By Connor Riley
Dreamforce describes itself as “the most innovative software conference in the world.” Trailblazers from all over the globe will come together to learn, get inspired, and give back. With thousands of sessions and opportunities, the conference touches nearly every industry and role out there. It is our mission here at SummitSync to help sales and marketing teams drive impactful, one-to-one meetings at conferences and trade shows, which is why we’re beyond excited for Dreamforce 2018.
Between September 25–28, 170,000 people from over 100 countries will converge in San Francisco. These numbers may seem overwhelming; however, with devoted preparation and a diligent mindset, you can meet and often exceed your goals on the trade show floor. Here are our top five tips to ensure you shake the right hands, foster meaningful conversations, and create beneficial relationships at the big event.
1. Use the Event App and Understand Your Target Market
Regardless of what your goals are at Dreamforce, it is important to put your team in the right position to recognize its possible opportunities. To that end, a crucial step is downloading the event app. This will allow you to update your profile picture and bio so you can attract people with similar interests, create your own attendee list, begin crafting an outreach strategy, and sign up for your top sessions before they’re full.
Given your company’s goals and aspirations, whose hands would you like to shake? With a conference as massive as Dreamforce, it’s essential to understand who you’re targeting. There’s no way to meet with 5,000 people, let alone 170,000! That being said, use the prospectus to get a better idea of the specific kinds of groups present (i.e. 26% manager level) and, from there, narrow down the individuals you’d like to get a quick coffee with.
2. Get Your Hands on an Attendee List
This could possibly be the most important aspect of your preparation. Just like you won’t be able to properly prepare for a test if you don’t know which textbook the class uses, you won’t know who to schedule meetings with if you don’t know who’s going to be at the conference. Without an attendee list, how are you going to create an informed pre-show strategy?
There are a few ways to secure a list. If you have a sponsorship package, you may be able to request a list from the organizer. Your personal social network can also be a helpful tool. Finally, if you believe these two methods to be too limiting, check out our meeting automation platform, which includes predicted lists of attendees, developed in partnership with Microsoft.
Whichever way you decide to secure a list, don’t forget to cross-check it against your CRM for potential matches. Any individuals whose names appear on both the attendee list and your CRM are considered your Tier A prospects. These are the people you want to devote the most time and energy connecting with.
3. Develop and Execute a Plan of Attack
Once you’re satisfied with your attendee list, it’s time to develop a strategy. Whether you’re going solo or traveling to the conference with a tight-knit team, sticking with a plan will help satisfy your ROI goals and track your success.
Coordination is the key here. Whatever your dynamics are, ensure that everyone involved is on the same page. Some useful tactics include:
- Personalized Sales Reach Email. If one of your team members owns an account and is attending the event, have them reach out with a personalized and thoughtful email. This increases your chances of getting a response from one of your prospects and driving more handshakes and connections.
- Pick up the Phone. With a conference the size of Dreamforce, email inboxes are going to be overflowing. Take advantage of this opportunity to be different, and personally call a few people. They will likely be relished by the sound of a human voice.
- Use Social Media. Interact with your targets on social media. Investigate what they’re posting, understand their needs, and figure out how you can add value! Show them how your connection can impact them in a positive way.
- Consider Investing in Paid Advertising. Make a list of lower tier targets who you wouldn’t prioritize spending valuable human time on. Paid advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook is an efficient way of reaching out to this group. That way, you’re not totally neglecting meeting with them!
The above ideas make up a portion of a much larger list of possible pre-show tactics. Whatever your strategy, it is essential to set clear goals for your sales and marketing team. For example, “each team member must have at least 20 scheduled prospect meetings” or “marketing should ensure over 500 people visit the custom landing page for the event.” Set clear goals and document the process. This will not only organize your team, but it will also help your post-show review process and strategic planning for other upcoming conferences or trade shows.
4. Take Advantage of What Dreamforce Has to Offer
This conference is all about taking advantage of innovative opportunities, finding your way to inspiration, and excitingly connecting with fellow Trailblazers. During breaks and downtime, don’t retreat to any unproductive habits like scrolling through Instagram and texting friends. Take advantage of Dreamforce’s one-of-a-kind speaker lineup and endless list of breakout sessions. Your friends back home can wait!
5. Reach out Promptly After the Event
Just because Dreamforce is over doesn’t mean your work is done! After all, meaningful connections take time to nurture. Be sure to reach out after the event, thanking people for visiting or meeting with you and continuing the conversation. However, don’t immediately start selling. Gradually engage your prospects and keep them up to date with your team’s progress.
Failing to successfully follow up with your prospects is a waste of your company’s presence at the event! Start planning a strategy now. Being busy or exhausted after arriving back home from Dreamforce is not an excuse for a delayed or absent follow-up campaign.
How will you ensure success for your team at Dreamforce?
A fantastic opportunity lies ahead, one that has the potential to nurture your individual passions and positively shape your company’s future. Set clear goals, organize your team, and execute like you’ve never executed before. Go forth and prosper, Trailblazers!