TribNet 2020: Shifting to a Virtual Experience
Tribute, Inc. held its 36th annual user's group meeting, TribNet, from June 15-19 in an entirely virtual format. Due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, we made the decision to move to a virtual setting 6-8 weeks prior to conference week. This allowed ample time to get ready for, what turned out to be, the largest showing of attendees to date.
Our traditional in-person conference typically draws 150 customer attendees. This year we offered an All Access Pass which allowed our customers to send an unlimited number of attendees for their single yearly dues payment. As a result of this special promotion, we were beyond excited to engage with more than 500 customer attendees this year!
How We Made This New Experience Work
When the decision was made to take our annual conference completely virtual, we will admit we stepped into it somewhat weary, unsure, and even intimidated. After all, we’ve been doing this live event for 35 years and knew that hosting and putting on 45+ sessions virtually was going to be challenging. But we quickly found that spending the time to research the various tools that could enhance our customer’s experience paid off in dividends.
Our first evaluation was learning about the various conference tools used by NAHAD, NFPA, ISD, FPDA, IDCO, Hose + Coupling World, and more. We found the premier application being utilized by most of our association partners is WHOVA, which helps conference planners and attendees keep the week’s events organized, showcases the agenda, speakers, and even offers virtual exhibitor space for our vendors.
The biggest limitation to a virtual conference is the inability for face to face discussions with our customers and peers. WHOVA provides the tools to keep those networking opportunities flowing with their community chats, meet-up spaces, and easily allows you to connect with / message other attendees.
We then evaluated the best tools out there for live-stream and recorded sessions. We offered a balanced mixture of live sessions and pre-recorded with live moderation utilizing MS Teams and Zoom. The live sessions were also recorded and all recordings are available for up to a full year for our customers to go back and watch on WHOVA.
TribNet Week 2020 Highlights
Conference week began with the meeting of our Program Priority Assessment Board and Program Review Board, whose committees review and vote on development projects for the year for TrulinX and Tribute software solutions.
We kicked off the start of our sessions with our President, Tim Reynolds, State of Tribute speech, and welcomed guest speaker and industry warehouse expert, Jon Schreibfeder of Effective Inventory Management.
Tribute's Platinum Sponsor this year was Aldrich Web Solutions, a provider of integrated e-commerce apps and websites for distributor ERP systems. Aldrich Solutions' platform, WebAlliance E-Commerce, integrates with TrulinX to provide customers an online sales channel made specifically for the distribution industry.
Many of Tribute's vendor partners continued to support TribNet through this new format and experience. Tribute is proud to partner with the following vendors:
- Informa Software - Modular document management, forms and workflow software
- Rubber Tree Systems- Sales Force Mobilization and Analytics software for ERP
- Enlighten.Net- Document management, signature cature and Search Integration Solutions
- MITS/Tour de Force- a fully functional mobile CRM/SFA and analytics solution
- WarehouseTWO- North America's leading inventory-sharing solution for independent industrial wholesaler-distributors
Overall, our attendees enjoyed the new virtual experience, had many take-aways from the sessions which they will be able to apply to their business, and continued to make valuable connections with our large audience base. Planning for TribNet 2021 begins next week and we are anxious to read through our customer post event surveys to help us determine our path for next year’s annual conference. Check out our video from TribNet 2018 to learn what TribNet is all about!
Tribute, Inc. is a provider of business management software for hydraulic, pneumatic, process control and automation distributors who provide design and fabrication services. Click for more information about TrulinX, our SQL-based software designed specifically for complex fabrication projects.