CEOs of SaaS companies: Did you attend SaaStr last week? I did, and it was an amazing experience.
I shared my game plan and expectations before the conference, and some things were even better than I anticipated. A few were not ― or simply were different. Here are my takeaways from the conference:
Braindates, sessions that are proposed and hosted by other conference attendees, were excellent. I had one topic approved — European SaaS companies entering the US market — and we had a very good conversation. I got lots of insights and met people I want to stay in touch with.
The following day I attended another Braindate. We were supposed to talk for about a half hour, but the conversation was so fascinating that we stayed an hour longer! And I hope I convinced the host to write a book about what we were discussing.
Note: My other proposed Braindate topic was rejected twice. If you want to host a future Braindate — keep suggesting!
Food Trucks: Get a Seat at a Table
Food truck lines didn’t work out for me at SaaStr. The people near me were never up for a conversation, although I saw other people chatting. However, every single time I sat down at a table, I had an interesting conversation. I met a wide range of people, and even though the chats weren’t long, they were useful.
After-Parties: A Happy Surprise
I met great people at the after-parties! As an introvert, I have often skipped those in the past, but I won’t anymore. Plus, the parties were fun!
Booths: Sales & QR Codes
Pre-conference, I researched the sponsors and identified ones who I thought could use our services. But the booths were mostly staffed by sales and marketing folks. I didn’t see CEOs there, but I can reach out now from a more informed perspective.
As I anticipated, virtually everyone ― from around the world ― connected using LinkedIn QR codes. Only two people gave me business cards. If you don’t know how to do this yet, watch our QR code video.
Pre-Conference Prep: Pay Off
Through LinkedIn, I arranged to meet a highly respected SaaS CEO and thought leader, who has a very dynamic presence on the platform, and interviewed him. Look for his insights in a future blog post!
Logistics: Be Flexible
Hotel: Staying at one of the conference hotels also paid off. There were lots of people there for the conference, and I had some very good conversations. There was no conference shuttle, but sharing Ubers introduced me to more great people.
Work Clothes: I wore flats on the first day but switched to sneakers after that, which was a good call. I saw a few women in high heels, and I have no idea how they managed it. One day I wore a t-shirt with a slogan about what we do (LinkedIn Secrets for SaaS CEOs). Three people came up to me and asked about our services ― a definitive win!
Navigation: The campus was huge, and organization of the event was sometimes confusing. I often had trouble finding the events I wanted to attend, but that meant I sat in on sessions I hadn’t selected (because it would have taken me so long to get to the right session, it would be over). And they were excellent. I was blown away by the session on customer success. The women who spoke were amazing, and I’ll be following them for more insights.
Bottom Line: SaaStr Was Worth the Investment
The conference was a great place to meet prospects. It also gave me the opportunity to meet SaaS people from around the world ― who I know I will stay in touch with ― and to learn more about the industry.
My Personal Lesson Learned: Serendipity rules! My pre-conference prep work paid off on several fronts, but I also benefitted from going off plan and enjoying whatever was happening. Some of the chance encounters turned out to be my best experiences at SaaStr.
What are your takeaways from SaaStr?