Networking events and tradeshows can be incredibly important to your hospital or clinic's place in the marketplace. Organizing such a B2B event can present numerous opportunities for your brand and for your business.

If you're considering or planning a healthcare conference or event, here are four keys to making your investment successful.

Prep your sales plan

Your sales plan should be at the ready to maximize your return on investment when coordinating a healthcare industry event. Determine your sales and contact goals for this specific conference—bearing in mind that not all conferences are built the same and as such shouldn’t have the same benchmarks to hit. Your sales plan is about more than your elevator pitch—do your research on who will be attending, and tailor any pitch opportunities with as much specificity as possible. And your sales team need to be involved beforehand and during the conference—engage with regular morning checkups before each conference day begins to have a team huddle. Discuss issues, potential business opportunities, follow-ups and follow-throughs that you may have promised potential leads.

Stay Metric-Focused

Your CRM is an incredibly important tool during an clinic or hospital event or tradeshow. Leverage it to capture contacts in real time—sign attendees into your booth using a conference attendee scanner, or offer exclusive digital content that can be signed up for via tablet at your booth. Then stay on top of your new contacts—be prepared to set up meetings with clientele before, during and after the conference. Mark follow-up conversations on your calendars.

Then engage your finance and marketing teams post-conference—discuss the value of the event, and compare conference costs to leads gained, business earned or prospects with whom to follow through. Review at three-, six- and nine-month intervals to identify any downstream revenue. If your sales cycle is longer, plan accordingly. Just remember to be realistic—some conferences are hosted for new business while others are to geared toward cultivating existing relationships. Not every conference will have an immediate positive ROI. Your metrics should be based on clear sales and organizational goals.

Engage Your Audience

To make your conference or event worthwhile, you have to give attendees a reason to start a conversation with you. Engage your audience with educational opportunities they can't pass up. Consider holding a short, educational session running down your service offerings, and deliver said session at regular intervals to hit as many attendees as possible. Set up for a specific, presentation-style booth to make the audience feel welcome and provide adequate seating.

Live demos can be powerful mechanisms for starting conversations, as well. They can help spark conversation and interest in your healthcare products and services. And position your most engaging staff members in speaker capacities—if the opportunity arises to host a presentation or keynote, it can be a big driver of audience interest to your booth. Subsequently, make yourself available for Q&As throughout the day. Most importantly, be willing to get out and mingle on the conference floor—strike up conversations and pull potential leads into your sales process.

Unite Your Brand

A cohesive brand is more critical than ever when you're inviting industry figureheads into your world. From start to finish, your brand should be consistent and provide an equivalent impression of who you are and what your organization does. Remember that your conference booth is an extension of your brand. It should be clear in what you're offering and draw attention. But it should also match your print and sales materials, any presentations you may offer, your website and conference-specific signage.

Download Healthcare Marketing E-Book