Dreamforce is the Super Bowl of events for most B2B companies and here at Demandbase, it’s no different. We plan all year for this event and make sure we forecast for it in our quarterly plans. Since Dreamforce was later in Q4 than normal, we had to pull out all the stops in order for our quarter to be healthy from start to finish. In this post, we’ll walk through the steps & tactics we took to blow our goal out of the water!
ALWAYS START WITH DATA
We crunched the numbers and gathered that if we collectively focused on one goal—we’d be able to not only exceed the pipeline opportunity numbers we had made at last year’s Dreamforce, but we could double it! We didn’t know if we could do it, but we all jumped at the idea of the challenge!
There’s nothing like a challenge to garner attention and get everyone excited about a common goal. Sales was eager to crush the goal with us so Marketing got creative with building out programs to support.
CREATE AMAZING PROGRAMS
Party at Temple: This is our flagship event we host along with our B2B friends. Though it is always a big revenue generator for us, this year, it garnered 83% of our SQL2X goal! This was a true Marketing and Sales alignment success story with both teams making a large contribution to the overall registration. Sales truly made this a great success by sending personalized invites to the right accounts and following up with those who had registered. As the cherry on top, we had also built out two VIP sections to host our customers and prospects.
ABM Unleashed Virtual Experience: For any of our target accounts who may have experience Dreamforce FOMO, we carefully curated a content rich virtual experience.It was strategically designed to amplify and go a layer deeper into the Demandbase content delivered at Dreamforce. By the end of the week, attendees received actionable insights from the Demandbase ABM Ecosystem partners Marketo, Drift, Folloze, Sigstr, LeanData, Uberflip, and the ITSMA; as well as Demandbase subject matter experts on a range of topics that empowered their ABM journey.
ABM with Friends: Partner Collaboration: We worked with our partners and sponsored events that were happening around Dreamforce such as HYPERGROWTH and OpsStars. We knew we wanted to capitalize on the flux of people in the area during that time.
GET THE RIGHT TEAM IN PLACE
Nothing above would have been possible without having a solid team in place to build and execute all these activities. On the Marketing team, we had stakeholders from not just events, but customer marketing, field, partner, content, design, webinars—and then some. Attaining the right balance of autonomy and accountability is essential. Providing transparency is also an important factor to fold into the mix. In addition to meetings with individual stakeholders, we had a weekly check in meeting with the team at large. This time wasn’t just used as a round robin but often as working sessions where we brainstormed challenges any particular stakeholder was facing. #WeWinTogether
MARKETING & SALES TEAMWORK
Sales enablement: One of the most important elements of any program and for Dreamforce even more so. From creating reports and tailoring emails to the Sales team into digestible, action-orientated to do’s really allowed us to work cross-functionally in the most effective way.
Brief and quick communication: Rather than just email, using Slack to update and celebrate wins with Sales. Understanding where Sales communicated and in what way made it easier for the Marketing team to provide information where Sales was at.
Prospecting week: is a quarterly event where the entire Sales organization concentrate on booking meetings. For Q4, we timed it so the team would concentrate on activities up for Dreamforce. This resulted in awesome numbers and a lot of fun!
Week of Dreamforce: We made sure to have a game plan created before Dreamforce for all activities happening that week. We wanted to make sure Sales followed up with anyone we met at the booth immediately and in an intentional way.
DIVE INTO THE DATA & CHECK IT FREQUENTLY
At the end of it, the numbers speak for themselves. That’s why tracking your progress is essential for pipeline opportunities as well as registration. These two should go hand in hand.
You can’t have groups of people registering for your events but not see movement in regards to pipeline generation. You need to assess your registration list with a scalpel. Putting on a fabulous event is great, but pretty much rendered useless if you’re not working on getting the right people in the room.
And on the flip side, as great as it is to meet your pipeline goals, if your event registration is low there’s something wrong. A poor attendance rate, especially one that’s at a big show like Dreamforce, does not reflect well on your brand.
ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE GOAL
To conclude—no, we didn’t hit our SQL2X goal, but blew past it! By the Friday morning of Dreamforce, we were at SQL3X! Which leads to the question that anyone who has worked with numbers, even at a basic level might ask—did you set the bar too low? No, we didn’t. The honest truth is the “Super Bowl” effect really did take place. We tapped into something special and then the momentum took over. Much like the Super Bowl brings the whole country together, the common goal brought our entire company together.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT POST-EVENT
So now that we completely exceeded our goal, what’s next? Sleep! We’re taking a minute to reflect on this amazing achievement and taking our team out for a celebratory drink (or two!).
And then we’re getting right back to it. You can’t forget one of the most important parts of event marketing, the post-mortem. We’ll gather the team one last time and take a hard look at how we could have done things better.
Postmortems are hard but the most essential part of your planning cycle. Your future selves will be grateful that you did because before you know it— Dreamforce (or your next event) will be back before you know it!