Next month is Sage Summit, our biggest trade show and conference of the year. It’s a really big deal and we’re spending a lot of money. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) is always a challenge, but every year we spend more and bring additional staff with us. It makes sense – we see business partners who we don’t really spend time with on a regular basis. We keep old relationships warm and establish new contacts that will, hopefully, generate future sales.
SWK has grown over the years. In the past, we focused on MAPADOC, our integrated EDI solution for Sage ERP MAS 90, MAS 200 and MAS 500. This year, we have a record number of solutions and a record number of SWK staff attending.
For the last 18 months, SWK has had Sage’s ERP X3 has its primary focus for new software sales. We have also started developing MAPADOC for ERP X3 and we’ve become the “go to” developers for other ERP X3 channel partners. In addition, we created a new suite of SWK Cloud Solutions that are going to make a big splash at Sage Summit.
To make this event a complete success, SWK has had to prepare like never before. This preparation has tested our collective mettle, and forced us to rethink our goals for the upcoming event. We have 14 staff attending, and each of us brings a different set of skills to the table. The trick is making sure we capitalize on every opportunity at Sage Summit and create an appropriate checklist of our offerings. Further, we need to plan these partner meetings well in advance.
This was a challenge to say the least, but the actual effort of bringing the team together and strategizing has created benefits that were unexpected; we have a primary and secondary person for every area of specialization. It has been a surprise exercise in cross-training that was unplanned. This also has created a spirit of team collaboration, bringing disparate groups of people together in ways like never before.
All in all, planning for this important event may be more important that the event itself. I urge you to think about how you can bring your own team closer together. Planning for a big conference is one way to do it. What other ideas do you have to promote the type of collaboration that only comes when a group of people are all focused on the common goal of success … with the added pressure of a deadline?