research beforehand so that you know what you’re talking about when you speak to a sales rep.
- Check the use cases: Throughout the whole event lifecycle, there’s a whole array of different parts and factors that you need to take into consideration. Regardless of whether you’re looking for technology that addresses part of this or all of it, there are going to be plenty of use cases. The big takeaway here is that you’ll need to be able to envisage your business in these situations.
- Talk to the sales rep: If you like what you’re seeing, it’s time to take it a step further and get in touch with a sales rep. First, you should expect a quick response. Secondly, the sales rep should be able to walk you through the product with ease and discuss in detail how the technology can address your pain points and benefit your organization.
- Ask the sales rep to send you a proposal: If you’re requesting a proposal then things should be pretty concrete. To finalize this, you’ll need to ask the sales rep to send you a proposal, this is their opportunity for them to demonstrate how they can serve the needs of your business by showing the key benefits and added value of the product.
- When looking for a trustworthy event partner there are four characteristics you should be looking for: robustness, scalability, ease-of-use, and customization.
- The learning curve is the time and effort it will take you and your team to get up to scratch with and master the new technology. At this stage, you'll want to get a feel for the product and see how easy it is for you, and your team, to use.
- Customer service is important for providing you with support and making sure that you get the most out of the product. To get a real indication of this, check to see if they offer onboarding or in situ help.
- Finally, make sure that you have a list of benefits and features of different competitors. Take a look at their website to identify these and then if you like what you see get in touch with a sales rep.