The SaaStr Annual Conference 2018 in San Francisco

SaaStr Annual Conference 2018
 

06 December 2017

Jon Davies / Business Development Manager / North America

The SaaStr Annual Conference is coming again this February and once again promises to be an incredible conference full of incredibly valuable content.

But the real motivation behind the event is actually all about the attendees and the SaaS community getting intimate - attracting all the right people together to one spot for a set and focused amount of time. For New Zealand businesses, it presents an opportunity like no other to make connections that will help you today and five years from now.

Leveraging that networking opportunity, and preparing for it, should be your primary focus.

The breakdown

According to the Founder of SaaStr, Jason Lemkin, this year’s conference gathered around 10,000 SaaS professionals in one space and took place across 3 full and varied days. The average company brings 2.3 total attendees, e.g., a CEO + a VP of Sales and a VP of Customer Success, and because of this, the conference is broken up a lot around different functional areas and interests, including evening events and parties. This is all by design, to make sure attendees get to meet great people in general, and especially their peers in the SaaS ecosystem.

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SaaStr networking Pro Tips (and rules to live by)

I’m not natural networker. In fact, I find it mentally exhausting at times. But I do like to connect people together and if you don’t put yourself out there at events like this, you will be missing out on some amazing opportunities to learn and to grow both personally and within your business. Here are the top 5 tips from networking SaaStr and other events:

1. Lean in and put yourself out there. Many New Zealanders scoff at the American boldness to business and networking. But pay attention and take notes. You will get out-networked. The competition is quality and it requires hustle from you to compete, especially if you want to connect with very successful people.

2. Be authentically you. Don’t be a selling cyborg. Just talk about what you are doing and what may be hard for you. You will never be in the same space as so many people who can help shift the needle for you personally or your business in the US (well until next year at least).What business objectives are you struggling with? e.g. Churn? Conversion? Are you looking to make a strategic hire this person may be able to help you secure?

3. Try out and test your pitches to people you meet and ask for feedback. No better opportunity exists to test your story with empathetic and incredibly smart ears.

4. Don’t be a time waster. Don’t try to connect just to connect. Assume that people here are busy. Making a good impression being mindful of time via being direct in conversations is a great approach at SaaStr. Don’t dance around the subject. Just ask for help or advice in the specific areas you’re aware of.

5. Don’t be just a taker. Avoid rambling off the reasons why your product or service is going to disrupt the world. Instead, ask if there is anything you can do to help their business. This unselfish approach will leave an impression that guarantees they will want to follow up with you after the conference.