3 Lessons We Learned From Dreamforce 2016

As Dreamforce, the annual conference for Salesforce, quickly approaches we started reflecting on our own time at Dreamforce 2016. If you aren’t familiar with us, Workato is an enterprise-grade, intelligent automation and integration platform created by a group of integration experts.

When we were ready to go to market we knew acquiring users wouldn’t be a walk in the park – people expect that no-code products are simplistic in capability and we had to show everyone that though we were modern and no-code, we were just as powerful as the existing, overly technical traditional solutions. Ever the curious bunch, Salesforce MVPs were among the first to try and embrace Workato, recognizing the clear gap in the market that Workato filled.

Here are the key efforts from our Dreamforce 2016 presence:

  • Silver Sponsor
    • Booth on the floor
  • Sponsor of the Intacct VIP Lounge
    • Booth in the VIP Lounge
  • Sponsor of 3 Parties
    • Workato Oktoberfest Customer Appreciation
    • TaskRay and Workato Party
    • Idealist Nonprofit “Engagement Party”

We learned a lot from our mistakes and our successes and we believe in 100% transparency (in fact, you can read our e-book about how we internally automated the entire business). Here’s what we learned out on the expo floor.

Choosing Swag

Our main goal for the conference was not just to scan as many badges as possible and compile leads of any kind; we wanted to find real, qualified people who were ready to sign up for Workato. This higher intent guided most of our efforts. With that in mind, we chose to print custom Virtual Reality Headsets as our booth swag.

We had heard from others that we should have both primary and secondary swag, but we took a bit of a different approach. We doubled down on the primary swag (VR Headsets) but chose 2 variants: one totally branded headset (higher cost) and one partially-branded headset (lower cost). This way we could maximize the number of primary swag without going over budget.

In order to get this swag, the prospect not only had to be scanned but also had to do one of 3 options:

  • Watch a 2-minute demo
  • Take our 2-minute Integration Dare (Sign up and create an integration recipe in 2 minutes)
  • Take a photo with our booth and post to Social Media

Our lowest swag tier was branded, reusable grocery bags to handout for people to carry their stuff.

Here are some key things to consider if you want to have a successful @Dreamforce booth. #DF17 Click To Tweet

We had a few major findings: 1. We did not have enough booth storage for all of this swag! We ended up using our Salesforce Evangelists hotel room as a storage warehouse and I highly recommend getting a couple of dollies to move your swag from cars/hotel rooms. 2. Having great, unique swag does make a big difference. We were among the only booths who had VR headsets and we were giving them away to anyone who completed one of the 3 asks, not raffling one off.

1. We did not have enough booth storage for all of this swag! We ended up using our Salesforce Evangelists hotel room as a storage warehouse and I highly recommend getting a couple of dollies to move your swag from cars/hotel rooms. 2. Having great, unique swag does make a big difference. We were among the only booths who had VR headsets and we were giving them away to anyone who completed one of the 3 asks, not raffling one off.

2. Having great, unique swag does make a big difference. We were among the only booths who had VR headsets and we were giving them away to anyone who completed one of the 3 asks, not raffling one off.

 

Increasing Traffic to the Booth

Our booth was not front and center on the floor – we were at the back of an aisle and had to get a little creative to draw people over. Here are our findings:

  1. Don’t be afraid to market away from your booth.

We created “Come and get a VR headset” cards which we handed out, outside of the expo. We also put them inside of the branded grocery bags, then put some bags at the end of the coffee tables in the morning and mid-afternoon (with permission of course!). This seemed to work as we did get some quality people early morning and mid-afternoon.

  1. Capitalize on idle prospects.

People are 100% more receptive when they are bored. One of the booths next to us was giving away a Football signed by an ex-NFL player and there was consistently a long line of people waiting for their turn to get an autograph. Regularly, we would go hand cards to people in the line and point out that they could come to our booth right after the football signing to get a VR headset. Double the fun!

  1. Gimmicks never hurt, as long as they are cute!

We’re not just an integration platform, we’re an automation platform! One of our products, Workbot for Slack, is a helpful bot that allows you to use Workato recipes to command your business apps from inside of Slack and he happens to be pretty cute. Sometimes, we sent someone to hand out cards whilst wearing a homemade Workbot mask. It was attention-grabbing to say the least!

  1. Do something no one else can

It’s always easier to grab someone’s interest when you are peddling something no one else can do. Our 2-minute integration dare showcased how we are different from other integration vendors (some of which were in the same aisle as us!). On Workato you can create a meaningful integration between two cloud apps with no code in just 2 minutes – and you could do it right at our booth.

Booth Tactics

We rolled with the changes when it came to booth strategy. The booth staff and our approach changed based on what was happening around us. Let’s break it down by day.

Day 1:
Day 1’s major lesson was: “we need more.” There was a much larger crowd than we were prepared for. We started out with two demo stations, but quickly realized this was not enough, so we increased to 4 stations using our team’s laptops. We also started with only 1 lead scanner, then had to get another one bringing our total to 2 scanners.

The booth process began with bringing people to the booth for the 2-minute dare/demo and scanning their badges. We then asked leading questions like what apps they use (this is very relevant to Workato) and how they are integrated. The answers are added to the lead scanner as notes. Anyone with a specific integration need was labeled a “hot lead.”

As lines waiting to do the 2-minute dare/demo began to build, we tried to keep the conversation going. We had iPads ready to go with a slide deck about us and answers to key questions they might have. A big finding was that people found the iPads distracting and seemed to lose interest the minute we brought them out. We switched to using printed collateral and showing them our book – Transform Your Business with Digital Transformation: Inside Workato’s Kitchen. We found that people weren’t nearly as interested in the small printed cards as they were in the full book.

We had big posters to incentivize people to sign up for Workato during the 2-minute dare. We donated $5 to RED or Girls in Tech for each new sign up. These ended up being less effective than our poster showing our placement in the Forrester Wave Report as a leader. The finding here was that the Dreamforce crowd really is interested in great, vetted solutions.

Day 2:
The morning of Day 2 was much quieter. This allowed us to have really high-quality conversations with the people who did come by. Our tactics from the “Increasing Booth Traffic” section really came into play here.

Our strategy for Day 2 changed a little bit. A number of people wanted the VR headset but were not really interested in the demo/dare. We had said “no” to them on Day 1, but on Day 2 we decided to leverage them for a bit of brand awareness and allowed them to post to their social network for a headset. We gave social media posters the partially branded headset.

Free Pass Day:
We increased the number of people helping at the booth because the free day meant an influx of attendees. The main challenge was filtering out swag hunters who were 100% not interested in automation solutions. We only put out a few VR headsets in the front to convey that there would be a process to go through in order to get it and stuck to the restriction that you watch a demo or do the dare to get one. Swag hunters who did not want to go through the process still seemed to enjoy the branded grocery bags!

Getting the ROI

Tracking is imperative to measure your ROI of a big event like this. We had two special URLs to track new signups (workato.com/df16 and workato.com/wit) which indicated which charity you had chosen to donate to when you took the 2-minute dare. We tagged these users accordingly in Intercom when they signed up from these URLs. We also created a Workato recipe to sync these signups from Intercom with Salesforce. It also signaled to our customer success team to not call these signups during the Dreamforce week. Easy as pie when automation is on your side! Another Workato recipe automated the process of bringing all scanned leads into Dreamforce specific lists in Constant Contact for email follow up.

Want to learn more about Workato? Come party with us at Dreamforce like it’s 1985 or Schedule a one on one meeting (there will be free drones for meeting attendees!). 

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