You could feel the excitement of the conference attendees building as they lined up to start their Vendor Connect Tours at the 2017 IASA Annual Educational Conference and Business Show in Florida in June 2017. More than 700 attendees participated in this year’s tours, which provided exhibitors with the ability to share high level information about their products and services with potential customers. The Vendor Connect tours are a unique experience for all involved because they merge product interest and vendor product presentations into a speed-dating format. They also give participants insights into options that they might not be able to find on a website or in a written case study. Carrier personnel can also network with others on their tour to discuss, search and evaluate solutions together.
“The Vendor Connect Tours offered me the ability to identify the vendors that I wanted to visit for a more in-depth conversation,” said George Rankin, CIO of International Fidelity Insurance Company, who was attending his second annual conference. “Without the tours, I would have spent a lot more time looking for the right vendors and may not have had such great discussions.”
Rankin’s comments were echoed by many other attendees in search of a specific product of service.
Exhibitors also love the opportunity to participate in the tours. It allows them to get in front of carriers who are interested in, or evaluating, a particular product or service. Vendors need to reassess their value proposition to the marketplace, all boiled down into their five-minute presentations.
As always, the tours were just one of several highly anticipated activities at the business show – if only there were a way to give IASA members more opportunities to gather information about products and services after the annual business show. Well, no need to wish any further. The IASA has recently launched its Virtual Business Show (VBS), an online platform that will connect members to the solution provider community at any time throughout the year. Vendors will create a virtual booth and provide their product and service information, as well as a video presentation, handouts, emerging trend information and direct connections with vendor representatives. Collectively, the vendors will comprise a virtual exhibit hall, which can be searched by the type of product or service offered, keyword and vendor name.
The VBS allows solution providers to maintain a permanent presence and connection to the IASA organisation and its constituents, giving them a chance to reach those who cannot attend the annual business show. In addition, the VBS ultimately lowers a provider’s customer acquisition costs.
“We are excited to participate in IASA’s offering to provide a comprehensive, unbiased source of information where customers can easily find the products and services they need,” said Chris Belle, president of Insurance Technology Services. “We expect this to be a new avenue of leads for ITS. Every solution provider to the insurance industry will want to be a part of this.”
The VBS allows insurance carriers to evaluate products/services in a low-pressure situation, learn about emerging trends, find subject matter experts, and much more. Carriers can ‘walk’ the show floor or take a tour by category. The VBS even allows users to personalise their experience by creating a ‘briefcase’ of documents or artifacts that they can retrieve on their next visit and complete their own profile for networking with exhibitors and other visitors to the VBS.
The IASA is committed to continuing its goal of sharing knowledge between insurance carriers and the vendors that support them using this new year-round platform. The VBS can be found at www.iasa.org/vbs.
Scott Bowen is an IASA volunteer and is also a controller at International Fidelity Insurance
Jose Loera is an IASA volunteer and is also a sales manager at S&P Global Market Intelligence
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