How to Use Conference Intelligence for Data-Driven Sourcing

Posted in: Conferences, DataFox, finance, growth equity, investment banking, sourcing

Conferences are tangible evidence that a company is investing in its future growth. They suggest a company has built out a robust go-to-market strategy and has the marketing budget to allocate to expensive events.

As a result, firms spend thousands of dollars on conferences to source new company targets. They’re a high-leverage way to meet companies in your focus industries in a short amount of time. However, this approach requires hundreds of hours manually parsing conference lists to determine which companies will be at the conference, and which of those actually meet your investment criteria.

Conference intelligence helps your sourcing team prep for conferences in less time using a more efficient, data-driven conference strategy. Here are three examples of how you can approach conference sourcing more strategically, rather than spending hours filling out the same stagnant spreadsheets every quarter.

1. How can we find more high-growth companies?

One of the best ways to pinpoint a high-growth company is by assessing the volume of conferences a company has attended over a period of time. As mentioned above, conferences are a huge expense - both for the ticket price and preparation time - so companies need to be growing at a pace where they can absorb the costs.

Krux, now acquired by Salesforce, is an excellent example of how conference attendance can be used as a proxy for growth. By referring to the historical news feed for Krux on DataFox, you can see the company attended 6 conferences - including sponsoring its own - between Jan and Oct 2016. On October 3, 2016 Krux was acquired by Salesforce for $700M.

Additional notable milestones over the same period of time include the launch of a new product, entering into 3 different partnerships, and experiencing both headcount growth and user growth.

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2. What conferences should we prioritize attending this year?

Building out a conferences schedule is difficult because of the manual research time it requires. In fact, we’ve seen many firms who decide which conferences to attend based on hearsay (“I heard DataFox is going to SaaStr this year”) or based on which conferences they went to the previous year. These strategies can bias you towards more well-known conferences and away from more niche, industry-specific conferences where you can source companies flying under the radar.

DataFox can help you implement a more comprehensive, data-driven conference strategy by providing intelligence on 3000+ conferences - including the volume of your target companies that will be at each. Start by importing a list of target companies from your CRM into DataFox. From there, you can use our built-in “vlookup” function to discover new conferences that might be worth attending or prioritize potential conferences already on your radar.

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3. How do we figure out which companies we want to meet with at a conference?

We covered how to find out which conferences the companies already on your radar are attending, but what about the companies that you don’t know about yet? When assessing a list of participant companies, narrow down the list to companies that fit your criteria using 40+ filters such as industry, headcount, and capital raised. For example, the below graphic shows the list of 4,500+ Noah Conference attendees filtered to find only SaaS or fintech companies, who have raised less than $20MM in funding, and have 30+ employees.

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From there, set alerts on potential company targets to receive real-time intelligence when they attend other conferences or achieve notable milestones (hire a key executive, open a new office, receive funding, etc).

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Conferences are an effective mechanism for sourcing, but preparing for them doesn’t have to be a painful process. The bulk of your time should be spent setting up high-value meetings, rather than manually filling out spreadsheets. Say goodbye to grunt work, and start sourcing more strategically with DataFox conference intelligence.