Ty Collins, March 31, 2021
In 2019, the appointment software scheduling market was valued at over $200 million and was expected to reach over $580 million by 2027.
It's the ROI of meeting lifecycle automation, and each day more companies are embracing it. In this tech age, businesses of all sizes benefit from a meeting automation platform (MAP) for two reasons:
It frees up a lot of time and resources that are better spent elsewhere.
It's more convenient for your clients, team members, vendors, and other associates, translating to more appointments and higher meeting attendance.
So what is a meeting automation platform? Simply put, it automates the meeting process from start to finish. Do you typically use a spreadsheet or paper folders to manage all your personal and team meetings? You can replace all of it with a MAP.
Meeting automation platforms (MAPs) are SaaS platforms that automate activities and workflows for an event. This includes everything from scheduling to attendance tracking and even post-meeting reports and analytics. It goes beyond basic online appointment scheduling and helps you manage many meetings across an entire organization, department and multiple teams.
Understanding the benefits and features of a MAP like Calendly can help you make the right decisions for your organization.
If you plan or manage events at roadshows, briefing centers, training forums or sales meetings, then you know the time-consuming work involved. MAPs automate workflows from the first stage of the event arc through post-meeting analytics.
It's all about scheduling in the early stages of event planning, and a meeting automation platform makes this hassle-free.
The system sends event links to invitees, allowing them to schedule according to your customized parameters. For each event, the appropriate team members have access to the list of confirmations and meeting details. Likewise, your invitees have all the information they need well in advance of the event day.
MAPs offer visibility across all events, which means you can manage multiple meetings and locations at once. Additionally, the system sends automatic notifications to team members when an event is scheduled.
Because SaaS platforms like Calendly sync with up to six calendars (for pro users), you don't have to worry about double-booking, even if an existing event isn't on your primary calendar. Calendly also integrates with popular apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and iCloud.
All experienced event managers realize that securing attendance confirmations is only part of the process. Ensuring your invitees arrive on schedule is just as important. A meeting automation platform allows you to set custom reminders according to your parameters.
The automated system sends triggered email and text reminders to invitees beforehand and on event day, according to your customized settings. You don't have to worry about forgetting to send a group email or text to your confirmed attendees.
When you're supervising several event managers and overseeing multiple meetings, you need easy access to event status and details. MAPs give admins high-level permissions and let them set user roles to restrict platform access appropriately.
If there is a last-minute change—e.g., the meeting has moved down the hall—the correction will automatically sync across the platform, notifying your invitees.
Reviewing reports and tracking conversions is crucial for evaluation, especially if your events are related to sales, recruitment or marketing. When directly tied to ROI, monitoring meeting outcomes and making adjustments is just smart business.
The types of reports and information offered depends on the MAP you're using. Expect specifics about where your event traffic came from and which mediums were involved. Most platforms permit you to set your parameters for tracking and analytics.
According to Aragon Research, a meeting automation platform improves efficiency so much that it accelerates business growth. This is especially true if your company relies on direct B2B client contact.
An automated scheduling app produces motivated invitees because it improves the customer journey (see below). You're more likely to meet sales goals when your marketing team's event is filled with warm, satisfied prospects. It shifts the dynamic and makes it easier to engage with prospective buyers and clients.
Automated scheduling and meeting management increase efficiency. Rather than spending valuable time coordinating team schedules with your invitees, managing reminders and gathering post-meeting data, you and other team members can be productive in other (arguably more important) areas.
Today, convenience is paramount. When your invitees are given instant access to event scheduling with their mobile device, they're more likely to confirm immediately. This is especially true if you've included adequate event details in the invitation.
Everyone makes mistakes. This is another reason why an automated meeting platform is the new standard. It's easy to forget to send reminders, reschedule a cancellation or include specific data in your post-meeting analysis. By contrast, if you've carefully preset your SaaS platform, the process runs smoothly.
Customers appreciate a streamlined process. While you're calculating how automated scheduling improves your work experience, consider whether it also improves the customer journey. An efficient process is more convenient, hassle-free and service-oriented. It's akin to providing a service to your clients that makes them feel valued.
Calendly features a robust meeting automation platform with powerful online appointment scheduling tools. It's effective whether you're a freelancer looking for a no-hassle way to schedule client meetings or an enterprise interested in managing and tracking multiple events.
