The big Dreamforce event did not disappoint those who were prepared with a plan. 1200 sessions? It was amazing. Overwhelming as it can be, if you can somehow focus on what is most important and then add in fun and "nice to do's" at a conference you can survive and even thrive. The most successful attendees set up meetings before, during, and after the event to maximize their travel and their time. Anyone feeling it was not worth their time is not making good use of their time.
From great keynotes (my favorite was Sheryl Sandberg - how about you?) to big name musicians, actors and celebrities to fake celebrities walking around - it's easy for anyone's head to be spinning a bit and slightly hard to determine your next moves. Conferences like DF13 are more like visiting New York City for the first time than a small, focused event.
Now that you have dozens (if not hundreds) of new connections and contacts, you can MAXIMIZE and LEVERAGE the event even more when you return back to your home or office. Note: MOST people don't do this - they put things off, and leads or important contacts get forgotten. What a waste after all the time, effort and money you and your company invested.
Here are some top tips to build on what you've accomplished already by attending and engaging:
As soon as tomorrow, carve out time to get your new contacts into your CRM system - most likely into Salesforce if you were at Dreamforce, but any contact system will do. Categorize or tag each one as DF13 or some other way to know where you met them or picked up their card. Don't wait or you'll miss out on some important notes and ideas.
Spend a couple of hours over the next few days thinking about what was most important for you and your company - who are the key people you need to follow-up with? Reach out to those 3-5 or 10 contacts and get meetings scheduled NOW if you didn't do that at the event. (A good tip is to schedule while face to face - one less thing to do later.)
If you MISSED meeting up with people you planned to meet with, NOW is the time to send them a calendar invite or email to meet virtually. Consider using video in your call, as it will be the next best thing to being there in person.
Hopefully you captured notes in something like Evernote so that you don't need to re-input anything and it works from platform to platform. Make sense of your notes RIGHT AWAY - don't wait because you'll miss important points otherwise.
Get this important information out of your brain and into a safe repository (your brain is NOT one).
Finally, review what went well and what you would do differently. One year I did so much on the first day that I was totally burned out the second day. That's the year I vowed to work a plan and have done that ever since.
Think of the people you met on the escalators - in lines, and at restaurants. NOW is the time to capitalize on those random meetings and turn them into connections - for business partnerships, referral partners, and possibly even customers.
Don't wait - start now!
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.