Taking Your Strategic Meetings & Events Program Global
Implementing a successful Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) requires a lot of time and energy – not to mention money and resources. If you started a SMMP from scratch, you know that it can, at times, be a painstaking process. The initial hurdles of putting together a detailed plan and getting executive buy-in are just the beginning of a long process.
But that’s not to discourage you if you haven’t already begun the process. It’s just to say that it’s labor-intensive, but that the result will pay off well in the end for you, your organization, and your clients. Reducing stress, saving money, and simplifying processes are all the result of a successful SMMP.
Once you’ve taken the long road to SMMP implementation and adoption, it’s easy to think that your role is over. However, maintaining a successful SMMP is just as critical as starting one and it doesn’t just become a self-managing entity. You must pay attention to it, analyze it, and iterate on it to guarantee long-term success and cost savings.
The Next Phase of your SMMP
One of the iterations of your program should be thinking about taking it to a global scale. If your organization operates globally – either with clients abroad or offices – then taking your program to a global scale is a key component of running a successful program as a whole.
Taking your program global has its own challenges, though. You won’t have to begin again, if that’s what you’re thinking. Much of the legwork you’ve done already for your domestic program will be relevant for your global program. But there will be necessary changes and flexibility needed to get it running on all cylinders as efficiently as your domestic program.
One caveat before beginning a global SMMP: You should not try to scale your program if it is not currently running efficiently. If you still have tweaks and changes to make in order to get your domestic program operating successfully, then you’ll want to wait until you achieve some sense of stability before moving forward with a global program.
If you decided that you do indeed want to go global, here are some considerations:
The international landscape is complex. Look to answer the following:
Who are the regional/local supply base?
How do they compare against any global suppliers in the markets.
What are the regional or local best practices?
Decide on benchmarks. Using your current domestic data as a starting point, determine what your benchmarks should be, what your KPIs are, and who you should report these items to. It’s not often as straightforward with global programs as it is with domestic ones.
Be on the front lines of relationship management. Managing global relationships is a key component of a successful SMMP. Identify how decisions are made, build your stakeholder map, define how you will communicate and do your cultural homework on the locations you are expanding to. This will help you determine how you should interact with your global counterparts.
Nothing beats a good plan and follow-up. Project Management is a must. Before you begin, define your implementation plan and how you will drive it and be willing and able to communicate constantly. Your global partners will be able to see if you have a strong plan that you’re willing to stand behind and if you can give your full support and availability, they’ll be much more likely to get on board.
As with your domestic program, having buy-in from key stakeholders and strong relationships will drive your global SMMP program. Doing your research ahead of time and having a strong communication plan in place before you start will go a long way to ensuring your success.