As is typical with most SaaS platforms, monthly pricing is based on the number of users, and the basic version is free. Keep in mind that the basic level allows you to schedule only one event type instead of four and doesn't include metrics and reporting. It also excludes some other features.
However, you can find a subscription level that suits your needs and budget regardless of how many users you require.
Here's an overview of the MAP features that are specific to Calendly.
If you're concerned that automation means losing control over your schedule, don't be. Calendly helps you regulate your time more efficiently, not less. You can customize your account settings to protect your schedule in the following ways:
Add buffers to your calendar that ensure you have a cushion of time before or after events. This prevents you from running directly from one meeting to the next without enough downtime between.
Set limits on the number of daily meetings or events. This daily cap ensures you have enough time to attend to other responsibilities.
Because no one wants to find out about a newly booked meeting at the last minute, you can set a minimum scheduling notice. This means invitees can't book an appointment too quickly. If you don't want new meetings to popup on your calendar without sufficient notice, you can set parameters to prevent it.
Automated time zone detection: Your invitees will see availability in their time zone. This takes the confusion out of booking events with invitees across multiple time zones.
As a meeting automation platform, Calendly provides efficient scheduling for several meeting types. Many organizations hold a variety of events and require flexibility when it comes to scheduling and management.
Your invitee can schedule an individual meeting with any available team members.
The system automatically distributes meetings to a specific team member based on admin parameters like availability, priority or equal distribution of appointments. With this type of meeting, you're allowing the system to select the team member, rather than the invitee.
This is the best option when you need your invitee(s) to schedule with more than one team member. This feature displays the times that all members are available, and the invitee can only select one of them. It's best to use collective scheduling if the meeting requires the participation of specific team members.
Group events allow you to host multiple invitees at the same time. This works best for training events, webinars and similar group events.
This type of scheduling uses either collective or round-robin events to create specific blocks of time when each team member is available to take meetings. While one member might be available in the mornings, another might want to take afternoons. You're effectively setting up shifts inside the app.
If you're a premium or pro member, you can access team features like round-robin, collective scheduling and team-wide pages.
The team-wide page lets you display availability for your entire company or department on one page. This is especially useful when embedded on your website, granting visitors immediate access to scheduling options. It's a popular feature that can be used to schedule parent-teacher conferences and similar meetings.
If you're managing several events, you'll want others to be involved in managing your meeting automation platform. Calendly includes a clear structure for roles and permissions that allows you to grant and restrict specific users' access.
Every organization has one account owner, but you can have an unlimited number of admins and managers. Admin permissions are the most similar to the owner's, with team managers restricted to managing their assigned team.
Additionally, you can assign team members to more than one team. For instance, you might want one of your employees to be on both the sales and recruitment team.
Your marketing department will be able to display Calendly event links in emails, texts, social media postings and landing pages. After your events, you'll want to know how well your marketing campaign performed.
Calendly tracks which campaigns and mediums generate the most scheduling traffic. This helps you more effectively allocate your future marketing resources.
Additionally, reports offer filtering options that display canceled meetings. This provides an opportunity to re-engage with invitees and even reschedule them for another meeting or event.
When you combine your meeting automation platform with software that routinely powers your day, you drastically enhance productivity and efficiency.
You'll find a complete list of integrations on our website. In the meantime, consider these popular options:
When integrated, Salesforce automatically generates a lead once a new prospect schedules a meeting.
Once you select Zoom or GoToMeeting as your event location, conference lines are automatically created. Calendly conveniently displays all the details for your event.
These integrations allow invitees to submit full or partial payments when they schedule a meeting. They can pay using debit or credit cards. PayPal integration also allows them to use their PayPal account.
When new contacts schedule through Calendly, the system automatically creates and tags them in a Mailchimp audience. You can create custom audience and tagging rules based on the type of contact or meeting. Moreover, Calendly can easily trigger a personalized email campaign within Mailchimp.
As more companies adopt meeting automation platforms, customer expectations rise. The appropriate SaaS software helps you stay ahead of the tech curve and relieve pain points for you, your team and your customers.
Larger enterprises are increasingly adopting MAPs to keep up with scheduling demands and to take advantage of the many integrations that streamline workflows.
Platforms like Calendly add efficiency to your events and workflows, driving productivity. As a result, it directly impacts team performance and overall ROI.
On the Calendly homepage, you can watch a short video and get started for free.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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