For our high-growth B2B tech and SaaS solution provider clients, conference speaking, exhibiting, and sponsoring represent crucial PR tactics for thought leadership visibility and business development. Conferences are a good way to set yourself apart in a sector of similarly positioned companies in a given category.
Early-stage companies in particular can build awareness for a new category by having executives speak on panels and keynotes at relevant conferences. They can also build credibility and visibility for their brands by taking a booth. There’s just no doubt about the benefits of the exposure that can be generated by speaking opportunities at major business conferences. The earned visibility can drive brand differentiation, help recruitment, reinforce a leadership positioning, and even influence buyer decisions. See our post on How Speaking Opportunities Support B2B Companies for insights on how much we and our clients value speaking opportunities.
One of my duties as manager of Conferences, Awards, and Employer Branding is to provide guidance on which of the numerous B2B industry conferences are most relevant and worthwhile for a client’s particular PR needs. Here are six key B2B conferences companies should have on their radar for potential attendance, exhibition, or speaking.
B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange (August, Boston)
B2B media outlet Demand Gen Report produces this and the winter B2B Marketing Exchange events annually. Sponsors are a who’s who of big B2B tech brands. Session content revolves around demand-gen, ABM, sales enablement, content strategy, and more. “Representing some of the largest and fastest-growing solution providers in account-based marketing and demand generation, B2BSMX provides attendees the opportunity to meet with experts to tackle challenges such as how to optimize revenue operations and fine tune their go-to-market strategies to adjust to new realities.”
HubSpot INBOUND (September, Boston/Hybrid)
This is HubSpot’s annual event that unites thought leaders from over 161 countries across marketing, sales, customer success, revenue operations, and more. It’s a marquee event with over 20,000 attendees, and it offers earned speaking opportunities for prominent B2B executive thought leaders. Be ready to submit early since the call for speakers takes place in late winter of the calendar year before each conference.
Salesforce Dreamforce (Autumn, San Francisco)
Everyone knows Dreamforce, of course. This is Salesforce’s annual mega event that brings together the global Salesforce community for learning, fun, community building, and philanthropy. It’s the largest B2B tech conference in the U.S. Previous years have hosted more than 170,000 registered attendees from all over the world, across every industry and every line of business. It hosts thought leaders, industry pioneers, and notable luminaries who share their perspectives and expertise.
Forrester B2B Summit North America (May, Austin/Hybrid)
Formerly the SiriusDecisions Summit, now produced by the eminent industry analyst Forrester Research, this premier event for B2B marketing, sales and product leaders sets out to empower their strategies, fuel the revenue engine and drive the business forward. “Explore ground-breaking research, models, and frameworks, designed with your organization’s priorities in mind. Insightful breakouts, hands-on case studies, lasting peer connections, and inspiring keynotes all contribute to preparing you with the actionable advice you need to increase your impact, foster measurable results and surpass goals.”
MarTech Conference (March & September, Virtual)
Third Door Media’s biannual MarTech Conferences used to be in-person on the East and West Coasts. Now a free-to-attend, fully-online experience, MarTech “attracts forward-thinking, senior-level marketers obsessed with driving business transformation and retooling their organizations with marketing technology, and connects them with innovative technology companies sharing their new tools, applications, techniques, strategies and solutions.” For companies that could be described as “vendors,” your innovative tech may not be enough. To win an earned speaking gig, a solutions provider will typically need to co-present with a big brand client.
Content Marketing World & Expo (September, Cleveland)
B2B companies focused on brand and content marketing should have this Content Marketing Institute event on their radar. It attracts 3000 attendees, over 200 speakers, and over 500 brands annually. Brand strategists, CMOs, content marketing coordinators, SEO analysts, and social media managers from big brands like Walmart, Volvo, and Nestle attend to form new partnerships and expand their professional circles.