6 Top Tips For Getting More From SaaStr Annual 2019

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It’s time for the largest gathering of B2B software companies in the world. On February 5-7 2019 in the San Jose Convention Center – 12,500+ SaaS executives, founders and VCs come together for SaaStr Annual. Are you ready?

What’s on at SaaStr 2019?

  • 3+ days of 200+ sessions from the best people in SaaS
  • 100+ of the best sponsors in the world
  • 250+ VCs
  • 300+ speakers from the best SaaS companies
  • 1000+ mentoring sessions, AMAs and braindates

With so much going on, how do you make the most of your opportunity? Here are our top tips for planning to get more from SaaStr 2019.

Know Who You Want To Talk To

Spend some time researching who is exhibiting at the conference and where their pitches are.

Select the businesses, or people, you really want to engage with and map a logical route around the San Jose Convention Center to see them. Remember – this is a 3 day event, so consider planning like this for each day.

Figure out what your goals are for the event.

  • Customers: Are you looking to meet new potential customers?
  • Vendors: Are you there to meet a vendor you’ve been working closely with recently
  • Partnerships: Do you want to find a partner who can help you achieve your goals?
  • VCs: Do you want to meet VCs that could finance your growth?
  • Talent: Are you looking to hire your latest talent?

Knowing exactly what it is you want will save you from wasting time in meetings that don’t hold much value for you or your company. Maintaining focus is key.

Know What You Want To Learn

Plan the sessions you want to watch and learn from. For example, if you want ideas on how to implement customer feedback to build a product that users love and will spend money on – consider attending SurveyMonkey’s CMO Leela Srinivasan’s talk on February 5 at 3:30pm.

Perhaps you’re interested in learning how you can transition from B2C to B2B as Pluralsight’s Co-Founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard will discuss.

Research the topics that each speaker is presenting about and attend those that will truly benefit your business and experience of the exhibition.

Schedule Meetings & Optimize Networking

Reach out to the exhibitors and speakers you want to engage with and schedule a time to meet with them. This way you avoid getting lost amongst the exhibitor pitches and “waiting your turn” to be seen at the busier vendors.

Like all industry events, SaaStr is a great opportunity to network and becomes the opportunity for you to be the face, or physical presence of your business – but be selective on who you spend your time with. Networking with pushy sales teams who’s product doesn’t help you will waste everyones time in the long run. Your time must be spent on productive conversations.

You Must Take Breaks

Whether you’re a seasoned SaaS CEO or a new start-up founder, exhibitions like SaaStr give great opportunities to learn from the best in the industry.

You’ll undoubtably be making full use of speaker sessions and training events during your time at the conference. However, it’s important to take breaks. As well as scheduling meetings – block out time for you to metaphorically (or literally) charge your batteries.

Take time to recap what you have soaked in and follow up on any discussion points or promises you’ve had in your meetings. Check your list to make sure you’ve spoken to those who will benefit your business and fill any remaining time with meetings or demos of products that interest you.

As mentioned earlier – maintaining your focus is key to getting the most out of SaaStr, but any spare time could be filled with talking to exhibitors that have interested you as you walked around the convention hall.

Have Fun

Business opportunities are still available when the conference doors close for the day. Schedule dinner meetings in the evenings or invite those who you’ve had great conversations with to explore the local area at night or meet for breakfast in the morning. More often than not, seeing this less formal but still professional side of business is beneficial to all parties, as relationships and rapport develop during these instances.

The Follow Up

Think about the follow up during the event. How do you usually capture leads and where are they stored? Organize yourself now in terms of how you plan to capture data at SaaStr to save the headache later on.

Again, focus your time and effort on those who will benefit the growth of your company. Only invest your best time on leads you wish to develop a relationship with. It would be a wise idea to identify your goals for each business or person you plan to follow up on. Doing this will prioritize and focus your time on valuable connections.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark suggests putting your leads or connections into three buckets:

Miscellaneous interesting people
These are contacts who you have found interesting but your businesses do not overlap. However, they may prove to be helpful in the future if you need advise on the industry which they are in. The follow up strategy shouldn’t go much further than an invite on LinkedIn – where at least they will see updates from you and vice versa.

A specific reason to follow up
This is for anyone who mentioned specific business opportunities. Follow up with this list in a timely fashion – usually within a week after the event. This strategy is to remind them of your conversation and to request/arrange a follow up call.

Building a deeper relationship
Often at conferences you’ll meet people who you’d like to build a long term connection with. Their business or role may be important to you and the relationship needs to go further than a one time encounter at an event.

Inviting them to industry meet-ups, future events or think tanks will help nourish that connection if they are local – but making time in your diary to visit them if you’re in their town will be helpful if they are based further away.

Conclusion

The most important thing to consider when attending any event is planning – even more so at an event as large as SaaStr 2019. Our advice is to be meticulous. Plan your route around the conference hall. Plan who you spend your time with and plan what you want to learn from the event. Putting a plan together is vital to getting the most out of industry events.

Do you have any other tips we could add to our list for SaaS founders and CEOs attending this event? Please leave your comments below – we’d love to hear and include your input.


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