There is a finite amount of time prior to a corporate outing, which means using your time wisely is crucial! In working with countless teams to put on corporate outings, we’ve identified 13 boxes you need to check off before your outing. In each, we’ve offered tips to get you started. Use this checklist to assess past outings or as a roadmap for future ones.
1. Identify Your Objective ✅
Field marketing events offer a valuable opportunity to connect with your target audience and create long-lasting relationships. In-person events are critical marketing initiatives that can result in new territory expansion, stronger market share within a certain region, or provide that extra push to move important deals across the finish line. Identifying your team’s targets and needs is the first step to adequately plan your next event.
2. Align Your Team ✅
Once your objective has been selected, it’s time to align your team. Often marketing teams plan events with no input from their field teams. The discord between both sides results in events that may not be the best fit for the target audience. Get on the same page with your team members, know who’s doing what, and ultimately trust the suggestions from your colleagues in the field.
3. Budget ✅
Let’s face it, there never seems to be enough money in the budget. Being smart and getting creative with corporate outing ideas is one way to avoid breaking the bank. But you must be realistic and look at your funds spent as an investment. If revenue from one outing can potentially result in several multi-year contracts and 6-7 figure deals, then it is worth every penny. You have to spend money to make money.
4. Pick A Unique Experience ✅
Now it’s time for the fun part. Your outing needs to be enticing and interesting enough to make your prospect want to spend their valuable time partaking in your outing. Think outside the box and try to stray away from the usual golf outings, happy hours, executive dinners, and ball game suites. Choose a unique experience, send an invite that will stick out in their inbox. Invite your guests to do something out of the ordinary… like, we dunno, maybe drive a FERRARI!?
5. Invite The Right People ✅
The main component of a group outing is the group part. If no one shows up, then it is a failure, simple as that. If the wrong guests attend your outing, and goals and KPIs suffer drastically, something obviously went wrong. When choosing your guest list use your best judgment. Invite qualified prospects and guests that will benefit from your services and have a realistic shot at converting into a paying customer. Be wary of guests who are only in it for the free breakfast and the fun activity.
6. Market Your Event ✅
Sending invites is not the only thing that will draw attendance to your event. A deliberate effort to market and promote the event to your target audience is key to reach your desired headcount (see #5). Create a custom landing page with photos and videos to maintain interest and create hype for the event. Send invite reminders and always give your guest another reason to attend with every piece of content you publish.
7. Set Goals And Expectations. Metrics & KPIs ✅
With the basics out of the way, it is crucial to establish metrics and goals to measure your team’s success. Know your numbers! What is your desired ROI? Have you set KPIs to track the event’s role in moving the needle for your organization? Having multiple data points allows you to understand the effectiveness of your event and provides useful information for future outings.
8. Plan Your Presentation ✅
Make sure your presentation is relevant, tailored to the present audience, and easy to comprehend. No one is having a good time when you are reading off an outdated, irrelevant PowerPoint that has been obviously copied and pasted dozens of times. It comes off as unprepared and sloppy and to some prospective buyers, it could be an indication of the service they will receive if they chose to do business with you. Do your homework and avoid the embarrassment.
9. Take Advantage Of Being In-Person ✅
One of the biggest benefits of an in-person corporate outing is being able to demonstrate your team’s services or products directly in front of your audience. It’s an opportunity to connect with your prospects in a way that emails and phone calls just can’t compete with. Your presentation should leverage face-to-face interaction. Don’t waste your prospects’ time with a presentation that would have been the same over a Zoom meeting! Your presentation should leave prospects knowing why they needed to meet you in person.
10. Know Your Agenda / Schedule ✅
The day before an event is always hectic. Last-minute details pop up and game-time decisions often need to be made. You are probably awfully familiar with this feeling and might have even grown accustomed to it. But there are ways to help mitigate those nerves and get a good night’s sleep the night before.
Know your agenda! Practice a run of show with your team and event producer. Control the controllable. If things deviate from the program you have a guide to getting it back on track as opposed to winging it and hoping for the best. While that may work every now and then, there will be a time where it will not. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s and enjoy that peace of mind. Read more about this in our “Three Things We’ve Learned Watching Field Marketers” article.
11. Set Post-Event / Follow-Up Strategy ✅
The event ran smoothly, everyone attended, and long-lasting relationships were forged. Now what? This is where the overall success of your event is often determined. Everything went according to plan and now it’s time to see if it all paid off. Follow your sales process and capitalize on the shared experience and the bond it created with your prospects. Set a timeline and act deliberately to close that deal!
12. Debrief With Your Team ✅
Every outing that you host is a learning experience. The next corporate outing you host should be better than the last, which only happens when your team debriefs after the conclusion of the event. Sit down with everyone involved to get feedback and share learnings. Then, set expectations for your next outing. This is the easiest step to skip as the tendency is to focus on what’s next. Debriefing aligns your team and sets everyone up to look at the next outing with a growth mindset.
13. Keep The Big Picture In Mind ✅
In the moment, your outing feels like the most important thing in the world. While you check off the first 12 boxes in this list, always keep in mind this last one. Your corporate outing is one part of your bigger strategy. If you can’t see wider than your event, one bump in your plan will feel crippling. Bumps feel negligible when your view is more than what is right in front of you. Keeping the big picture in mind frees you to be successful.
This is a learning process. We have done hundreds of corporate outings and have watched as companies learned from their past mistakes to create incredibly successful outings. Take this list of 13 things and lay it against your next outing or use it to assess the last one you hosted! You will always have a limited amount of time to plan an outing, success depends on how you use it.