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Secrets to a successful Dreamforce (for attendees & exhibitors)
Dreamforce—the annual user conference from Salesforce.com—has quickly become
one of the must-attend B2B sales and marketing events of the year. But with more than
35,000 attendees and a dizzying schedule of events, seminars, parties and more, it can be
challenging to take best advantage of the event and ensure you head home with the new
skills, best practices and contacts you need to be more successful managing your sales and
demand generation programs moving forward.
Whether you’re a first-time attendee, an exhibitor or simply want to make this year’s
Dreamforce visit more productive and successful, the following pages offer some specific
best practices and recommendations.
Secrets to a successful Dreamforce (for attendees & exhibitors)
Secrets To A Successful Dreamforce (For Attendees And Exhibitors)Dreamforce—the annual user conference from Salesforce.com—has quickly become Why Attending Events In Person Is Still So Important 2one of the must-attend B2B sales and marketing events of the year. But with more than35,000 attendees and a dizzying schedule of events, seminars, parties and more, it can be How To Turn Your User Conference Into Achallenging to take best advantage of the event and ensure you head home with the new Must-Attend Industry Event 3skills, best practices and contacts you need to be more successful managing your sales and Anatomy Of A Betterdemand generation programs moving forward. Pre-Event Email 3Whether you’re a first-time attendee, an exhibitor or simply want to make this year’s Ten Best (And Worst) Practices For Your Next Trade Show 4Dreamforce visit more productive and successful, the following pages offer some specific Eight Requirements Forbest practices and recommendations. A Successful Event Strategy 5 A Better Way To Qualify Leads At Your Next Trade Show 6Matt Heinz The Thin Line BetweenPresident, Heinz Marketing Inc. Great Presentations Andmatt@heinzmarketing.com Sales Pitches 7 Things To Do (And Not Do) With Your Next Trade Show Booth 8 Observations From Dreamforce 9 Things You Can Learn At Your Next Conference 10 Dreamforce Session Recommendations For B2B Sales And Marketing Pros 10 How To Take Notes At A Conference 11 The Dos And Don’ts Of Conference Hashtags 12 How To Make The Most Of The Parties And Networking Events 13 The Most Important Part Of Event Marketing 14 Getting The Most Out Of An Awesome Conference (Once You’re Back At The Office) 14 Life Is Short, Work With People You Enjoy 15
Why Attending Events In Person Is Still So ImportantThere are many reasons why Dreamforce is a good use of Meet New People And Deepen Existing Relationshipsmy time, but in general I’m a big fan of regularly finding Social networks are great, I use my LinkedIn and my entireevents that get me out of my office, away from my usual online system for meeting new people and maintainingenvironment, and somewhere I can accelerate my business, relationships. But nothing can replace doing it with amy own learning, and my value to our clients all at the handshake, a smile, and seeing the whites of their eyes.same time. Whether you do it in the lobby of the conference hotel,I love the growing trend of online-only conferences, as on the trade show floor, at the evening parties or evenwell as the ever-present availability of Webinars to help me while playing golf, these are the relationships that golearn. But nothing will replace the value of being there deeper, that develop long-term preference and businesslive. Five reasons for this. value for you over time. It’s differentiating, in your favor, in a way that online networking can never be.Get That “Out Of The Office” PerspectiveAway from the regular tugs at your time, the same four Talk To The Vendorswalls you stare at, you can have a different perspective. Yes, they want to sell you something. And some will eitherYou’ll naturally think about things differently. You’ll have be too aggressive or ignore you. But every vendor on thean entirely new set of stimuli (visual, auditory, written) to show floor knows something that you don’t. It’s your jobspark creativity and innovation. You can get this even by to learn from them. Ask them questions about their sliceattending an event in your home town. No matter how of the industry, what they’re seeing from their customers,you do it, getting outside of your regular environment is what they see moving forward. Try to find the productworth it more often. Why do you think teams go “offsite” managers in the booth who spend most of their timefor executive meetings and brainstorms? Same reason. listening to customers and translating those needs into new product features. They’ll often have the best insightsFocus On New Opportunities into what’s now and what’s next.(With Your Complete Attention)If you’re going to an event or conference in person, do Use The Casual Moments To Your Advantageyourself a favor and give it your full attention. Don’t travel Set up quick coffee meetings with people you’ve justacross the country only to stay in your hotel room and met, or haven’t seen in awhile. If you need to catch upon “regularly scheduled” conference calls you could have on email, do so in the hotel lobby or in an otherwisejust done from your office. A couple of these are fine, public place so you’re move likely to run into somethingbut otherwise let yourself be immersed in the event itself you want to talk to. Invite new people to lunch or dinnerwith your full attention. This can mean sitting through or drinks to get to know them better, and learn fromkeynotes and panels, focusing time on the trade show them. If you do eat alone, do so at a location close to thefloor, scheduling blocks of time with important partners conference and eat at the bar. You’ll likely be sitting nextor customers or new faces, etc. You won’t have these to someone else from the conference you can talk to andopportunities anywhere or anytime else. Take advantage learn from. Take a long, early-morning walk and take aof them now. notepad or digital recorder to record new ideas, priorities for the day, etc. There are countless ways to squeeze more value out of the more casual moments when you travel. 2
