Meetings Management: Why an SMMP is Relevant to Your Business

November 19, 2019

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Face-to-face meetings are venues where great ideas are created, strong business relationships are forged, and profitable deals are sealed. There is no substitute for meetings done right. However, poorly organized meetings can also be a money pit, highlighting the need for a strategic meetings management program (SMMP).

In the USA alone, one study reports that approximately $37 billion are wasted on mismanaged meetings per year. If this holds true, such a figure is alarming given that 1% to 3% of a company’s revenue is estimated to get spent on meetings. Additionally, the recent results from the American Express Global Meetings and Events Forecast showed that spending on enterprise-wide meetings and corporate events are not about to slow down, with a 2.2.% increase in spending recorded in 2018.

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Given how thin the line is separating productive/profitable meetings and wasteful/mismanaged corporate events, there’s a solid business case for an SMMP in every organization.

SMM: A Quick Rundown

Coined by the Global Business Travel Association, Strategic Meetings Management or SMM is the “disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting and event activities, processes, suppliers, and data in order to achieve measurable business objectives aligned with the organization’s strategic goals/vision, and deliver value in the form of quantitative savings, risk mitigation and service quality.”

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When a company adopts SMM into its system, it’s called a Strategic Meetings Management Program or SMMP. Originally, SMMP was only relevant to big businesses holding hundreds of meetings per year and spending millions. However, with the advent of new technology, SMMP has also become relevant for small enterprises with a more modest meeting expenditure as well as associations and nonprofits.

Making the Business Case for SMMP Implementation: Significant Stats You Should Know

A few numbers have been mentioned above that reiterate the need for SMMP to ensure that businesses reap positive results from its meetings and events. However, if you’re the meetings director of your organization who needs to get the buy-in of your C-suite managers, or if you’re a decision maker that needs more convincing, here are some significant stats you should know that will solidify that business case for an SMMP implementation in your business:

10% to 25% Cost Savings

There are very few things in this world that delight C-suite executives more than being able to reduce operational costs while maintaining the same amount of productivity and level of work quality. When building a business case for an SMMP adoption and implementation, don’t forget to highlight this perk.

An SMMP can save your organization money in two primary ways:

  1. Through standardized and centralized procurement procedures
  2. Through the establishment of preferred suppliers/vendors, standardized contracts, decreased negotiation time, and increased vendor concessions by leveraging buying power through bulk-buying of services from the same supplier

One great example of SMMP at work is what procurement specialist Marjan Ghaffari was able to achieve with Informatica. By implementing a cost-neutral SMMP, Informatic was able to achieve 25% savings across 40 company meetings and internal corporate events.

48% Higher Rate of Compliance to Meetings-Related Policies and Guidelines

Compliance is one of the cornerstones of a modern strategic meetings management program. According to Aberdeen, organizations with an SMMP have a 48% average compliance to internal policies, procedures, and guidelines. Organizations with a more “mature” SMMP record up to 78% compliance.

Impressive, isn’t it?

However, SMMP-driven compliance is not only exclusive to internal regulations. It also bolsters compliance with external laws.

Recommended Resources: Want to increase savings and compliance on your meetings?
Download your free copy of our free ebook, Gain Control of Unmanaged Meetings Spend.

Specifically, in the United States, businesses are obliged to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, a law aimed at increasing corporate social responsibility and prevent accounting scandals. According to compliance consultant David Kaufman: “Meeting planners need to focus on areas where there are risks of error, fraud or noncompliance with policies and document the controls that are in place to mitigate those risks. This covers the scope of the planner’s job description, including site-selection criteria, requests for proposals, planning, and organization of activities at meetings, post-meeting activities, and contractual agreements. SOX doesn’t state what the approval process needs to be for booking a vendor such as a hotel, but planners should have a documentation process for each expenditure with a provider, and it should lay out what type of approval they need, and in what form. The documentation should also point out what controls are in place to ensure compliance with corporate policies.”

63% Better ROI Tracking and Measurement

When it comes to enterprise-wide meetings and events, the destination is equally as important as the journey.

What does this mean?

The attendee experience is equally important as the quantifiable metrics of success. At the end of the day, every stakeholder in your organization will ask: “What did we achieve?”

According to the same report from Aberdeen, organizations with an SMMP in place can measure 63% of the quantitative success metrics better than organizations without an SMMP. These key performance indicators include:

  • Number of new deals closed after a meeting/event
  • Increase in employee productivity after training-focused events
  • Number of repeat sponsorships
  • Profit made on meetings/events

Aside from these success indicators, organizations implementing SMMP also enjoy better profiling of their attendees pre-event and post-event. This leads to the improvement of the overall meeting experience, as well as the ability for meeting planners to tailor fit meeting agendas and the necessary event technologies.

SMMP: The Smarter Way to Do Meetings

A successfully implemented strategic meetings management program cuts down meeting expenses, minimizes risks, increases compliance, and improves efficiency through extensive ROI measurement. However, there is no one-size fits all approach to implementing an SMMP and the transformation is not going to happen overnight. Nevertheless, understanding industry benchmarks on SMMP benefits can help you build a business case for SMMP adoption in your organization.

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