As summer nears its end, we’re about to head into what we like to call ‘events season’. After a lull in the summer months when it comes to ‘big’ pharma and life science events, we’re heading into a hectic Autumn and Winter packed with them.

From ChemOutsourcing and Contract Pharma to CPhI and Pharma Integrates, we’re spoiled for choice… and if you’re going to them all, well it’s by no means going to be cheap. You’ll have already invested in your exhibition space or the cost of your delegate ticket alongside your travel costs… not to mention the investment in time you’ll be making to attend the events, so we’ve pulled together our four top tips to help you prepare…

1. Prepare… or prepare to fail

In the words of wise ol’ Benjamin Franklin: “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” so make sure you start planning early to ensure you’re well and truly prepared. Aside from pro-actively arranging meetings with customers and prospects, think about the small details that are often missed. For example, if your main objective for the event is to generate leads and get those all-important contact details, why not plan an interactive game on your stand aimed at data capture? If your aim is to increase brand awareness, ensure you find out what support the event organisers are offering. For example, have they listed your company profile on their website? Do they provide you with space in their brochure etc.

2. Make the most of networking events

When it comes to planning your schedule whilst you’re at the conferences, make sure you plan to attend any networking events too. We’re often spoilt when it comes to the locations of these conferences so it can be tempting to dart out early for some downtime, or schedule meetings and calls during networking sessions because we feel we’re taking too much time out but the networking events can be the best opportunity to get some face time with your key contacts. If there’s a delegate list available, why not go one step further and plan who you’d like to meet? It can be difficult to plan formal meetings with people you don’t know, so why not make the most of the informal setting.

3. Know the area

From DCAT Week in New York and BIO International in California, these industry conferences seem to take us all over the world (how lucky are we?). So, do a bit of research on the local area before you arrive to get the lay of the land. There’s no better way to impress your clients and colleagues than knowing exactly where the best spots to eat and drink are. Why not take this one step further and couple this with planning a client or team dinner?

4. Plan your follow up in advance

Time and time again we encounter contract service providers who are ‘working on a new CRM system’. In the meantime, every business development person seems to have their own way of recording contacts but with no real system or process – and certainly no intelligent use of the data collected. Whilst you’re at these big events, you’ll likely be interacting with lots of different people, whether for business development purposes or simply expanding your network, so plan ahead how you’re going to collect and follow up with your data. You might want to organise your contacts based on who you need to prioritise first or simply label contacts to remind you what action to take after the events. Once you get those all-important business cards, be sure to follow whatever process you set out.

So, there you have it… 4 tips to help you plan for your upcoming conferences, exhibitions or events! Hopefully some of these will come in handy. Our team will be out and about at several of the major industry conferences so let us know where you’re headed and perhaps we can meet for a coffee (or beer).