How To Turn Your User Conference Into A Must-Attend Industry EventWhat began in 2003 as a small user conference has now Networkingexceeded 25,000 attendees and almost 300 exhibitors. You can tell when a conference has crossed the chasm fromDreamforce has become a case study in transforming a user conference to must-attend event when many people gocustomer-only conference into a must-attend industry just for the networking. I’d be willing to bet that Salesforce.event. How did they do it? And how could you do it for com’s own attendee figures are low, as there will be plentyyour customer events as well? who fly into town simply to meet and do business withHere are a few ingredients to Salesforce.com’s success. those who are also there. This includes the plethora of parties hosted each night by several vendors and sponsors.Content LocationAlthough much of the content and many of the breakoutsessions focus on features and functionality, there’s plenty Salesforce.com is based in San Francisco, so Mosconeof content that’s also focused on helping B2B sales and Center is almost a given. But many companies prefer tomarketing professionals better at their jobs overall. This year’s host user conferences in their home town. If it’s hard toDreamforce features a host of sessions on sales strategy, word get to, expensive to get to, or generally out of the way,of mouth tactics, search marketing innovations and more. your attendance will suffer. At minimum, get a great priceIf you’re not a Salesforce.com developer or administrator, on a hotel conference center in Vegas to give attendees anthere’s still a ton of things to learn. extra reason (or three) to come down.Speakers Attention To DetailFrom the keynote speakers to the panelists, it’s clear that It’s very clear that Dreamforce is meticulously planned,Dreamforce puts effort into ensuring attendees walk down to the small details. Despite the huge and growingaway with high-quality information from the field’s most crowds each year, it continues to get easier to find whereinnovative and successful thinkers and doers. Recent you’re going, ask someone for directions, plan your entirekeynotes have featured General Colin Powell, President visit weeks in advance via online scheduling and calendarBill Clinton and this year Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. tools, etc.Anatomy of a Better Pre-Event EmailIn the next few weeks, Dreamforce attendees will receive Put Some News In The Subject Lineliterally receive dozens of emails from exhibitors. It I know you want me to meet with you. But that in thepromises to be an interesting study in different strategies, subject line isn’t going to get me to engage. I’ve even seenobjectives and perspectives in engaging an audience before subject lines in the past week that literally give the datesyou (potentially) see them live at the event. Here are and location of the event. How is that driving open rates?several things I’ve noticed from past Dreamforce pre-event Instead, use something to entice me. Tease a giveaway,emails (the good, bad and ugly) and would recommend give me a benefit worth stopping by to learn more about.to drive greater performance this year. You can’t make a subject line communicate everything, and it’s main goal is to get the email opened, but start withSend Email From A Person, Not A Company something that gets my attention and piques my interest.People are more likely to open an email from a person(whose name is in the “from” line, whose email address Get Me To Pre-Register For Somethingshows up there, and who signed the email too) than an I really like the pre-event emails that allow me to self-selectemail from a company with an “info@” email address. I’m greater interest. They either invite me to a private briefingalso much more likely to respond directly to an email from or to schedule when I’ll stop by the booth. The majoritya person vs. a company (and would expect a reply from that of email recipients won’t respond to this, but that’s notperson too, which hasn’t happened consistently either). 3
the point. If you can get a handful of attendees committed during open show floor hours. I may not want to commit,to stopping by, your booth performance immediately is but that doesn’t mean I’m less interested or less qualified.better than just hoping passers-by are the people you want A different tactic to engage prospects like this could be toto meet, and who want to meet you too. simply have them pre-register for a visit without a specific time. Tell prospects you’ll have a special gift reserved forBut Don’t Force Me To Commit them when they come, whenever that is. Then, have thatAs much as I prefer the pre-registration option above, list at the booth so you can fulfill that offer. This tactic givesI also don’t want to commit. I have enough meetings you a registered list of more interested prospects, gives meplanned for this week already, I don’t necessarily want or (the attendee) more flexibility, but puts you at the top of myneed to schedule something when I can stop by anytime “need to visit” priority list for the show floor.Ten Best (And Worst) Practices For Your Next Trade Show1. Less Is More question or phrase to get prospects to pause and engage? Do they know how to qualify or scan badges or do exactly whatMost companies stuff their booth with too much stimuli— you need them to do to make the show successful? Don’tgraphics, computer screens, stacks of collateral, boxes of wait to do booth training an hour before the event. Get thegiveaways. The more cluttered it looks, the more confused team together in the office before everyone leaves (or atand dazed your prospects will be. If they don’t see a quick, minimum a conference call is part of the team is remote).simple and easy hook, they’re more likely to just walk by.Work harder to have fewer elements in the booth. Believe 5. Know The Show Schedule And Staff Accordinglyme, it’ll work much better than the alternative. When are the big breaks between sessions? When do you2. Plan Your Booth Layout In Advance expect traffic to be particularly heavy? Even if those breaks are just 15–20 minutes, make sure you’re well staffed toIf you order the backdrop and the front table and the take advantage of the booth traffic. The more attentivegraphics all separately, it’s more likely to be too cluttered you are to the schedule and rhythm of the event, the lessand uninviting once you put it all together. If you have the likely you’ll be overwhelmed during rushes and potentiallytime and luxury of building the booth at home in advance miss a big prospect.of the show, great. Otherwise, start with a written “map”of where everything will go. This will help you visualize 6. The Little Things Matterangle, prospect entry points, and any space or line-of-sightconflicts that will arise without better planning. Have a handful of pens to write on business cards and complete surveys. Bring water bottles and energy bars for3. Use Fewer Words And Visuals On Your Backdrops the booth staff. Bottles of aspirin too. Order the trash can.(And Avoid The Bottom Entirely) And the extra padding under the carpet. The little things really matter. Have a detailed checklist of these things toDoes this sound familiar? You carefully design an entire use at each show moving forward.booth backdrop graphic only to have the bottom halfalmost invisible, behind tables or people or other distractions. 7. Come Early For Show Start Times, And Be Ready To RollAnd what’s on top looked great on paper, but on theshow floor is way too much to read. What’s more, even Nothing worse than fiddling with your monitor or demothe content at the top of your visuals can be too much to while the first booth visitors are arriving. Not much betterread. Keep it simple, user fewer words to get your message when your booth staff is a few minutes late and hasn’t yetacross, and let your booth staff fill in the blanks. set things up, or are putting their stuff away when good prospects walk by. Get everyone to the booth plenty early,4. Booth Training Can’t Be An Afterthought especially on the first day, and make sure you’re ready toYour attending staff may know your business well, but have roll well in advance. Better to get done and be ready plentythey worked a trade show? Do they know how to use a early and enjoy a quick break or cocktail vs. scrambling and finishing late. 4
