ECRM adds virtual networking, thought leadership as platform surpasses 25K meetings

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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ECRM is marking a big milestone in its pivot to virtual sessions. The Solon, Ohio-based company said that by the end of July, it had hosted more than 25,000 meetings between buyers and sellers on its proprietary ECRM Connect Platform. 

Since the company launched ECRM Connect virtual meetings in May, more than 1,100 buyers and 1,000 suppliers have participated in 24 category-specific virtual sessions meant to offer face-to-face meetings even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I have done a couple other virtual meetings and trade shows, and the ECRM set up by far is best-in-class," said Howie Cohen, general merchandise category manager for Bartell Drugs. "Notes was the tool I used most; I take a fair amount of notes during meetings and having the ability to review notes from previous sessions was very helpful. I also really liked having all the supplier information, including product images and presentation slides, right there in the platform. "

Beyond the meetings on the platform, ECRM said that users have noted missing the ability to network that typically accompanies in-person events. As a result, ECRM is adding several features to ECRM Connect in its latest version. 

“We continue to evolve our service offering to satisfy the needs of our clients,” said Kurt Repola, ECRM senior vice president. “We have addressed these in our newest release of the ECRM Connect Platform which includes several new features designed to increase engagement and add value for our participants.” 

New features include:

ECRM Lounge, where participants can network or connect for casual conversations between meetings; 
Company Breakroom, virtual meeting rooms where teammates can collaborate to prepare for upcoming meetings or discuss next steps
Thought Leadership, a section that features video and blog posts on category trends and offering industry insight; and
Roundtable Discussions, several concurrent moderated virtual roundtables on category-related topics that are built into participant schedules for the sessions to enable all attendees to engage. 

“Building a best-in-class virtual meeting platform was just the start, as it’s the core component of ECRM’s service offering,” said Repola. “These platform updates address many of the suggestions we have heard and have advanced our ECRM Connect platform dramatically.”

In the last third of the year, ECRM said it plans to hold some 50 virtual sessions across categories.