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Jan 9, 2023 4:15:16 PM | M&A Insights Business Development Best Practices: Effective Networking Event Strategy

Tips for Successful Networking Events For M&A Business Development Deal Flow | Bryn Everson Trusight, LLC

At a glance:

  • Research events to prioritize your calendar
  • Do your homework on other attendees to solicit relevant meetings before the event
  • Preparation: How well do you know the people/firms you will meet?
  • Follow-up: prioritize and make appropriate introductions to others on your team
  • Lead tracking: leverage a CRM to manage relationships over time

As we begin to reconnect with Lower Middle Market M&A industry professionals in what has become a burgeoning post-pandemic world, it is no surprise that there has been a sense of urgency to get back on the road.

It shows us that despite recent challenges in the economy, the M&A market is resilient. Dealmakers must adapt quickly (and perhaps print a new batch of business cards) as events unfold.

However, in a landscape with events nearly every day, it becomes a balancing act – what to go to, when, and who. As one of TruSight’s frequent event attendees, it seemed timely to share insight on evaluating and attending these events.

Private equity firms and family office investors are perpetually looking to reduce their inefficiencies, establish new platform investments and consider bolt-on deals for further growth; we are there to help them with that. Researching events and knowing what to attend and when becomes a sizable portion of our planning.

Not only is event research necessary, but it is equally valuable to review and prioritize attendee lists to solicit useful meetings. Some of the guided questions we ask are: Do they fit target client criteria? And What might be a thoughtful “off-topic” conversation to supplement the relationship.

The initial research above helps to lay the groundwork for preparation by establishing relationship-driven talking points and highlights what materials may provide additional insight; I bring one-page summaries on our business. It’s essential to develop key takeaways and note areas we could be most accretive to others’ processes.

It's great to dig deeper here – knowing the firm culture and values provides a personal approach to any conversation. It is not always about the next deal but about building trust to achieve initiatives at scale and create bona fide business impact when that deal pops up.

After the events conclude, your next step is organizing your notes from meetings and prioritizing follow-up messages to those on your schedule. Often there will be warm introductions to other members of your team to carry a conversation forward around a particular product or service. Taking diligent shorthand notes during meetings while remaining present in the conversation to listen for these on-ramps for interest in working with us greatly enhances your abilities to maximize the overall effectiveness of the event.

After each event, tracking lead progress in an organized CRM or database is also beneficial.

Most importantly, these events should be fun – and they are!

Regular attendance at networking events will help build confidence and credibility and expand your network. Researching the event and preparing your approach will help, but it is equally important to wear a smile and be personable. See you on the road!

Bryn helps companies extend their reach, evolve their business development strategy, and increase their pipeline of relevant deals that drive impactful results.

Bryn Everson

Written By: Bryn Everson

Practice Lead for corporate marketing and business development operations. Bryn manages the firm’s relationships with industry organizations, event strategy, and company communications.