For the team of sales professionals at SmithBucklin, finding sources of new revenue for client organizations is typically the difference between meeting budgeted expectations and exceeding them. New revenue – which comes from a buyer who previously never spent money with an organization or a lapsed buyer who hasn’t spent money in the past year – can include exhibit booth spaces, sponsorships, advertising and more.
A wide range of external factors can influence buyer attrition, making it extremely rare for an organization to retain 100 percent of its buyers and their spending year after year. As a result, finding new revenue is vital. The first step is to measure buyer retention, as it is a primary indicator of how much new revenue must be attained.
With a goal set for new revenue, the sales team can begin the process of locating new or lapsed buyers by mining competitive event website sponsorship listings, working with board members to identify potential leads and leveraging existing professional relationships. This is typically a lengthy phase. However, the benefits outweigh the added effort. That’s in part because buyers are also potential dues-paying members. In addition, their presence at an event can help keep the audience experience fresh and unique.
Once the new or lapsed buyers are identified, the sales team creates new offerings that will meet the needs of both prospective buyers and members. This can lead to offerings such as sponsored educational opportunities that allow sponsors to interact with members and share their subject-matter expertise, or annual event participation bundled with year-round opportunities to provide continual audience engagement. For example, the Print Services & Distribution Association – a network of professionals dedicated to providing best-in-class print, marketing and business communications solutions to end-user customers through the distributor channel – recently created a quarterly digital publication to complement its monthly members-only magazine. The digital publication expands the potential audience for buyers because it provides content to both members and non-members.
While the extra time required to locate and secure new or lapsed buyers may seem daunting, the resulting payoff can be significant and could make the difference between a good and a great financial year for an association.
This article was originally published in the 2014 edition of Circuit, SmithBucklin’s annual magazine.