October 9th, 2014 | by

Next week is salesforce.com’s big tradeshow Dreamforce. Attending a large show like this offers a ton of opportunities to see new technology, see some old colleagues and enjoy some super entertainment (Bruno Mars!). If you are one of the 135,000 people headed to Dreamforce next week, I would like to offer you a plan for how to get the most out of this fantastic gathering of sales, marketers and executives from across industries.

Dreamforce is quick – only four days – so getting the most out of your time there requires some pre-planning. There is still time today and Friday to get a bit of pre-show planning in and make sure that your time there is maximized, and fruitful.

Today (and Friday):

  1. Prepare for the show by gaining an understanding of who is going, which companies use SFDC and develop a list of companies you’d like to meet with at the show. Pull their contact information from your own data or from a sales-intelligence tool like DiscoverOrg’s. Using DiscoverOrg’s company profiles look for contacts whose responsibilities (or job titles) indicate that they might have interest in your solution and put them on your list.
  2. Have a look at the Triggers for actionable intelligence at each of your target companies. Take some notes so that your outreach to each company will include information relevant to current executive moves, projects or initiatives at those companies.
  3. Use the contacts’ direct dial numbers or direct email addresses to reach out with clear, concise, and targeted messages – something like, “I see that your company will be at Dreamforce next week. If you are attending, I would love to arrange a brief meeting to discuss how we can help you with your data center initiative, etc.” Make your message relevant to them and you will give them a reason to want to meet with you – remember they also want to make the best use of their time at Dreamforce – if you have something to offer that answers a current need, you are more likely to get a meeting.
  4. Remember that tech purchases are increasingly made by the departments using the technology – particularly Marketing. Many of these marketing decision makers will be at Dreamforce so make sure that you go prepared to talk to them, too. Leverage contacts in the new DiscoverOrg marketing dataset to identify the Marketing department decision makers you want to have conversations with while at Dreamforce.

Monday-Thursday (at the Show):

  1. Speak to booth visitors with a qualifying question in mind – such as, “Does your company use cloud storage?” – using this approach enables you to sort between the pen hunters and the attendees who might have real interest in your solution. Have a follow-up question in mind that pertains to your offering and will even more tightly target the right people with which you should spend your time.
  2. People have come to rely on trade show badges to exchange information at shows, so make sure that you scan badges to ensure that your contacts are in the stream for post-show follow-ups. But in addition, make sure to take notes from conversations you have in the booth or anywhere you go at the show – at sessions, cocktail parties, etc. Being prepared to capture these important conversations will position you to make the first move post-show with decision makers who have come to the show to examine possible solutions.
  3. Come visit us at Booth #N1038! DiscoverOrg will be demonstrating some great advancements including a new version of our Salesforce Native App and showing how good data can help to pick the right fish out the crowded barrel at a trade show (and pick up a sweet fish treat). Or better yet, schedule a meeting with us at the show – so that we can prepare intelligence just for you!

Friday (After the Show):

  1. Input your show contacts into DiscoverOrg using Paste & Go or Marketo Webhooks for DiscoverOrg which will map your contacts from the show to our data so that your trade show leads are complete with accurate direct-dial numbers and email addresses.
  2. Leverage your contacts from the show. Using DiscoverOrg’s Org Charts, identify other contacts within their departments who are better matches to receive communication about the solution you are offering or who are responsible for upcoming projects. As you follow up with your contact, copy their colleague to double the likelihood of response. Communication to the effect of, “I spoke with Matthew at Dreamforce, and I understand that you are responsible for evaluating security solutions” will leverage your show connection, and put you in front of the correct contact at the same time.
  3. Strike while the iron is hot. You will return from Dreamforce excited about the prospects you met, and they are also charged up and ready to take action following the show. Most vendors do not follow up on trade show leads in a timely manner (if at all). If you dedicate the couple of days post-show to follow up, you will get in front of prospect ahead of other vendors and make the most of the open opportunities you identified.
  4. Set up Triggers within DiscoverOrg so that when your show prospects open a new project or have executive moves you can use those as opportunities to nurture the  leads and continue conversations

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About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.