8. Teach Your Booth Staff A Set Of Small-Talk “Interrupters” have no idea who you are or how you can help them.Few prospects want to hear an elevator pitch immediately Receiving prospects is passive, and will lead to lots ofas they walk by. Is there something you do that would time to ponder your own thoughts. Instead, invite yourcatch their attention in less than two seconds? Is there prospects in. Teach your booth staff to have the confidencesomething you’re offering that’s not product-related that and “interrupters” to do this consistently.will get the majority of your target audience to pause andask for more? Teach your booth staff these “interrupters” 10. Don’t Break The Booth Down Earlyas they’re key to getting more prospects to engage with You’re tired, it’s been a long week, and you’re ready toyou. Which nicely leads into the next best practice… either get home or go have a drink. But prospects are still walking around, and it looks bad if you’re breaking9. Are You Inviting Or Receiving? down the booth early. You never know when a really big prospect will walk by at the last minute. In fact, stay upIf you stand back and wait for attendees to engage, and attentive for at least 10–15 minutes after the showyou might be waiting for a long time. Unless you ends. Attendees are still in the room, at minimum walkinghave something really interesting like a four-foot tall, by on their way out the door. You paid a lot of money to300-pound cake shaped like an actual elephant (I saw this be here, take advantage of every minute.at the 2012 Collaborate conference), prospects will likelyEight Requirements For A Successful Event Strategy Those who have managed or executed any event—a 3. Content Strategyseminar, a user conference, or an industry trade show—will Content is key to any event. This includes not only the ap-know it involves a thousand details, lots of moving parts, proach and position at your booth (including your primaryand other thankless tactics that, together, lead to success. message and offer), but also evaluating opportunities toBut if you focus on and have a strategy or plan for the fol- create and communicate content before, throughout andlowing eight elements, you’re most of the way towards a after the show. For example, what blog posts or other con-successful event. tent can you create and deliver before the show starts to engage attendees, recommend certain sessions, even pub-1. Objectives lish a restaurant guide to get their attention? What speak-What do you want out of the event? How (not what) will ing opportunities are there, or if you’re not on stage, howyou measure? Why are you doing it or participating in it? well are you summarizing, blogging about or tweetingThese may seem like fundamental questions, but all too highlights from the event to your followers, customers andoften companies engage in industry events because they prospects? Some of my most popular blog posts summarizefeel like they have to, or (worse) because competitors are key points from a great event. Do the same, and considerdoing it or “we did it last year.” But if you can’t enumerate publishing it right as the event ends so you’re included inreasons and objectives for why you’re doing it now, you round-ups.might be best served to move onto something else thatwill provide more direct value to the business and your 4. Offer Strategysales/revenue objectives. I’m not talking about pricing or product purchase offers, at least not exclusively. Sure, have a show special to get2. Short Term And Long Term Success Measures customers to take action, especially if you’re offering aDepending on your sales cycle, you likely won’t be able to transactional sale that you can close on the show floor. Butjustify and measure final ROI from an event right away. So more important are the offers that differentiate you fromit’s important to define short-term and long-term suc- other booths, that drive more attention and traffic to yourcess measures for your event. Short-term, for example, booth in the first place, and that increase conversion toyou might measure leads captured, meetings secured with registration and/or follow-up from those attendees. Thisprospects or influencers, etc. Long-term, you’re looking at can be a white paper, an audit or assessment of a prospect’sopportunities generated and closed. Here’s a summary of opportunity, a seat at an upcoming online event, or otherthree specific measurement points post-event. 5
offers and formats relevant to your audience. Make sure question. For those that show interest or are deemedyour offers are about the prospect, not you, to increase as qualified, invite them to a staffer inside the booth toresponse and conversion. continue the conversation, or rotate an “insider” back to the perimeter to prospect.5. Social StrategyPlay an active role in the event’s social channels, hashtags 7. Networking Strategyand participants. Remember that there will always be I’ve been to events where the majority of my success wasprospects following activities and highlights via social hanging out in the lobby and engaging the right peoplechannels that aren’t at the event but wish they were. as they walked by. Whether it’s “planned serendipity” likeThese are prospects, too, and can courted, registered this, or at the ever-present networking events and partiesand engaged just as well post-event. Consider engaging in the evenings, have a strategy for how you’re goinginfluencers who will have high-traffic social and blog to divide and conquer among the various networkingfeeds during the event, so they know you’re there, are opportunities. Ensure your staff isn’t hanging out togetherretweeting some of your stuff, and potentially writing at evening events, but at minimum spreading themselvesabout you to their followers. These are just a few of across separate tables to increase how many new peoplemany considerations to take advantage of social channels you’re meeting and engaging. And for those who will beat any event (even if you aren’t there or aren’t formally attending these networking events, agree on a strategy forexhibiting). collecting and following up on business cards and contacts captured there.6. Booth AssignmentsProduct training is great, but your booth staff needs to 8. Follow-Up Planbe tightly coordinated to take best advantage of the traffic Do yourself a favor and plan and write your show follow-walking by. The downside of having an event booth is up materials before you leave. Because when you get back,that you’re largely at the whim of whomever happens to you’ll be buried in work and emails and new fire drills.walk by. Some will be good prospects, others won’t. So And the next thing you know it, it’ll be a week later andit’s important that you actively engage as many people as those leads you captured will start to feel stale. So if youpossible to increase the number of qualified prospect you create your post-show follow-up plan up front, plus writedrive deeper into the booth. At a high level, this means the emails and schedule the post-event offers, all you haveassigning some staff to the “perimeter” of the booth to to do is load the list and press “go”.engage