When it comes to new business development, nothing beats face-to-face interactions. You can spend weeks preparing for a handful of meetings when you travel to a specific city. And yet, despite your best efforts, you still have to deal with last-minute cancellations, reschedules and a host of meeting logistics.

It's no wonder that even the best salespeople end up averaging 6 to 8 meetings a day, often with 2-3 quality meetings and 3-4 "filler" meetings with long-shot prospects unlikely to engage.

A Seismically Better Alternative to Traditional Meetings
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking at an ECRM event. While I was there, I had the opportunity to speak with several top brands and retailers about why they participated each year (as some had participated consistently for more than 10 years). They were there to efficiently meet with 50 or more companies they had pre-selected and get as many deals done as possible--in 48 hours!

At first, it was hard to believe that you could have 25 quality meetings in a single day, but the more I dug into it, the more I came to appreciate the beauty of what ECRM had developed. They took all the grunt work out of the business development process, by creating a qualified digital match-making service ahead of time and then providing all the pre-meeting research you need to have a quality meeting in 20 minutes or less.

Eliminating the Time Sucks of Needs Analysis and Pre-Qualification Steps
The magic of the ECRM platform was built into the simplicity of the initial registration process and followed through each meeting and final output. Think SalesForce CRM meets Match.com. Each participant receives an ECRM-issued iPad that combines your White House-grade efficient agenda with all the information you received ahead of time to make deals happen.

You know exactly what the person sitting next to you is looking for, key insights on their business challenges / opportunities and therefore how to cut to the chase with your offering to get a deal done. The precision of the back-end combined with efficiency of the face-to-face interactions was incredible to witness.

I realize that ECRM is not alone in this space. While I have participated in similar match-making events in the past, this was the first one I've experienced that truly nailed pre and post meeting analysis with efficient in-person meetings.

Catering to Several Industries, Varying Company Size and Retailer Footprints
In the event where I was speaking, brands in attendance ranged from well-established household names like Wolfgang Puck and Nielsen to several start-up and mid-sized CPG brands looking to grow their retail footprints. Retailers ranged from large players such as Ahold, Kroger and Walgreens to specialty (i.e. Jack's World), food service (i.e. Disney Worldwide) and club (i.e. BJ's Wholesale) stores.

Other industry events include healthcare, office supplies, house wares, and just about any consumer goods being sold at retail. For entrepreneurs looking to sell physical goods at retail, these ECRM events are a goldmine. For those outside of this space, there are several lessons that can be learned from the incredible efficiency of having a trusted partner support your pre and post meeting support needs so that you can focus on what you do best.