The work you do before the conference makes a huge difference in achieving the 3 objectives highlighted in the previous section. Based on our own experience here is a step by step approach that has worked for us and our customers every time we’re setting up meetings with potential customers, investors and partners. So next time you and your team are planning to attend a conference with the objective to generate sales opportunities, meet investors or connect with partners, follow the steps below.
1. identify target markets
2. gather contacts
3. reach out and follow up
4. set up meetings
Step 1: identify targets
The first step is to decide the type of people you want to reach out to, which relates to your buyer persona, so it should not be too hard to figure out. Some points to keep in mind about are size of the company, number of employees, industry, B2B or B2C, etc. With that information, you can start segmenting your target market and organize different customized messages for each.
Once you find groups of ideal companies, the next step is to find the right stakeholders in them that make the decisions. As an example, in our case, we were targeting firstly investors that had a portfolio of companies that are a fit for our product, and C level decision makers in B2B companies that had an internal sales team.
Step 2: gather contacts
Next up on the list is to gather those contacts through different channels allowing you to complete the information on the prospects. To achieve this you can access the list of attendees and their details through a search function provided by the organizer after you’ve bought the tickets. Another option is to visit LinkedIn and look for companies attending the same event and gather data on them.
For WebSummit we mainly used the app to search for prospects and people we wanted to reach out to. Once we came up with a list, we delivered it to our highly trained team to enrich and validate those contacts, so we could have more details and variables on them.
Step 3: reach out and follow up
This is where we showcase our ability to ‘walk the walk’. To aid in our process of reaching potential future customers, we used our own software hubsell campaigns to increase the deliverability and automation of our outreach.
At this stage, most sales departments would use the list of contacts from the conference and send out an email with some static placeholders and generic messaging. However, we wanted to take things further. Not only did we use our software’s if-this-then-that technology to highly customize the email message content with the enriched data on contacts, but we also asked for a quick favor from the recipient while offering something in return.
Our objective was to make the message specific for WebSummit and for the recipients so that they would feel like the content was unique. We also asked for their feedback on our new software which made them feel like their opinion was important (which actually was). Finally, we made sure that we would thank them for their time by paying for a meal or drinks and/or by offering a discount if they joined the first wave of the product launch.
Another avenue relied on reaching out to the same prospects through LinkedIn, which is very powerful in conjunction with cold emails. Our GDPR adherent strategy when doing LinkedIn outreach consisted of first sending connection requests and waiting a couple of days. If they accepted we would send a follow-up message with the main proposition customized for WebSummit. If not, we’d retrieve the request after a few more days, and depending on the companies’ country GDPR laws we’d send them a cold email or not.
Step 4: set up meetings
Finally, after analyzing the metrics and responding to positive replies, we scheduled meetings all along the WS week, in every free slot we had available. This was not hubsell’s first visit to Lisbon and WS, so we knew that a lot of our opportunities would come from this automated outreach through our software.
The next section entails the simple yet easy to miss process of actually meeting prospects and analyzing the potential of a future partnership. A lot of these steps might already be in your own sales funnel, but follow along because there might be some golden nuggets that you can learn from.