browsers with a well-written, customer-centricA Better Way To Qualify Leads At Your Next Trade ShowThe problem with most trade show qualifying questions is the prospect has a situation or problem you might be ablethat they’re black and white, and they’re far too focused to solve.on identifying pipeline stage and purchase readiness. Questions like this could include:That’s not a bad thing to ascertain in general, but at a Why are you here?trade show your prospects are overwhelmed already and What are you looking for?not in a buying/evaluation mindset. Asking questions What do you need to bring back to justify this trip?about their qualification and readiness to purchase cancome across as too much, too fast. If you get positive answers to these questions (based on your buying signals), it’s appropriate to ask aboutInstead, ask questions that are both conversational and timeline to solve said problem. That gives you, effectively,situational. Listen for any of a series of buying signals a two-stage qualification process at your next trade show(based on needs, pain, symptoms) that determine whether or event. 6
The Thin Line Between Great Presentations And Sales PitchesAt an otherwise great conference recently attended, I sat succeeded. It was intensely relevant, and wasn’t necessarythrough a thoroughly awful lunch presentation. It was to hit the audience over the head with what product orfacilitated by a conference sponsor and featured one of solution helped him along the way.their customers as a co-presenter. It was awful. Pure salespitch, transparently, with little additional value to the 2. Be Specificaudience. When it comes to case studies and use cases, we want numbers. Examples. Tactics. Specifics. Share your bestIronically, just three hours later, a different conference practices as well as your worst practices, the things yousponsor did a very similar session in front of the full thought would work but definitely did not. The lunchtimeconference audience. It was incredible, one of the session spoke almost entirely in generalities, motherhood,highlights of the day. apple pie and unactionable tenets. In the afternoon? Specific test scenarios, A/B results, and an outline of theSame format, very different outcomes. I have no problem plan moving forward. Specific, actionable, highly relevant.with sponsors who help underwrite a conference to gettheir stage time, but the last thing they should do (for 3. Facilitate, Do Not Participatetheir own good, as well as for perception with attendees Just because you paid for the sponsorship and, therefore,and prospects) is give a sales pitch. Many companies speaking slot does not mean you need to speak. We canassume that featuring a customer on stage automatically assume the customer on stage is there because he/shemakes the content more interesting and less self-serving. is using your product. And if we believe their story, andBut a sales pitch is still a sales pitch. the results they describe, we will (correctly) assume thatThere were four particular differences between the you were the enabler of that success. A good sponsorlunchtime stinker and the afternoon winner. Here are will facilitate this presentation from their customer, notthose differences, good lessons for those who want to necessarily co-present it with them.similarly leverage conferences, stage time and customer Do a quick introduction of the customer and theirparticipation to drive real value, preference and interest. situation, give the stage to your featured speaker customer,1. Focus On The Customer then facilitate a quick Q&A at the end. If an audience question is directed at you, or if the customer defers anThis may seem obvious, but the two presentations handled answer to you, take the opportunity. But otherwise let thethis very differently. At lunch, the customer didn’t tell his customer shine for you.story as much as he told the vendor’s story. It was clearhe had been coached on how to describe the product 4. Drive Discussion Of The Problem And Outcome,and what it did for him. Far more interesting would have Not The Solutionbeen simply focusing on his own problem, how he tackled The best sales presentations, period, focus on achievingit, and explicitly (with examples and tactics) how he an outcome for the prospect. They focus on the currentsucceeded. pain or problem as a starting point and draw a map to thatThat’s exactly what the afternoon session did. Instead outcome. If the prospect believes the story, does the valueof a back-and-forth with the sponsor, the afternoon translation to the outcome with you, and comes to desiresession featured a true keynote-like presentation from (if not covet) the objective you’ve described and madethe customer that was entirely about his challenges, tangible, then the solution sells itself. The solution, if youhis journey, and how/where he both struggled and will, is part of the close and not part of the pitch. 7
Things To Do (And Not Do) With Your Next Trade Show BoothGood Ideas Bad IdeasQualify booth visitors up front. I was impressed with Embarassing outfits. There’s a line between professional,a few vendors who pleasantly introduced themselves, noteworthy and ridiculous. Following the theme ofand asked me to quickly do the same. This helped them your booth is fine, but if people snicker when they walkknow who I was, what I did, and understand how to by, that’s not good. If your booth staff visibly looksthen approach how they’d describe what they do. The uncomfortable and uses an apology for their appearanceconversation would go differently if I was a prospective as their ice-breaker, that’s not good either. One booth atenterprise customer vs. a potential partner vs. an industry Dreamforce in 2011 had a Harry Potter theme, completeanalyst or reporter. Kudos to those who qualified up front. with staffers wearing full wizard robes and hats. Hmm.Unique outfits break the ice. Lots of booths have Talking amongst yourselves. Incredible to me thatthemes, but smart vendors customize booth staff attire people still do this, especially when spending tens of(without going overboard) to align with theme but also thousands (if not six figures) to be there. A couple boothsquickly break the ice with those walking by. Great way to were literally impossible to visit and engage with becauseget prospects to quickly engage, make fun of yourself for of the wall of employees talking to each other. If thata couple seconds, then earn the opportunity to qualify and “wall” had literally turned around (in this one case), theydiscuss what you actually do. could have instantly had 5–6 prospect conversations from people who just passed them by.Send the industry veteran roaming the halls. Mostshows prohibit vendors from shilling beyond their booth Failing to share pricing. Didn’t a question about pricespace (this includes handing out collateral or giveaways, used to be a buying signal? Why do I have to ask fouretc.). But smart vendors actually sent their most well- times to get an answer? If you’re too expensive, you have anetworked employees through the halls to meet people bigger problem than figuring out how to talk about pricethey knew, catch up, and send more traffic back to the when someone asks. But if you’re worth it, share the pricebooth. Great way