Operating an effective and successful strategic meetings management program (SMMP) is a complex endeavor. There are a lot of moving parts to any SMMP: budgets, events, venues, vendors, managers, executives, and more. Add on top of all that your technology stack that ensures the program runs smoothly and you end up with quite a challenging array of potential issues and obstacles to overcome.
When you stop to think about all of the items you have to control if you are in charge of running an SMMP, it can be overwhelming and make you feel as though your attention is spread too thin. And that’s probably true. It’s not possible for one person – or even one team – to focus on all of the elements of an effective SMMP.
But you have to, right? As the person charged with running the program, all of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are measured fall under your responsibility. So if you are to make sure that your numbers impress executives at the end of each quarter, you need to ensure that you focus on the most important parts of your SMMP.
Today we are going to take a deeper look at your SMMP budget and how you can best manage and measure how well you are making use of the money assigned to running your program. Let’s look at some tips and best practices for your SMMP budget.
Managing your SMMP Budget
Not just about the meetings. Successful management of SMMP budget does not only have to do with the meetings themselves, but also with the enforcement and implementation of the program. Between actually putting on the meetings and events and the daily operations of the program, budget demands can get intense quickly. When thinking about how best to spend your budget, it’s key to include the program expenses in your overall budget. Depending upon the size of your organization, you should scale the percentage of your budget spent on operating expenses accordingly.
Use the tools available to you. There are many budgeting tools online that can help you determine what your meeting budgets should look like based on the specifics of your organization. Decide how much you should be spending on meetings and compare that to your actual numbers. Then decide how much you intend for your SMMP to save. Setup quarterly reviews that enable you to audit your meeting costs and refine your program accordingly.
Implement, evaluate, repeat. The process of setting up a successful SMMP is complex. As you implement your program, it’s important to pause and evaluate your budget and expenses as you go so you can iterate on the program itself. It becomes a large feedback loop that enables you to constantly refine your program’s approach to ensure maximum cost efficiency. The last thing you want to do is implement an SMMP that actually costs the company more money and the way to avoid that is to constantly be evaluating its effectiveness and measuring it against pre-determined standards.
Getting a handle on your SMMP budget is a key step in ensuring its success. Controlling your expenses at the program management level is also essential. Most large organizations spend 1-2% of their total revenue on meetings each year, so being able to cut costs is a key part of implementing a SMMP to begin with. Bloated expenses for meetings themselves or the program implementation will not go very far for ensuring that your program survives for a long period of time. Focusing on cost savings and budget guidelines can help ensure that your program meets its intended goals.