Strategic Meetings Management: The 4 Basics

Posted On: September 24, 2015

If you are an in-house director of events or a meeting planner you are no stranger to the positive impact of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) on the Meetings and Events (M&E) industry. 

One of the original definitions of an SMM was created by Meeting Professionals International then later refined by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) as: “The management of enterprise-wide meeting related processes, spend, volume, standards, suppliers and data in order to achieve measurable business objectives that align with the organization’s strategic goals/vision, and deliver value in the form of quantitative savings, risk mitigation and service quality.”

Distinguishing the power of an SMM and what implementing this strategy actually looks like in practice can help understand why using this method for planning meetings and events is so effective. SMM has been created to help companies realize cost-savings, efficiencies and employee satisfaction among other strategies for managing effective meetings.

1. Strategic Meetings Management and the Disciplined Approach

The impetus behind creating SMM programs was to streamline the ways meetings and events were handled in organizations—from small businesses to giant corporations. SMMs offer universal guidelines and benchmarks for meetings and event planners that can help predict each successive year’s budget, overall attendee satisfaction and other types of data collected in the previous year. These kinds of predictors can help shape the most powerful meetings for your organization from year to year in a systematic, smart approach.

>>Get a disciplined approach to meeting planning


2. Strategic Meetings Management and Budgets

Nothing is more noted than the cost, the spend, the budget forecast and the actuals of an event or meeting. Money matters. Finances are key. Gathering all the necessary data to determine spend is one of the first steps in the planning process and it is continually referenced throughout an entire event and then reviewed and scrutinized afterwards. The cost of meetings and events is reflected in summary reports and closely tied to how an organization projects future budgetary possibilities for recurring meetings and events. Shaping a realistic budget with experienced planners is an absolute must for a successful event.

>>Get streamlined budget planning


3. Strategic Meetings Management and Alignment with Goals

Even before the location is booked and the date is set, clear objectives for the purpose of a company-wide meeting has to be identified. It is paramount to its success that all elements of an event strategically fulfill set objectives. Part of digging deep into the ultimate goals of meetings is creating efficiencies for planning effective meetings. Each choice made throughout the planning process can be measured by a meeting’s objectives and most, if not all, meetings and events, should fulfill a company’s vision.

>>Create effective meeting goals


4. Strategic Meetings Management and Data

Gathering data is critical when building an SMM that works hard for an organization. Financial data, yes, from vendors, venues, accommodations, meals, materials, perks, app creation, etc. But data in the form of feedback is also valuable. One of the ways to streamline data collection is by starting with how participants sign-up or RSVP for events and where that data is stored. From there, comments, feedback, reflections, surveys and even retention data or sales data post-event can determine the direction of future meetings and events. The type of data collected and the repository for it are the first steps in this SMM tactic.

>>Learn data gathering strategies


Docherty Incentives & Meetings has been integral in managing everything from companywide events to international meetings for organizations around the globe. Our team becomes fluent in your business’s culture so the meetings and events we plan are on-point with your vision and aligned with your goals. Docherty Incentives & Meetings can manage virtually all of your organization’s domestic and global meeting management needs.