to spread your brand and presence when someone asks the first time and be ready to justifybeyond the walls of your booth without violating show the price with a quick ROI story or two from currentrules. customers.Ditch the swag and give away a souvenir. I don’t need If I ask a question, you should scan my badge. I don’tanother pen, or mouse pad, or water bottle. But the want to be on everyone’s follow up list, and if your veryautographed guitar from Metallica? That was sweet. Not first question to me as I walk by your booth is if you caneveryone is going to take it home, but I do have a picture. “scan me”, I’m likely to say no. But if I engage, if I askNice move, InsideView. good questions, you shouldn’t let me walk away without asking who I am and to either get a business card or scanUse Foursquare. Kudos to Optify for “claiming” my badge for follow-up. At least six booths this weekDreamforce as a venue early enough to feature their booth should have read the interest signs from me, but have noand a rotating selection of “come visit us” promotions. idea who I am.Literally, every time someone checks in to Dreamforcevia Foursquare (and thousands are doing so every day), Dress pants with white tennis shoes. You’d think thisOptify’s promotion pops up. Great, guerilla tactic that can would be a given, but it’s not. Don’t do this. It kind ofwork at almost any event or venue. makes you look like a doofus. 8
Observations From DreamforceWith more than 30,000 people now attending Dreamforce Value-added takeaways. The best booths at Dreamforceconference, it’s nuts as you would imagine. Last year I offered a book, a how-to guide, a sales automation orchecked out many of the vendors, new technology and nurture marketing cheat-sheet, something of independentemerging SaaS businesses on the trade show floor. but related value that will make me smarter. I don’t want to take home a bunch of brochures, that’s what Web sitesLearned a lot, both based on what they’re doing as well are for when I’m back at the office. Give me something Ias how they handled prospective customers walking by. want to read on the plane home, something that will teachA booth space at Dreamforce costs a LOT of money, so I me and demonstrate how much more you can teach me ifwas interested in seeing how some companies capitalized we keep working together.on the opportunity, and how others let subtle thingsimpact their ability to capture and engage prospects. The BadBelow are some of my observations—good and bad alike. Scanning badges without context. Unfortunately, “can I scan your badge?” isn’t a good example of the scriptedThe Good five seconds referenced above. Offer me some value inMaking eye contact and saying hello. The best booth exchange for the scan. Even if it’s just to enter a drawingstaffers were engaged, scanning the crowd, and being for an iPad, at least I understand the value beingproactive at making direct eye contact and greeting exchanged. If you want to add me to your mailing list,visitors. This was a great way to get myself and others promise me something valuable in return. Email tips onto break their stride, pause for a moment, return the sales automation, for example.salutation, and start to engage on what they do. Many Failing to qualify. If you don’t know who I am, what I do,booths failed to do this. Eyes down, watching your what I need, how do you know it’s worth giving me a 5–10Blackberry, is not a good way to get prospects. minute deep-dive on your product? Not every booth visitorScript the first five seconds. It was very clear which is a good lead, not every booth visitor should be pitched thebooths had thought beforehand about their value same way. Know my role and my objective first.proposition, and what specific handful of words would get Scanning for someone better. If I’m talking to you, atthe most visitors to say “wow, tell me more.” Your first few least pretend that you’re interested in our conversation.words, those first five seconds of your introduction, will It’s obvious when you’re scanning the crowd to see ifhelp me decide if I’m going to learn more or move on. someone better walks by.State your benefits in bold letters. If I’m walking by, Ignoring loiterers. If I pause on my own, stop anddeciding which booth to visit, I need a reason to stop. If stare at your booth on my own, I’m interested. I don’tI’m scanning the booth, I want to see words that imply understand why I’m not immediately engaged with awhat I’ll achieve by working with you. I don’t want you to handshake and welcome, especially when booth staffers aretell me you’re a cloud-based application. I don’t need a list looking at and around me anyway. If you’re already busyof features. What will it do for me? Why should I take the giving a demo to someone else, take a quick moment totime to learn more? It’s part of the hook, part of getting welcome me into the conversation. Make me feel welcome,prospects to stop and engage. otherwise I’m likely to move on.Move longer conversations out of traffic flow. Especially Check your email. We’ve all done this at trade showin a crowded exhibit hall, once you’ve identified someone booths. It’s bad. If you really must check your email, makewho wants to learn more or see a demo, get them out of sure you booth is staffed by someone else and walk a fewthe aisle and into your booth. Move there somewhere you feet away to do your business.can have a more direct, less-distracted conversation. Thiswill add more value to that deeper conversation, plus allow Brag about your hangover. It’s not a badge of honor.more prospects in the flow of traffic to walk by and engage Yes, we may all have had too much fun last night. Butwith others working your booth. you’re here this morning to work. 9
Things You Can Learn At Your Next ConferenceYou’re there to close some business, meet partners, hear of course, between being creative and getting attention,speakers and network with fellow attendees. But if you and crossing the line and being obnoxious at someonelook between the lines, and pay closer attention to what’s else’s conference. This applies as well to those whogoing on around you, you can also absorb a ton of best execute guerilla tactics at their booths, in the aisles, at the(and worst) practices about running or participating in a conference hotels, and so on.successful conference. Panel And Presentation Best PracticesFor example: Who gave the best presentations and why? Was it becauseBooth Practices And Tactics (The Good, Bad And Ugly) of their content, their performance on stage, their visuals,Which booths drew your attention and why? Which were their examples? Similarly, who was awful and why? Almostyou embarrassed for? Break down the booth appearance, any event you attend will feature both ends of this spectrum.attractiveness, giveaways, staff performance and etiquette. Follow an event’s Twitter hashtag and you’ll get a real-timeWhat ideas could you take away for your next event, and sense for what other people think as well (and why).what tactics and/or behavior will you remind your team Event Management Best Practicesto never do again? Take notes and take pictures to remindyourself of what you’ve seen and want to emulate (or not) The details behind executing a successful event are endless.next