EONE BLOG

Tech Conferences and COVID-19


Our attendance at tech conferences drives around 70% of company revenue. It is impossible to quantify that number, but it is a rough guide I have used for many years. That revenue does not always come in the next three months, six months or even 12 months. It is the cumulative effect of everything that goes into a conference, along with repeat attendances, that puts the number so high. This includes:

  • Breakout Sessions: At eOne, we love to share our knowledge and volunteer to present learning sessions. Through this process we get to speak to hundreds of people who know us – even though we may not have met in person.
  • Partner Catchups: Meeting new partners and spending time with our reselling partners is perhaps the most important part of the event. These partners go on to sell our products for many years into the future.
  • Expo: We meet and talk to so many people during the expo. We use this time to give one-on-one three minute demos and repeat this hundreds of times. This is never deep enough to close the deal but enough to get customers excited and ready for a follow up after the event. My favorite part is when an excited customer (often as a result of a breakout session) brings (drags) a partner along to the booth who would not have stopped otherwise. This will lead to not just a single sale but also a long-term reselling partner.
  • After Hours: Dinners, Bars, Coffee Shops, Buffet Lunches, Corridor chance meetings and every little interaction all add up to ensure you get to meet people perhaps three or four times during an event. Those multiple encounters are an important part of building relationships and selling software. We always work on the “at least 7 interactions” principal – which it often takes to build the credibility required.
  • The Team: An often-ignored part of the conference experience is seeing the eOne team work together. Along with our sales team, we also bring developers and support staff who all work together to tell the story of our software. Working very long days together and then having a beer together – all while meeting thousands of customers that rely on and love our software every day is energizing for the whole team.

Despite all the benefits a conference brings to us as a company, we are going to have to find a new way to achieve this in 2020. With COVID-19 remaining prevalent (still 20,000 new cases every day as I write), eOne will not be attending or sponsoring events this year. I have thought long and hard about this decision, but I am comfortable with the conclusion I’ve reached.


Why?


The main factor behind the decision is that I prioritize the health and safety of our team and their families above our sales targets. All the things I mentioned above do not fall into any social distancing guidelines. Packed breakout sessions, meetups with partners, a busy expo, crowded bars and restaurants are all places we should be avoiding.

As CEO, I am also not prepared to ask anyone on my team to attend a large conference. I am sure many of them would say ‘yes’ because that is their commitment to the team and company. I do not want to be responsible for asking my team to attend an event where there is an increased likelihood of contracting COVID-19.

CEOs must also have a real concern about legal exposure that comes with sending people on a work event during the COVID-19 pandemic. While unlikely, exposing the team to the virus unnecessarily could result in lawsuits that could cripple a company. I am not prepared to risk that, and I suspect many other CEOs will come to the same conclusion.

I am excited about getting back in the swing of tech conferences at some point in 2021, but for the remainder of 2020 we will be sitting out.


What’s Our Plan for 2020?


What we will be doing is redirecting our conference energy into many other activities:

  • We are doubling down on our partner focused activities and working very closely with all our resellers to ensure they are inspiring their customers with eOne product. Let us help you with marketing or with honing your demo. We are also wanting your feedback on our products so that we can continue to improve all our offerings. Contact us here.
  • We are focusing on education of both customers and partners through online training. This has already proven to be successful with the online training we provided in March, April and May. We will continue to add training opportunities and improve our remote delivery. Check out our bootcamp schedule here.
  • Expand our office hours experience. This is very similar to what we would normally do at our expo booth – but now you can do it every week and you don’t have to wait for a conference. Jump into our office hours and have a chat with an expert. Ask them anything.

If you are an eOne customer or partner who we will miss this conference season and you have any feedback for me, my line is always open. I would be very happy to talk with you.

If you have anymore questions for us, please email us at sales@eonesolutions.com

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