Conferences · Enterprise software

Are Tech Conferences Worth It To a Nascent Enterprise Software Startup?


August 25th, 2016

Say, you've just finished the MVP or your enterprise software product. No customers yet, but there is interest and a successful pilot. You understand that this is a numbers game and want to find ways to look for direct leads outside of your network. Are there tech conferences in the US that have worked for you in similar circumstances? I've done some research and seems like everything is either educational (your chance to hear some TEDy presentation from top industry folks) or higher level where you'd expect to have a serious booth manned by communications majors.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Brendon Whateley Founder at Kugadi

August 26th, 2016

If you are looking for leads and sales, then you need to go to where the customers are. If your target is outside of "tech" -- and face, most of the world is -- then you need to go to the conferences that your customers go to. Even if you are focussed on tech, make sure you pick the right conferences! You can leverage your existing leads to find out where their peers hang out.

I see far too many people going to "Startup Events" to look for leads, the reality is that those events may be great for ideas, inspiration, etc, they will not help you acquire customers. (The only exception is if your customers are cash-strapped startups.) As a founder with a technology background, I find a simple rule serves well -- to find customers, only go to conferences I would not normally want to attend! And when attending the events, it is important to keep your goals in mind -- which I'd suggest being building relationships, NOT selling. People get put off by having people walk up and try to sell them on something, but they love talking about themselves and their problems.

I hope this helps.


Last updated on March 2nd, 2017


I agree to almost everyone here and I am with them in discouraging you from going to tradeshows for business. Think of it this way almost every company present there is to sell and acquire new customers and build a brand nameand not there to find a vendor . So when you go and sell to them in a trade show most cases its a direct clash. I will not say it does not work at all . It has worked for me ocasionally . I will say may be 1 in 20 shows I go to , I get a lead but not worth the time. Go to trade show to get the feel and pulse, get market intelligence of the companies you want to sell to and not for direct business

Gerry sphr Life-long Student of Recruiting ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ @gerrycrispin ᴥ +gerrycrispin ᴥ 732-432-9172

August 28th, 2016

HRTech Conference in Oct., for example, offers startups a special [low cost] area to engage w delegates. Extremely popular. It's also a useful source of competitive intelligence. Nearly every profession and industry segment offer conferences dedicated to technology solutions or at least with tracks related to emerging technology solutions.

Rogue Startup

March 2nd, 2017

I have had limited success doing sales at most trade shows as the decision maker is generally not there. I use trade shows largely for intel -- scope the competition, learn about markets, analyze industry trends.

Viktor Dmytrenko Digital Marketing Manager at Ubertesters

September 12th, 2016

I would suggest you the following list for Fall-Winter 2016:

Michael Queralt President

August 25th, 2016

Your focus should be on getting that first pilot to validate the technology & business model. The conferences may be a good place to network, but will not help you advance on your objective. I would focus on events that your customers attend - industry focused events - that can help you open up the right conversations and explore the possibility for a pilot on the technology.

Shahab Riazi Sr. Manager, Enterprise Services, SAP

August 25th, 2016

Conferences these days provide a lot more information about their agendas, programs, sponsors, booths than they once did. Most decent sized conferences have information on attendees as well. I always advise entrepreneurs to target conferences with attendees and speakers that they want to connect with. Without precise targeting, attending any conference is a gamble with lopsided odds of winning. Know what you want out of the conference you are planning to attend. If you can't pinpoint exactly what you want, then that gathering is not for you. 


March 3rd, 2017

Personally, in the Tech industry, I don't think the trade show would help a company at your stage. IMO, you'd do better if you used a source such as Hoovers (there are many more) to target your "named customer," e.g., CTO or Director of Marketing, etc., via mail, email, or phone call(s).

You'd do better by giving a talk, organizing a panel discussion, or organizing a track for the conference. That way you'd start establishing yourself as the expert. And your marketing team can get additional mileage from your involvement, particularly if you are giving a talk.

All in all, in my experience, a good, well-informed, and helpful blog that addresses your customers' challenges is the best way of generating qualified leads for a startup.

Sachin Agarwal Founder, Braid ( - lightweight project and client management built into Gmail and Google Apps

August 29th, 2016

Don't ever pay for a conference.  If you feel you have to go, offer to volunteer to get in the door.  I've done this for TechCrunch Disrupt, SaaStr, and other conferences.