time. But the best conference experiences pay attention to the little things. Signs telling you where to go, peopleGuerilla Tactics in colorful t-shirts to answer your questions, constantlyRival online CRM systems will attend Dreamforce. They’re refilled water dispensers at the end of trade show aisles,just hanging out on the sidewalks, placing ads on taxi cabs etc. What are the little things you noticed at your lastand doing other creative things to get attendee attention show? What little things generated buzz from attendeeson the fringes of the official event. There’s a fine line, (either live or via the chat boards or Twitter)?Dreamforce Session Recommendations For B2B Sales And Marketing ProsRegistration for specific sessions at next month’s • How Salesforce.com prospects for new leads in social mediaDreamforce conference are now posted, and as usual • Bridging the divide between sales and marketingthe overall schedule chock-full of some great sessions • Boosting your sales team’s success with the challenger salefeaturing best practices, expert speakers and more. • How to create a killer content marketing strategyNavigating the agenda on your own can be dizzying, but Thursday, September 20if you’re a B2B sales or marketing professional, here are • Generating leads with social mediasome of the sessions I most recommend based on the • A productivity-based approach to closing more businesstopic, agenda and/or speakers. • Top tips for improving email marketingIf you’re logged into your Dreamforce account and • Navigating the social world for sales—what tools to use whenAgenda Builder online, clicking on the links below should • The challenger sale: customer paneltake you directly to the description page where you can • Optimizing the lead-to-close processalso reserve your spot in the room. • First impressions count:These sessions fill up fast, so set your agenda early! best practices for enabling inside sales • Five killer reports every sales leader needsTuesday, September 18 • Solution selling is dead: transforming sales and marketing• How to set your social media priorities• Secrets of top-performing Web sites Friday, September 21• Achieving closed-loop marketing Training your company for social media• Best practices for sales territory planning Online marketing for bootstrappers Understanding influencers and building influencer engagementWednesday, September 19• Online video marketing for B2B companies 10
How To Take Notes At A ConferenceCreate A System In Advance Highlight To-Dos And Key Points In Your NoteNo matter how many (or which) of the steps below you For Easy Access Laterincorporate for your next conference, have a system or If you want a quick way to identify action items, follow-game plan in advance. Know what you’re going to do, up notes for your team, and otherwise scan through noteswhat tools and/or software you need, so that when you (either on the plane home or as soon as you get backget there you can focus on the content and use your pre- to the office), mark them with an empty box or star ordetermined system to capture it. something you’ll recognize. Be consistent with whatever you use for note-taking back at the office so it’s fast andCome Prepared With Your Own Tools easy to process.That system you determine to use for yourself likelydoesn’t include those cute, hotel or conference center- Name And Save Files By Topic, Speaker Or Sessionbranded notepads and pencils you’ll find on the table in Designate a folder somewhere on your hard drive (ideallyfront of you. Those are fine for emergencies, but likely somewhere that syncs to the cloud too) to save a full filearen’t your best note-taking tool. of your conference notes, and consider separate notes (i.e. separate Word documents) for each session, topic orUse A Keyboard If Possible speaker. That way you can name the notes in a way that’sIn meetings, I try to use paper and pen to take notes, as faster and easier to find later. This works if you’re takingI don’t want those I’m meeting with to see me with my notes entirely in a cloud-based service like Evernote asnose in my laptop constantly. But at a conference, it’s well.different. I prefer a keyboard to speed up data capture,plus begin my note indexing right away (based on where Dedicate Time To Review And Process Notes Post-Shownotes are captured and saved). I most often use Microsoft The sooner you do this, the better. Do it on the planeWord, but Evernote is a great tool as well for quick note- ride home, or while waiting for the flight, or at minimumtaking stored and accessible in the cloud at all times. schedule time for yourself as soon as you’re back in the office to process action items and immediate next steps.Have Paper Or Tablet Handy For Sketching If you don’t do it quickly, you’ll get sucked back intoI do still have that notepad handy (see this post for how I office life and fire drills and you’ll never do it (and allprocess hand-written notes later), especially for sketching those good ideas and takeaways are more likely to get lostmore visual notes—graphs, sales pipelines, and other forever).things that are more difficult to type. Publish or share your notes with your team (with dueHave Email And Your Social Media Dashboard Open And apologies for format)Ready For Immediate Action Unless you’ve been asked to prepare and publish aThere will likely be ideas, Web sites, referenced articles and formal conference report for broad consumption (i.e. tobooks, etc. you may want to take action on or alert others an executive team or clients), simply make your notesto right away. You may also want to cut-and-paste some available to your team as is. Unless you wrote them in anof your best notes into your social media channels (using entirely different language, I bet they can figure out whatthe conference hashtag, for example). Have your email and your digital chicken scratch was attempting to say.preferred social media dashboard (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck,etc.) open in the background (ideally in offline mode so asnot to distract you with every inbound email from back atthe office). 11
The Dos And Don’ts Of Conference HashtagsMost conferences these days feature a hashtag for both blog post and posting it in the hashtag feed a couple daysattendees and followers from afar to “meet” each other before the event. Great tactic to drive immediate retweetsand share highlights from the event. For both marketers and visibility.and enterprising individuals looking to accelerate theirown networking ROI, conference hashtags also represent Find and meet the high-volume tweeters. Pay attentiona significant opportunity to catalyze your objectives. to those who are most active on the feed, and ask to meet them while you’re both in the same place. High-volumeBut like a lot of things, there’s a right way and a wrong hashtag tweeters are also often among the more influentialway to do it. Below are a handful of best and worst tweeters in that particular industry, association orpractices for your next event. community. Exactly the kind of people you want to know you and your business.DoRetweet and reply to others. Especially during an event, Don’t DoTwitter is about the community. It’s not enough to just Share only links. It’s OK to share a link to a blog postshare your own tweets, ideas and contributions with you’ve written that relates to something just covered at theothers. The more you interact with fellow attendees— event. Just don’t do this exclusively. Others following areply to their ideas, retweet their content, etc.