Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vendor Events - Are you Creative?

We hosted a customer event this week in Omaha at the Qwest center - a UNO Mavericks hockey game. We rented a suite with all the fixins and brought in an HP shorty blade server and some Microsoft unifed communication gear which we set up in the suite. Had all the food and drinks there for folks to enjoy. Reps were on hand from Microsoft, HP, SHI (a licensing LAR) and Intetium (our BI partner) along with our Omaha staff. The event was fantastic. We had customers come in a bit before game time and were able to demo the solutions and discuss our company one on one. They were able to eat, relax, watch some hockey, eat some more and just chill out. Folks stayed for the duration and had a great time. We had funding participation from our partners at the event so it really did not end up costing HTS much at all. It took some creative planning, some ROI proposals, and will mean some disciplined follow up, but it was worth it and I am confident will lead to some future business. Over and over we hear how companies have unspent partner funds - mostly because no one comes to them with a plan that makes sense. Get outside the box and approach your vendors. If you have a plan and execute - they will fund most any reasonable event or activity. We held a similar event a month ago in Des Moines ahead of a basketball game. You need to do your homework and pick you venue and times wisely, but these kind of things create fantastic good will with customers and prospects as well as creating confidence among vendors. Doing an event around a solution also allows multiple vendors to be involved. Don't just think about it, get after it.

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