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Conferences may have fallen off during the pandemic, but to the happiness of many a dealmaker, they're back.
However, dealmaking has changed significantly post-pandemic, with firms adopting new methods and tools to address the changing landscape. To discuss how conference strategies have evolved, SourceScrub brought together four experts from across the industry:
During the webinar, they shared insights on how their firms approach conferences today, ways they use data to select which trade shows to attend, and their top tips for maximizing the ROI of every event. Let's dive in!
Trade shows have been a favorite method of dealmakers for many years. As Mike put it, "There's no substitute for a handshake." The rest of the panel agreed that conferences are far more productive than other means of making connections, with Brandon revealing that conference-related outreach drives Evercap’s highest response rates.
When asked about their specific conference strategies, most panelists shared a two-pronged approach:
However, research shows that while 84% of dealmakers use conference lists and industry guides to source deals, just 44% use data to inform their conference strategies. Fortunately, all four of our panelists went on to explain exactly how they use data to get the most out of these industry events.
According to Mike, "Those with the most data are able to differentiate themselves, identify the best opportunities, and get in front of the earliest clientele." When vetting the events your firm usually attends annually, look retrospectively at past years' lists to gauge each show's continued relevance. Take time to map trends of which businesses attended, how healthy those businesses are, and their recent activity.
Then, find attendee lists for this year and research those companies. Analyze which ones your firm has connections to by integrating your data sources with your CRM. If there are enough matches, the conferences are likely still worth attending. Finally, use those matches to focus more on the companies that you’re most interested in and start reaching out for meetings — the earlier, the better.
To find new conferences, Raya shared that Francisco Partners prioritizes quality over quantity and begins its search by looking at the events that match the specific industries and sub-sectors the firm is focused on. Other panelists agreed with this tactic, and suggested also sorting new conferences based on how many attendees match companies already in your firm’s CRM. They also recommend starting research on new conferences at least six months out.
Regardless of whether you're investigating a new or annually-visited show, ensuring you're prioritizing the right conferences and meeting with the right people is only possible by using the most recent deal sourcing data and technology available.
Throughout the webinar our panelists shared many tips for making each event as successful as possible. We've detailed a few of them below, but make sure to check out the on-demand webinar for yourself for more!
This year is a perfect time to take a hard look at your conference strategy and make some valuable changes. By utilizing data to make stronger decisions, you can spend time more efficiently on your overall trade show program and maximize the ROI of each event. Learn how when you download this guide all about how to give your conference strategy new life.