—the more conference hashtag, especially those at the event live, don’tlikely others will follow you, click on your content, and have time to click on and read your blog post. If you wantotherwise engage with you during and after the event. to get noticed and retweeted, limit your message to 140Give attribution where it’s due. If you’re sharing a characters for easy and fast reading.comment from the stage, give credit to the presenter. Use Pitch your product. Not the time or place. It’s blatanttheir own Twitter handle whenever possible. Not a bad and looks a little desperate too. Enough said.way to get the speaker’s attention (and have him/her bothfollow you and retweet your quote). If you make it look Make up a fake persona. You laugh, but I’ve seen it donelike the idea or quote is yours, everyone else at the event more than once. At a Sales 2.0 conference, for example,will know it didn’t come from you. And that’s not a good a services company decided to use a fake persona toway to build credibility. contribute to the hashtag feed impersonating a “sales 1.0” professional. It was annoying, interruptive, and completelyShare statistics. The fastest way to get your hashtagged backfired on the business. Be yourself.tweets to go viral is to quote statistics shared throughoutthe event. Without fail, statistics tend to drive greater pass- Tweet or post pictures from parties. There’s a thin linealong especially among those both following the event between the good party pictures, funny party pictures, andfrom afar, as well as from their secondary followers. dang-I-wish-I-hadn’t-posted-that pictures. Save yourself from having to differentiate by leaving Twitter behindStart watching and posting early. Don’t wait until the once the cocktail parties begin.conference starts to follow and participate in the hashtag.Start watching at least 1–2 weeks beforehand. Volume will Over-promote your upcoming session. I know you’rebe light, but your own posts are most likely to be noticed, excited to be on the panel. And proud that your CEO isand you’re more likely to find people you want to meet going to be on stage. But the eighth tweet reminding usonce you get there. Consider writing a specific pre-event isn’t helping. 12
How To Make The Most Of The Parties And Networking EventsNetworking events are a great opportunity to relax and engaged in conversation, wait until a lull in theenjoy the company of fellow attendees, but they’re also an conversation or until you’ve been invited to introduceimportant opportunity to meet new people, add to your yourself. Respect the room and existing relationships andnetwork, and create new business opportunities. conversations, but be proactive about getting in there and meeting new people. That’s why you’re there!Here are six tips for better engaging and leveraging theseparties in your favor (while at the same time enjoying 4. Remember To Write Down Names, Contextsyourself and having fun!). and Deliverables Over the course of the night, you’ll likely meet a lot of1. Take Plenty Of Business Cards interesting people. But it’s important to remember who(But Don’t Lead With Them) they are, where they’re from, and any context about theAfter-hours parties and networking events aren’t conversation (or things you offered to share with or sendmeant to be all business, but you also don’t want to be them later) for your follow-up. If you get a business card,caught without the means of sharing your basic contact write the context or deliverable on the back. As a back-up,information with someone you meet. Don’t lead with carry a piece of paper or notebook to write down theiryour card, unless the event is explicitly a card-exchange or name, email and what you promised to send their way laterbusiness networking event. But after sharing conversation, (offering to send something also gives you the “cover”if you’re interested in following up afterward, make it easy necessary to write this down without looking too geeky).for the other party to do so. 5. Focus On Them And Ask Good Questions2. Dress Down (A Little) But Remain Professional The easiest way to get people talking is to ask questions.If the networking event is right after the formal meeting What they do, why they’re at the conference, what haveand in the same location, you can assume the same they learned so far, etc. Have a few standard, starterbusiness or business casual attire is fine. But if the party is questions ready and keep watch, in their answers, for thingsat a separate time or location, feel free to dress down a bit. they’re particularly passionate about. The more they talkIf you were wearing slacks with jacket or suit, for example, about themselves, the more memorable you will be forjeans are probably OK. But don’t go crazy. Jeans with your asking (and the most likely you’ll find something based onshirt and jacket (no tie), for example, says dressed-down those interests you can follow up with afterward).but still professional. And you can always lose the jacketif you need to look even more casual, depending on the 6. Don’t Overdo Itevent and surroundings. Nobody makes a good impression at parties by getting drunk. It’s difficult to impossible to execute the above3. Be Polite But Proactive opportunities when you can’t think or speak straight. HaveAs you work the room, make eye contact and say hello to a drink. Or two. Enjoy yourself. Just know your limits, andthose you pass. Introduce yourself proactively and offer a don’t let yourself get in a position you might be regret thehandshake. If you approach a circle of folks already next day. 13
The Most Important Part Of Event MarketingMonths after attending Dreamforce 2011, I had a full There’s no way you can remember everybody, everything.messenger bag yet to be gone through. It sat, unopened. All that money spent by sponsors and exhibitors to getForgotten. Full of collateral, sales sheets, white papers, your attention. And it worked. At least it worked twowho knows what else. months ago.The conference itself was fantastic. Great speakers, great I have a bag full of collateral from I don’t know how manynetworking, many interesting exhibitors. I followed up vendors. A stack of business cards from vendors who toldwith a few I had particular interest in, but quickly forgot me they’d follow up.about the rest as I settled back into my regular routine. All that time, energy and money to engage me at the show.Any of us who attend trade shows or events develop And how many have followed up? Not many. Not enough.temporary Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s impossible toavoid. Hundreds of booths vying for your attention, in The most important part of event marketing happens afterbetween meeting after meeting. Then you hit the party the event. You’ve made your impression. Now, after thecircuit, get a couple hours of sleep, and do it again. dust has settled, make sure you capitalize and convert.Getting The Most Out Of An Awesome Conference(Once You’re Back At