How we maximized our exposure at Europe’s premier tech startup event
Set a Goal
Whether it is raising awareness, networking, getting as many leads as possible, or making actual sales, to running a successful event requires to have a measurable objective and set yourself a target.
For us it was a combination of awareness and leads, and we were keen to get product feedback from those involved with Sales and Marketing as well as sell to those who appreciate what we’ve created.
Pre-emptive networking email
As one of our goals at TechCrunch was to meet as many people and have as many conversations about our product as possible, we needed to start with a great introduction. To help with this, I decided to send an email prior to the event to all the other exhibitors I wanted to talk to. TechCrunch wouldn’t give me this list privately, but they did tell me when they would release it (5 days before the event) and where I could find it on their website.
It took me about an hour to pull contact details from the exhibitors website but it was well worth it. I specifically selected companies that were focused on Business-to-Business sales and marketing, as these are the ideal users of SalesSeek. I received lots of emails back with people keen to meet and also some companies wanting a demo at the event.
I also learned more about those attending and it allowed me an easy lead in (oh, you’re the guy who emailed me!). Everybody was glad to chat and I was surprised so few others didn’t do the same thing. It allowed us to stand out.
Broadcasting your content across social media while at the event is a great way to further your exposure and extend your reach by picking up some new followers. We posted seven tweets over the course of the weekend and picked up 20 new followers on twitter (a 20% increase!)
Great start to Disrupt London. Looking forward to see the awesome battlefield competitors #TCDisrupt pic.twitter.com/MlVuBjfxwL
— SalesSeek (@SalesSeek) October 20, 2014
We only exhibited on the second day of Disrupt London, but we found the first day to be very valuable by walking around and chatting to companies without having to worry about who was covering the stand. In terms of networking it was perhaps even better, because rather than having to talk to everybody (including recruiters, students etc) we could pick and choose specific exhibitors to fit our customer demographic.
Manage Your Stand
I’ve done events and trade shows in the USA, NZ, Australia and the UK, and what I’ve learned is it’s about getting the basics right. Be professional, well rested, show up on time, have a clear message to hook users into a conversation before qualifying and articulating the other benefits of your product to their needs. Take regular breaks (have a schedule), drink lots of water, don’t eat at the stand.
Business cards are great but it’s more important to gather the details of those you talk to rather than giving them yours. It’s important to have a good system for noting not just the name and contact details, but also a sentence or two that jogs your memory and allows you to follow up with some context after the event. Try and avoid writing on the backs of cards as in some cultures this would be considered highly offensive (the card is seen as a literal extension of that person). And in places like London and New York, you can guarantee every culture will be present. A CRM like SalesSeek is perfect to track on-going activity laid out in a clear chronological order.
Don’t be afraid to politely move people on if they are not what you are looking for (in terms of your goal). Simply ask them for their contact details and let them know you’ll follow up after the show.
After the event it is important to send an email to each of the people you met and exchanged details with. We sent everybody a quick ‘thanks for saying Hi’ note and let them know we’ll continue to keep them updated on SalesSeek as we progress. We then include them in one of our monthly update lists in SalesSeek, allows us to communicate regularly and track the success of TechCrunch contacts through our marketing dashboard. This allows us to monitor how the return of one event compared with another, as well as events as a source of leads compared to other channels such as social, or web.