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Are Tech Conferences Worth It To a Nascent Enterprise Software Startup?

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Say, you've just finished the MVP or your enterprise software product. No customers yet, but there is interest and a successful pilot. You understand that this is a numbers game and want to find ways to look for direct leads outside of your network. Are there tech conferences in the US that have worked for you in similar circumstances? I've done some research and seems like everything is either educational (your chance to hear some TEDy presentation from top industry folks) or higher level where you'd expect to have a serious booth manned by communications majors.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
-Igor.

6 Replies

Michael Queralt
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Michael Queralt Entrepreneur
President
Your focus should be on getting that first pilot to validate the technology & business model. The conferences may be a good place to network, but will not help you advance on your objective. I would focus on events that your customers attend - industry focusedevents - that can help you open up the right conversations and explore the possibilityfor a pilot on the technology.
Shahab Riazi
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0
Shahab Riazi Advisor
Sr. Manager, Enterprise Services, SAP
Conferences these days provide a lot more information about their agendas, programs, sponsors, booths than they once did. Most decent sized conferences have information on attendees as well. I always advise entrepreneurs to target conferences with attendees and speakers that they want to connect with. Without precise targeting, attending any conference is a gamble with lopsided odds of winning. Know what you want out of the conference you are planning to attend. If you can't pinpoint exactly what you want, then that gathering is not for you.
Brendon Whateley
2
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Founder at Kugadi
If you are looking for leads and sales, then you need to go to where the customers are. If your target is outside of "tech" -- and face, most of the world is -- then you need to go to the conferences that your customers go to. Even if you are focussed on tech, make sure you pick the right conferences! You can leverage your existing leads to find out where their peers hang out.

I see far too many people going to "Startup Events" to look for leads, the reality is that those events may be great for ideas, inspiration, etc, they will not help you acquire customers. (The only exception is if your customers are cash-strappedstartups.) As a founder with a technology background, I find a simple rule serves well -- to find customers, only go to conferences I would not normally want to attend! And when attending the events, it is important to keep your goals in mind -- which I'd suggest being building relationships, NOT selling. People get put off by having people walk up and try to sell them on something, but they love talking about themselves and their problems.

I hope this helps.
Gerry Crispin, sphr
1
0
Gerry Crispin, sphr Entrepreneur
Life-long Student of Recruiting ᴥ CareerXroads.com ᴥ theCandEs.org ᴥ @gerrycrispin ᴥ +gerrycrispin ᴥ 732-432-9172
HRTech Conference in Oct., for example, offers startups a special [low cost] area to engage w delegates. Extremely popular. It's also a useful source of competitive intelligence. Nearly every profession and industry segment offer conferences dedicated to technology solutions or at least with tracks related to emerging technology solutions.
Sachin Agarwal
0
1
Sachin Agarwal Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder, Braid (braidhq.com) - lightweight project and client management built into Gmail and Google Apps
Don't ever pay for a conference. If you feel you have to go, offer to volunteer to get in the door. I've done this for TechCrunch Disrupt, SaaStr, and other conferences.
Viktor Dmytrenko
0
0
Digital Marketing Manager at Ubertesters
I would suggest you the following list for Fall-Winter 2016:
http://blog.ubertesters.com/tech-conferences-calendar-part-2-september-december-2016/
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