The Office)I’m just returning home from an awesome conference. It checkboxes, for example, next to things you specificallywas two-plus days of amazing speakers, great networking, want to add to your to-do list later. Put a different symboland tons of ideas. I have 21 pages of type-written notes, next to ideas you think are great, but know will takefull of ideas. And that doesn’t include hand-written notes additional thinking/planning. In essence, organize youron the back of business cards, other ideas embedded in notes as you take them to make next step capture fasterpresentation decks I’ve received from speakers, etc. and easier later on.The flow of inspiration and ideas at a conference like this On the plane home: You likely want to tackle the backlogcan be overwhelming while still away, but it gets worse of work from the office as soon as the conference is over,when you’re back in the office. Unfortunately, those 21 and on the plane home. Instead, give yourself time to do apages of notes often get relegated to a pile on the side few things on that plane ride (the lack of connectivity andof our desks, or forgotten altogether once we dig into the phone access works in your favor to keep you focused).backlog of emails, re-engage in the daily fire drills, and First, go back through your notes come up with a fewotherwise get overwhelmed by trying those great new ideas highlights or “headlines” you want to share with yourin the midst of the everyday madness that surrounds us. team (or even just for yourself). Think about the 3-6 primary takeaways or themes, and write a short emailTo get the most out of the conference, and maximize with these bullets to your colleagues. This quickly andyour productivity and execution on all those great ideas, immediately share the most important learnings, andyou need a little preparation, a little discipline, some invites your colleagues to inquire to learn more (making itorganizational best practices and two short sharing more likely those ideas will live on after you land). Second,exercises. Here’s what I’m thinking: start going through the rest of your notes in more detail toTake better notes: 21 pages of notes can be intimidating capture specific, immediate to-do’s into your usual to-doas you review them later. Next time, as you take notes list(s), bigger projects worth considering on their own list,during a conference, create a system for yourself that etc. Sorting your notes into something more actionable isidentifies the key ideas you want to review later. Put the only way to ensure you’ll take action, and doing that 14
now (when you’re not yet in the midst of your “usual” lightly organize and publish your notes. Organize them bywork) ensures it gets done while those notes and ideas are the “themes” you identified above if possible, and don’tmost fresh in your mind. overdo it. Don’t worry about editing, complete sentences, or anything like that. The goal here is to make your notesTriage: You will only be able to handle a fraction of more complete and readable, but also something yourthose great ideas right away. And if the rest have to wait colleagues can review and get their own ideas/inspirationa couple weeks to tackle again, you really won’t have lost from as well. Share these notes with others on your teammuch. Be disciplined about what you (and/or your team) for review, schedule a meeting to review together if you’recan tackle now vs. waiting for later. Keep a specific list of so inclined, and consider setting up a repository for notes“someday” projects and plan to review them regularly. from additional conferences, seminars, webinars, etc.Doing this ensures the ideas are part of your regular review Imagine having one place for you and others to read,without feeling like you have to tackle them all right away. remember and gain further inspiration from the past.The last thing you want to do when you return from agreat conference like this is act like a “crazy maker” and Execute: If you’ve identified things to do right away (fromchange everything you and your team is doing. It’s best to small tasks to bigger projects), give yourself a deadline andgive yourself time to adjust back to the office pace, perhaps hold yourself accountable to getting them done. There’sput some of those ideas in perspective, then have a system nothing worse than attending a great conference with tonsfor review of those ideas to pick the right ones up as of ideas, then letting most of them slip once you’re backappropriate. to the regular routine. You invested time and money to challenge the way you think, the way you do things, andPublish your notes: This doesn’t have to be fancy, but what’s needed to accelerate your success. Make sure youtake the time (still on the airplane if you can) to type up, do something about it.Life Is Short, Work With People You EnjoyEric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google and a pioneer Not everyone in the world has this choice. Too many inin the cloud computing world, talked for an hour last the US right now would be happy just to have a job, letweek at Dreamforce. He covered a lot of topics—from alone be picky about who they work with and for. But iftechnology to politics to job growth—but the one piece you’re lucky enough to have that choice, choosing basedof advice that stuck with me the most was when he talked on people and cultural fit is about as important as it gets.about why he chose to go to work at Google. Who are the people you want to go to war with? Who areSchmidt said when he took the job he knew very little the people who share your values and priorities, who youabout Google, but was highly impressed with the people. know will think and make decisions based on principlesAnd that’s what he cared about and wanted the most. He that you share and value as well? Who are the people youthen said (roughly quoting), “I’m old enough now that trust when things get complicated, stressful and difficult?I think I can say this: Life is short, work with people youenjoy.” This goes for your team, boss, partners, investors and customers too. 15
More Information About UsAbout Matt Heinz 8201 164th Ave. NE, Suite 200Matt Heinz is the Founder and President of Heinz Marketing Inc. Matt brings more Redmond WA 98052 Ph. 877.291.0006than 12 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of www.heinzmarketing.comorganizations, vertical industries and company sizes. His career has focused on deliveringmeasurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenuegrowth, product success and customer loyalty.About Heinz MarketingHeinz Marketing is a Seattle marketing agency focused on sales acceleration. HeinzMarketing helps clients achieve sustained sales success by growing revenue from existingcustomers and cost effectively identifying and winning new customers.Contact Heinz MarketingHeinz Marketing Inc.8201 164th Ave NE, Suite 200Redmond, WA email@example.comLearn More About Heinz MarketingInterested in learning more creative ways to make the most of your marketing?:Request your FREE 10-minute brainstorm at www.10minutebrainstorm.comJoin our newsletter:www.heinzmarketinginsights.comCheck out our blog: www.mattonmarketingblog.comFollow Matt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/heinzmarketing