By Raj Adhi
What if you could go to Dreamforce without the cost of a booth? Dreamforce is an event that provides an incredible platform with endless opportunities for the Salesforce community and businesses ready to grow through technology and innovation. This event once again opens its doors to visitors September 25 – 28, with a view on learning about new tech and trends, sharing with industry experts and like-minded partners, and getting valuable insights and inspirations to building a successful business.
If you are attending Dreamforce this year, but didn’t want to blow your marketing budget out on a booth, fret not! You are not alone; in fact, you make up the majority of the attendees. Even if you don’t have a booth, you can allow that to work in your favor in many ways.You are free to venture into the other venues and get an overall perspective of the event. All you need is a well planned out agenda and a great attitude, to boot.
Whether you wish to attend all 4 days or just a couple, here’s how to get the most out of Dreamforce, and maximize your business’s exposure at this high-growth, networking-focussed gathering.
Have an Agenda and Strategize
Planning is key to an early start and to maximize your networking opportunities at the show. Decide ahead which booths you wish to visit on each day of the conference.
Are you partnered with any major brands other than Salesforce? This is a big factor when looking at Dreamforce. Most companies including Commercient will allow you to meet up with clients and other partners at their booth. This can be extremely valuable for running email and calling campaigns to set up meetings in advance. Customers are far more likely to meet up with you at the conference if they know where and when ahead of time.
If there is a particular talk or session you think is important, register to attend as early as possible. Scheduling interviews or one-to-ones with CEOs, CFOs and other important people should be part of the agenda. Lastly, get involved in some business-meets-fun engagements. The relationship-building purpose of these events is not complete without networking opportunities in a fun and relaxed environment.
Shared PR and Marketing Opportunities
Do what the magazines do! These events are full of specialists that can provide expert insights about what’s new or trending in the industry, and would love exposure opportunities. Some of them could be current or prospective partners and customers. Interview them and publish the speaker’s opinions or key excerpts of the interview in a blog post on your website and social media platforms.
They can also share this published piece in their own platforms to attract organic, valuable traffic to your website. To ensure a successful interview, prepare the list of questions you are going to ask the speaker. Scheduling well in advance is crucial as seats may be limited and not many experts may have the time for a one-on-one. Carry a backup battery for your phone and digital recorder to cover the event and refer back to it later.
Network and Advertise
Selling is all about actively listening to your customers and developing win-win solutions, through a personal interaction. Nothing quite beats a one-to-one interaction with businesses who share the same ideals and goals.
Whenever you stop to chat with people, make sure to ask open ended questions and listen, so you are better prepared to position your business to suit their requirements. This also gives you the ability to tailor your messaging to the needs and pain points they just expressed. Ensure you share information about the company you represent and include your success stories with clients.
Many long-term business relationships have started the same way. Understand what the rest of them have been working towards and keep in mind changes through personal engagements.
Let Your Hair Down
More lasting contacts are built at parties and events than at formal settings. Conferences can get hectic and rushed. One of the best ways to meet people is at a Breakfast or Lunch meeting, or a discussion over drinks at an after-event party, where you can catch people in a casual setting.
A change from the hurried business situation allows people to relax and have an open and honest discussion. It provides the ideal scenario for building relationships and long term contacts. Here you can connect with people at a personal, emotional level, where they express themselves more freely and enables businesses to create lasting relationships. You can also arrange a meeting with friends and clients at such fun events so you can cement and build upon the partnerships.
We all know the regular exercise of visiting booths and collecting brochures, business cards and other collectable advertising material from businesses which pick our interest. You may have also exchanged your own cards after the pleasant exchanges.
It is crucial to follow up after interacting with someone at the event. This serves to remind the other person about your company after the initial engagement at the conference. Besides making an impact, such your approach is likely to be very effective as you have shown interest and commitment to the person or company by following up.
Lastly, such a large-scale event such as Dreamforce makes for an ideal scenario for research. It provides the right opportunity to learn more about the competition, from various viewpoints, to marketing or pricing. You can then come up with strategies that can benefit your own business.