3 super tips that will make your WebSummit attendance productive for sales
Learn how to build your plan of action to attend large conference events like WebSummit with thousands of participants to achieve more efficient results for your business.
Being one of the largest technology conference events in Europe, WebSummit is an immense meeting place for investors and startups. This year, Onix has attended WebSummit for the first time to understand if such a large-scale event is a good option for the search of potential customers and establishing business relationships with big players on the market.
We’ve come to a conclusion that it’s totally reasonable to be back to WebSummit again not only for the sole purpose of promoting our software development business but specifically for networking and making new and useful business acquaintances that can trigger contracts in the future.
After going to WebSummit, our CSO, Nadiia Uskova is sharing her WebSummit experience and a few practical tips to help make preparation for the next conference more thorough and attendance more productive.
Tip 1. It’s all about great teamwork — set up your team and ready to go
WebSummit is a very large conference event. That’s why if you want to get as much as possible from attending the event, you can’t go alone. A well-prepared team attending the event together with you is something you’ll strongly want to think about. And here’s whom you should consider taking with you, including their roles and duties during the conference.
A CTO, being a company’s frontman, holds the responsibility of meeting with mature startup companies during the conference hours and after the main activities end. The main goal of such meetings is to identify a company’s pain points and problems and see if our businesses go across in some way and can be beneficial to each other.
- Business development manager
Unlike a CTO, a business development manager explores all kinds of startups that are conducting their presentations at stands. What you need to remember is that startups you meet at WebSummit change every day. This circumstance makes it difficult to physically walk around all of them and obtain the information you need. It would take almost the whole day to complete this mission, leaving you no time for anything else. At the same time, you can’t ignore stands because you risk losing a chance to find a potential partner for software development outsourcing.
At a conference like WebSummit, you would meet two types of mature startups. There are startups that are promoting their own product and already have their own team of developers. It means that most probably they are not what you’re looking for, as they won’t need any outsourcing assistance.
But there you can also find startups engaged in offering hardware development or security services. Such startups would show more interest in your offer since they might require help with the integration of their software product with businesses of their customers.
- Sales officer or account manager
The strategy of your sales representative has nothing to do with prior preparations and should focus on speed networking. This means direct engagement with the attendees and speakers of the conference. WebSummit has a mobile app and it becomes the main tool for your sales to perform contact search.
Once you download it, you will be required to introduce yourself and designate your points of interest (e.g., VR/AR, healthcare, etc.). The application will immediately match your profile with the profiles of other attendees that have backgrounds in the fields you are interested in. Through the app, you can contact other people and set up a meeting where you can share some insights on the business you are doing, listen to other people’s achievements and exchange your experience.
The app eliminates the need to hand in your business card since you can immediately add a new person to your list of contacts.
- Lead generator sales officer
A lead generator’s role as a team member is to conduct a market research and create a list of new contacts for a CTO to meet in Lisbon during the event. There is no specific need to take your lead generator to the conference site. They can work and assist your CTO remotely by corresponding and arranging a schedule of meetings.
For a lead generator, it is best to begin preparations several months before the conference. The goal is not only to search for and analyze companies operating locally in Lisbon or around Portugal but to surf through the market finding the big players that are running their businesses not only in Lisbon but other countries as well and connect with them.
Why is this so? The problem is that software outsourcing is not developed in Portugal and locally based companies are not interested in outsourcing because developers’ rates are not high and there is access to the local market of human resources (fresh university graduates) and cooperation with the neighboring Spain and mentality-close Mexico. However, establishing connections with local businesses can serve a good purpose of studying the local market mood swings.
Tip 2. Manage your time — plunge into the nightlife of WebSummit
What is special about WebSummit is that many meetups and related events are held after the main activities of the day end. The nightlife of WebSummit starts around 9 pm, and both the event’s attendees and partners are engaged in organizing those side events for better networking. For example, this year Beta-I, a local incubator that provides assistance to mature startups, conducted its events around midnight.
This makes participation in night activities desirable and somewhat difficult at the same time if you’ve been up on your feet all day long, walking around the site from 8 am to 8 pm. What can you do to be ok and take part in late night meetups? Break your day-time activities into two parts to be active at conference events; otherwise, you risk to burn out easily:
- 9 am to 2 pm — time for active teamwork
- 2 pm to 9 pm — time to rest
- 9 pm to 2 am — time for active teamwork
Again, with a schedule like this it is important you’ve got your team by your side. In the evening you can take your time to share your experiences, discuss results of the day, and correct your plans for the next day. What is most important is that you can share the contact list each of you has collected during the day and use this information at the meetings with other people who already know someone from your contact list.
Tip 3. Know who you will meet at WebSummit
From 59,000 participants of WebSummit, around 80% of attendees have come with the sole purpose of finding a business opportunity to earn money; it’s not about giving away money. Here you will meet companies and startups promoting their products, searching for investors and also outsourcing companies that are looking for potential customers who are willing to outsource their work.
The remaining group of attendees consists of mass media representatives and experts and volunteers who have nothing to do with IT and technology and are working in other areas or are government organizations’ representatives. This group of participants comes to evaluate the grandeur of the event and educate themselves about trends in the world of technology.
Also, WebSummit has made a special emphasis on bringing in female participants and has achieved a 42% female presence at the event. Although this Women in Tech initiative was considered insulting by certain women attendees, still many of them claimed that the low price for the ticket allowed them to save costs on getting to the event and bring in more of their female colleagues to the conference.
The initiative has turned to be successful in attracting the attention of women technologists, so the audience at WebSummit is rather diverse. We’ve also noted how friendly the atmosphere at the conference is. People are open for communication and look to meeting new people, so it is easy to make contacts. And yes, we’ve made quite a number of new contacts too!
And one extra tip. Sightseeing for great team building
After all the hard work during the conference, it is a great idea to leave a couple of days to hang out with your team and possibly some people from your new contact list.
It’s remarkable that there have been more than 1,000 of Ukrainian attendees at WebSummit in 2017. You can take it as a chance to learn more about other Ukrainian companies and go sightseeing in Lisbon together.