2 weeks ago, Nick & I spent 3 days meeting with 30+ prospects and customers at Dreamforce 2023.
Those 3 days were filled with back-to-back meetings, intense conversations, & a few too many sprints from one happy hour to the next. The main motivator? We knew that 20% of the interactions could lead to creating 80% more business for us. This could be the biggest opportunity to grow 30MPC all year! Locking in was the only choice.
On the flight home, I went through my notes and put together my biggest actionable takeaways from the event.
Here’s what we learned selling together in the field:
Before the conference:
1. Pre-set 10+ meetings
Preparation is key. In a crowded event with many salespeople vying for attention, pre-setting meetings can give you a competitive edge, increasing the likelihood of engaging in meaningful conversations that can help accelerate a deal cycle or create a net new opportunity.
2. Build a floor-hunting list for the biggest happy hours
Target the prime opportunities. Figure out which events have the most target customers. Do this by looking at the speaker line-up or sponsors. Prepare by putting a calendar invite on your phone that tells you exactly who you need to look out for at the event.
3. Use conferences to multithread
It's so much easier for a CXO to agree to a drop-in when you're face-to-face, in the same venue. Know who you want to get access to on all your existing opportunities. Either reach out to them directly or ask your champion to see if they can let you drop in for 15 minutes at X event.
At the event:
1. Don't eat or drink at happy hours. Protect your body.
Guard your energy and stay sharp. By the second day of Dreamforce, we were talking to folks who clearly looked like they had a bit too much to drink the day before. Grab a water and stay focused on engaging in conversation.
2. A minute spent talking to a teammate is a minute not spent talking to a customer.
Every moment counts. Rather than chatting with colleagues about the latest office drama - stay focused on customer interactions. Would you rather spend hours cold-calling bad numbers or walking up to prospects right in front of you? (There's only 1 right answer)
3. Make your champions feel like superheroes and they'll multithread for you.
In-person events are an amazing opportunity to help your champion shine. Offer sincere compliments and be specific about why they've been great to work with. If you help your champion look good in front of their boss, chances are, they'll reciprocate!
In the meetings:
1. Be 30 minutes early. Plan for double wind resistance.
Punctuality Matters. Being early is not just a courtesy; it's a strategy. Leave the previous event early or cut that lunch break in half. You never know what roadblocks you will run into in a live setting. Circumvent them by giving yourself room to prepare.
2. End your meetings 5 minutes early with the CXO
If you have a meeting with a CXO, give them the gift of time back to their day and they will truly appreciate it. Don't try and squeeze everything out of them (like most folks do). Get the core info you need and go. Set yourself up to be someone they want to meet with again.
3. Keep exec-level discovery at the priority level. Leave solutions for the following meeting.
Stay Focused on discovery. Alignment is the name of the game. Make sure you truly understand how you can help the executive achieve their goals. Allow yourself time to strategize the best solutions, only once you understand their true core needs.
Get in the arena. If you want to stand around, talk to your friends, and eat free appetizers - stay home and prospect instead.
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