How to Maximize Your SaaStr’s (and Other Conferences!) ROI
Everyone loves a good conference.
Great speakers, conventional halls full of potential customers, maybe an after party or two – heaven for a B2B salesperson, right?
But without some clearly defined outcomes outlined before hopping on a plane and setting up your booth, a conference can actually be a let down. Yes, it has immense pipeline potential. And, yes, that many potential prospects under one roof is enticing.
You need a plan to turn those exciting aspects into opportunities for your sales team. And with SaaStr 2020 just around the corner, now’s the time to start plotting world domination!
“When we first started attending conferences, we would just try and meet people – as many people as we could. We were not very deliberate and we got no engagement,” says Lloyed Lobo, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
“The next year, we got a photo booth – we hoped we could catch people’s attention. And we had 800-900 people come through the photo booth. But ultimately, that didn’t work either. We spent all of our time trying to drive people to our booth. We didn’t think about connecting, just getting traffic. So even though we had so many more people pass through, we didn’t walk away with the right number of opportunities.”
Turning conference attendance into leads
A photo booth is just one example of a team trying to catch the eye of conference attendees. At Predictable Revenue, we’ve tried our fair share of similar tactics as well: we’ve hired fortune tellers for our SaaStr booths and had one lucky attendee smash a photocopier, Office Space style.
Although hilarious, those tactics didn’t yield much in the way of opportunities either. It wasn’t until we started treating our booth as an inbound funnel, with SDRs qualifying passersby, and Account Executives building relationships with those prospects that were a good fit, did we start to see the great results.
The trick, we found, was designing cue cards that our SDR team would have interested guests fill out. On those cue cards were simple questions that helped us gauge whether or not we felt that person was a good fit for Predictable Revenue’s services.
For context: the year before we implemented our cue card system, we had about 300 badge scans from SaaStr. The year we started using our cue cards, we had 37 people fill one out and we closed 7 deals with 90 days of the conference. Sure, we did way less volume at the conference, but the impact to our business was huge.
(Editor’s note: we wrote extensively about our success at recent SaaStr events. Read about our experience in this in-depth article here)
Lloyed and his team at Boast benefited from taking a similar tailored approach to their conference lead gen.
“The big difference for us was when we started going through the event’s app (every event has its own app). That allowed us to go through everyone that was attending. Then, based on our ICP, we started building a list of who we wanted to connect with,” says Lloyed.
And based on that list, we would do curated events for them – inviting them to an exclusive event like a founder’s dinner, or co-hosting parties. People go to these events to meet like minded people. So, decide who the right people are, and make sure you invite the right people. Co-hosting parties as well helps to align with other companies and, collectively, invite people. That collective nature really helps.
That curated, tailored approach also helps you stand out in your pre-conference reach outs. All of you have surely executed on (or been on the receiving end of) pre-conference prospecting. Lloyed says he’s received more than 30 different companies prospect to him this week alone. But all of those emails are standard “let’s meet at the conference” requests – offering little more than a value prop, and a promise of meeting for a chat or a demo.
But a curated event offers the chance to connect, discuss, and build a relationship. That’s different, and whether it is done sent via email or LinkedIn, that stands out.
“It’s like dating – you don’t go to a bar and just say ‘let’s get married.’ You just want to connect, and see if it’s right to proceed to the next meeting,” says Lloyed.
With these tactics, we generated a couple million dollars in pipeline.
Mutually agreed upon next steps
Of course, connecting at a conference is just the first step on the road to revenue. Now, you have to make sure you book some time to follow up, and push these opportunities along. According to Lloyed, his team would follow up with prospects in the same thread in which they invited them to either a founder’s dinner, or one of the other events they were involved with. By following up in the same thread, the prospect is quickly reminded about who you are, and the chance of them responding increases because they’ve already been in contact.
“For the follow up, your prospects are only responding to emails they have already responded to, that makes it easy,” says Lloyed.
Internally, be clear on what you want. Is it conversations lined up for after the conference? Determine that and make it happen.
In our company, we try and nail down mutually agreed upon next steps, once we connect at a conference. Convention halls and busy corridors are not the best environment for a demo or meaningful conversation (although some prospects will want to move quickly at the event), so we make sure to slot each of our prospects into one of four categories:
- Booked a meeting for the week after the conference (the ideal scenario)
- Interested but no meeting booked yet (the prospect is committed to booking, but won’t do so at the event)
- Prospect is interested, but not ready for a meeting
- Prospect is not interested, but we feel like they could be a good fit down the road
By categorizing each of our connections in this way, we know how to plan our post-SaaStr reach out strategically, so no one falls through the cracks.
After all, we want our investment in SaaStr, and other events, to be worth it. And so far, by implementing the tactics discussed here, whether by us or Lloyed, they have. So, have a happy SaaStr 2020!
Make it worth your time.
For more Lloyed’s thoughts on how to make sure you maximize your ROI from SaaStr and other events – in particular, how Lloyed and his team determine who to invite to their curated events – check out the rest of his interview on The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
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