A key benefit of the SAMPS, and one of the reasons members tell us they join, is the ability to network with their colleagues. But once a year at the annual meeting isn’t enough. And it’s tough to grow the organization when not everyone can travel to an international meeting. There is no reason you can’t connect with other life science sales and marketing professionals locally on a regular basis. We have piloted a program in the San Francisco Bay Area with some success.
The process is easily replicated by anyone interested in starting their own local group. Most people are excited (and shocked, really) to learn that the possibility to network specifically with commercial professionals in life science exists. Here’s how it happened in San Francisco.
- I started a meetup called Life Science Sales and Marketing Professionals. Meetup is a website that lets you manage groups around shared interests. Our Meetup group is open to anyone, even non-members of SAMPS. We haven’t had to discourage many people who aren’t sales or marketing. We try to make clear the purpose of the group and the membership self-selects.
- I met the organizer of local biotech meetup, Kristen Slawinski of Bio-Rad, at one of her events. Kristen is an enthusiastic networker! I shared my idea with her and she agreed to help promote it to her list. We immediately picked a date for the first event.
- Richard Glassman, an SAMPS member from Oracle Marketing Cloud, offered us space in the Oracle cafeteria in Redwood Shores.
- Richard, Kristen and I promoted the event through our own networks. Meetup promotes the group to its membership based on individuals’ stated interests.
- 71 people joined the meetup group. 27 RSVP’d and 17 were present at the event.
- Following the event, attendees were sent a short survey asking 3 questions.
- Would you come back for a similar event with speakers or a panel discussion?
- What sales and marketing topics would be most interesting to you?
- How often should we meet (yearly, bi-annually, quarterly)?
Initial attendees have expressed interest to occasionally have someone come speak to the group about a relevant topic in marketing or sales. So far, the preferred frequency is quarterly.
Once we grow the group to a size that will support inviting a speaker, we’ll charge for those events and SAMPS members will be able to attend for free or at a substantial discount.
Want to start your own group? Contact us and we’ll get you started. We’ll set you up with a Meetup and a banner like this for your local meeting.
This is our group description:
“This meetup is for Bay Area sales and marketing professionals in life sciences and chemical analysis. We’re here to reconnect, meet new friends in the industry and share great ideas to help each other be successful.
The vision for the group is to get to know each other over drinks and food. If we can draw a bigger crowd (>30 people) and there is interest, we’ll invite someone to speak on a topic you care about. Let us know in the discussion pages or in your comments what your interests are. Or we can just keep chatting. Please invite your colleagues!
The group is sponsored by the Association of Commercial Professionals – Life Sciences
The SAMPS offers opportunities for networking and professional development, including volunteer leadership positions as well as discounted market research.
The SAMPS Annual Meeting gives you an inside look at where the industry is going from both industry leaders and customers. The accompanying skill sessions are your chance to learn new strategies and tactics from other successful sales and marketing pros in the life sciences.
The organization is for anyone that sells or markets either products (equipment, reagents) or services (e.g. CRO, CMO) into biotech, pharma, government, academic or non-profit laboratories. Visit www.SAMPS.org to learn more.”
It’s that easy. As someone who is already heavily involved in the SAMPS, the local meeting gives me an opportunity to see the larger landscape of companies and people in life sciences nearby and the chance to foster new connections between members of my extended network.