The Best Speaker Management Software for Conferences: A Comparison Guide for 2022
We evaluated the 3 top speaker management platforms on the market for you today.
We evaluated the 3 top speaker management platforms on the market for you today.
The difference between a mind-blowing event and one that is just "meh" largely has to do with the caliber of your event speakers.
The journey to get there is anything but simple. From attracting top talent, to onboarding speakers, and managing ever-changing logistics—there's a lot of margin for error.
Whether pivoting to hybrid, navigating staffing shortages, or adapting to tighter budgets, event teams are stretched thin and looking for new technology to help solve their call for speakers process.
As a result, there are a few key players making waves in the space with robust speaker management platforms that streamline and simplify the scattered and complex workflows that exist today. That's what this article is all about.
Read on to explore more about the speaker management process, what to look for in a platform and who the top contenders are in the industry.
One of the most challenging aspects an event organizer needs to solve with their event software is speaker management. Also known as speaker onboarding or call for speakers, this process happens in multiple phases over the course of months. For larger conferences it can take over one year to organize all of the logistics.
Below is a high level overview of each phase of the speaker management process:
It’s a lengthy and layered operation with tons of moving parts and last minute changes. The need to adapt on the fly as you finalize your session schedule is absolutely essential to maintaining the integrity of your conference (as well as your sanity) as an event planner.
Speaker management requires excellent communication skills with clear deadlines and expectations, all factors that can and should be supported by your speaker management software. Without a powerful platform that simplifies the workflow, getting your speakers to respond in a timely manner with the information you need can be a constant battle.
In all fairness, this is not (entirely) a result of your speakers going all "Hollywood" on you. These folks are industry experts, masters of their chosen field. Plain and simple, they’re just as busy as you and their email inbox is just as flooded as yours with requests.
That is why it is imperative that you find a solution that has:
Without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the top options for speaker management software available in 2022:
First we have Sessionboard, a technology company that's laser focused on streamlining the speaker, session, & content management process. Sessionboard's speaker management platform was built to eliminate the convoluted nature of managing speakers and all that goes along with that process.
So many conference software solutions are strictly concerned with the front end experience of attendees, while the back-end bones of the event have been left to rely on user-interfaces that were designed during the days of dial-up internet.
Modern Feel & User Friendly Interface
The top providers in speaker manager software today have a lackluster user experience. Sessionboard is setting a new standard, bringing aesthetically pleasing software that is intuitively designed to save teams time. Shorten the learning curve for your event staff, and impress your speakers with a seamless and modern platform that empowers them to be self-sufficient.
Personalized Speaker Portals
The Sessionboard speaker management platform is a singular place where the entire journey is streamlined. From application to confirmation, all document and abstract management as well as on-boarding status is clearly accessed and communicated as one source of truth. Speakers get a personalized view within their portal, that has everything they need to be prepared for their session. Speakers can upload all of their content within the portal as well, so your A/V team has what they need and your marketing team can leverage the content post-event via the content repository.
Real-Time Schedules Published to Your Site
Connecting the call for papers workflow to your event page is seamless. Easily embed Sessionboard's speaker agenda and sessions schedules to your attendee-facing event page. Any changes made or adjustments get reflected to your site in real-time. Check out this example from our recent integration partnership with ExpoPlatform, a leader in event technology worldwide.
Email Templates & Merge Tags For Automated Communication With A Personalized Feel
Communicating messages to your speakers, such as submission status, is quick and easy with Sessionboard. Thanks to email templates and the power of merge tags, organizers can send speakers personalized messages with a few clicks. Now your speakers, whether accepted or declined for your next conference or event, will get an organic feeling response that fosters a much better relationship
Session Conflict Flagging
Sessionboard's speaker management software alerts you of any overlapping sessions, allowing you to correct and refine your session schedule so that there are no day-of mix ups.
Drag and Drop Agenda Builder
Agendas today are made on the fly and require tool that provide the flexibility to change in real-time. This tool is absolutely critical in providing a bird's eye view when scheduling your sessions and aligning with speaker's availability. Simply drag and drop session blocks to arrange your speakers and sessions in perfect harmony. You can make adjustments as needed, without having to overhaul the entire agenda.
Applications - Awards, Scholarships, & More..
Sessionboard has also introduced a new Applications function, which allows conference organizers to accept submissions for various constituent processes.
Various application types include:
Creating applications is as easy as launching your call for speakers form. You can use our prebuilt questions or customize your own. We'll help notify applicants that their submission has been received, and give you tools to review and communicate with applicants regarding the status of their application.
Sessionboard is the ideal speaker management tool for any conference, trade show, or seminar for which you want to dramatically improve the experience and efficiency for your speakers and your staff. It's the most modern tool on the market and has the exact feature set that solves the biggest challenges in speaker management. Teams avoid overpaying for extra features and get more of the time-saving tools they need to simplify their processes. With tons of powerful features, Sessionboard is the strongest choice for speaker, content, & session management on the market today.
Cvent offers software solutions to event planners and marketers for online event registration, venue selection, event management and marketing, virtual, hybrid, and onsite solutions, and attendee engagement.
Event management expertise
Cvent is one of the biggest names in event management among enterprise level organizations. They have been grandfathered into many events due to their longevity. They are stellar when it comes to attendee-facing technology but lack the specialization on the backend operational side.
Enterprise offer for an enterprise budget
Simply put, Cvent is a very very expensive option. Their software covers the entire gamut of conference management, and speaker management is but one small part of their overall focus. Teams that invest in this tool often invest in more functionality and features than they truly need to get the job done. The price you pay for their platform reflects this fact.
User-interface is a bit antiquated
Despite being a popular option for events, the actual software feels a bit old and clunky. There hasn’t really been a ton of pressure on them to produce a more user-friendly option, but the technology market has caught up now. Conference organizers and trade show managers who have felt cornered into this solution do have new choices in this software space.
If you need a solution for everything, from attendee experience to virtual hosting, Cvent may be the right choice for you. Speaker management doesn’t necessarily seem to be their modus operandi, but merely a component of their software solution. Their offering may be more robust and attendee facing than what you are looking for to manage your speakers.
Lineup Ninja offers a speaker management solution that lets you call for papers, plan your conference agenda, and manage your abstracts. Their goal is to make your team more efficient and informed throughout the process.
Onboarding, training, & consultancy services…for a fee
For a price, Lineup Ninja will train you or your team to use their software.
Lineup Ninja offers a free trial for those interested in getting a taste of the software, which may be an appealing feature for those who are unsure about what solution is right for their needs.
Pricing is scaled with add-ons, which add up
The pricing model for Lineup Ninja starts with a licensing fee, and escalates based on number of submissions and sessions utilized. It's super affordable for events on the smaller side for a one-time use-case. However, the more sessions and speakers the more costly the price jumps.
They also throw in customer support at the professional level, and cloud services and auditing at the enterprise level.
Not easiest on the eyes design wise, but solid functionality
To be brutally honest, the UI/UX of this platform is nothing to write home about but the software gets the job done as advertised.
Lineup Ninja provides a competent software solution to your speaker management and abstract management needs. The main hang up for some may be the pricing structure.
The days of relying on spreadsheets and a random assortment of messaging apps or emails chains are over. For conference organizers and trade show managers at large, investing in a speaker management platform is the most effective way to optimize their workflow and the experience of their speakers.
At the end of the day, your software should be streamlining your process, making you better at your job, and empowering your staff and making life easier for your speakers as well. Giving them a VIP-like treatment while also making sure you get what you need on time is a win-win.
Conference organizers and trade show managers can benefit from a solution that handles the entire speaker management journey, from application to session agenda building, and year over year after that.