Expected to grow by nearly $100 billion over the next five years, the SaaS (software as a service) industry is firmly making its presence felt in markets across the world. With the shifts towards remote working caused by the Covid pandemic, more and more businesses are looking for innovative, cost-effective solutions to improve their efficiencies and stay one step ahead of the competition.
For these reasons, SaaS conferences deserve a lot of attention right now. In such a niche—and still relatively new —industry, any opportunity that tech professionals have to further their learning could have vital importance to a company’s future.
Below, we’ll look at the reasons why SaaS conferences are worth it, together with getting prepared for your own attendance, plus our top 10 must-attend festivals for the remainder of 2021.
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With some fantastic content already out there, plus software solutions such as video chatting making it easier than ever to grow your own knowledge, some might judge conferences to be on the decline. However, as we’ll demonstrate below, they still offer opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere.
You simply can’t beat networking on a face-to-face level. Conferences bring people together from all around the world, including niche experts you wouldn’t normally get the chance to converse with at all.
For example, accelerate agency offers a range of SEO specializations including content marketing that’s primed to those working in the SaaS industry. Anyone can tap into the wide range of content we offer on our site—such as this article on tried-and-tested SaaS marketing strategies—but we still prefer to use the human approach wherever possible.
Live Saas events and conferences grant us the opportunity for us to meet fellow marketers, to get to know other people, and for other people to get to know us.
At any event, there’ll be hundreds or thousands of fellow professionals from the SaaS community available for roundtable discussions, and it only takes one spark to form meaningful connections and open the doors to new opportunities.
We all go to conferences eager to learn new things, but there’s more to it than just using them as potential knowledge centers.
Hearing about the successes and/or failures of like-minded firms can show you where you’re going right, and where improvements need to be made.
For example, you may be making waves with your latest SaaS product but don’t have the knowledge to promote it. At the best Saas conferences, you can come across other firms to help you fill in the gaps. accelerate doesn’t just offer one-size-fits-all SEO like most companies you’ll come across—we actually specialize in content marketing for the SaaS industry and have a host of case studies to demonstrate our expertise —so meeting companies like us at a conference will help you and your team pick up actionable ideas and to stay across the latest trends in the sector.
Not all SaaS conferences are equal. When you’re looking into events that could be relevant to your own business, make sure to check the speaker list.
If CEOs and SaaS founders of hugely successful companies are giving up their time to talk at a conference, they’ll likely have something worthwhile to share. Such events can allow you to tap into knowledge from those who are normally too busy to share it. Or, if you’re strapped for time you can always use read a handy ebook to fill any possible gaps.
All business leaders need to budget, and here’s where research comes in. We’ll look at the best ways to choose the right SaaS conferences for your business towards the end of this article. But in short, it’s definitely worth your time and money if you maximize the chance of getting a good return on your investment.
Look at the needs of your own business and match these to the expected content of this season’s events. Are there companies present that can provide a stepping stone to your own success?
For instance, accelerate agency doesn’t just provide knowledgeable SaaS content marketing for businesses—as an all-round SEO agency we can get you coverage in some leading places including HubSpot, Freshdesk and BigCommerce.
Furthermore, you should consider the other bonuses that can be gained from your attendance. Can a particular business of software (BOS) conference showcase your own firm to the right people? Is there more to be gained by attending than missing out?
There are literally hundreds of annual conferences to choose from around the world, from SXSW to MozCon, all promising the kind of value that can be found within our own content marketing case study for RingCentral, a leading SaaS company.
So where to start? Well, below you’ll find our top 10 SaaS conferences for late 2021. Note that some of these conferences have gone strictly virtual given the limitations enforced by the global pandemic. But don’t let that put you off.
Date: September 21–23
We’ll begin with an online three-day event that’s also one of the biggest. The conference is open to more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and aims to spread some of the knowledge found within Silicon Valley—home to some of the world’s biggest technology giants, with Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Apple all having offices there.
TechCrunch focuses on providing SaaS industry insights to growing a tech business, and methods of marketing that are proven to be successful. This year’s event includes the likes of Adrian Aoun, Founder and CEO of Forward, Nina Achadjian, Partner at Index Ventures, and Brian Armstrong, Co-Founder and CEO of Coinbase.
Date: July 26–28
Location: New York
Another virtual event, Product-Led is aimed at SaaS business leaders and focuses on how to form product-led growth strategies that deliver results.
You’ll have access to award-winning strategies, route maps, and presentations on the best SaaS tools to grow your business, from proven specialists within their field. Some of the themes covered include managing business performance, customer retention and marketing pioneering software.
With over 250 product-led experts speaking at this event, it’s definitely one to consider for those managing a SaaS business. Keynote speakers include Sam Richard, Director of Growth at OpenView, Andrea Wang, Senior Growth Product Manager at Amplitude, and Andrew Capland, Head of Growth at Postscript.
Date: September 7–10
Location: Boston & online
Inbound is being jointly held as a physical summit in Boston and is also available online. Its remit is wider than most, offering insights regarding fresh approaches to SaaS marketing from startup owners and business leaders within the sphere of product management.
Inbound is an arena for the big-hitters, with insights from the likes of Brian Halligan, Founder and CEO of HubSpot, Kaitlin Bellay, Head of Channel Marketing for LinkedIn, and Tim Stokely, Founder and CEO for OnlyFans. With over 70,000 attendees expected, Inbound is a networking opportunity par excellence, and a chance to hear from some truly household names.
Date: September 13–15
Location: San Diego
Presenting tested, proven tactics is the philosophy behind San Diego’s Traffic & Conversion Summit. It’s one of the biggest events in the US and one of the best sources for digital marketing worldwide. As a platform for sharing real-life marketing experiences, the summit is all about action and results, as opposed to concepts and theories.
Speakers for the summit are currently to-be-confirmed, but past events have seen insights from Donald Miller, CEO of StoryBrand, Jennifer Hudye, Founder & CEO of Conscious Copy & Co, and none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, Former Terminator. With a mixture of talks from industry experts and celebrities, the Traffic & Conversion Summit always promises something that little bit different.
Date: September 29–30
Austin, Texas brings together one of North America’s biggest gatherings of SaaS insiders, and while it’s looking like this one may be moving to 2022 due to the pandemic, it’s definitely worth trying to get there, whenever it happens. It’s more than a series of speakers, boasting workshops and encouraging collaboration throughout. You’ll find a lot of focus on tactical information, from product experts and those with success in marketing, sales or even data science.
Speakers are to-be-confirmed at present, but expect some big names at what promises to be a big event. And make sure to take your chatty-hat with you too—alongside the usual networking there’s plenty in place to encourage socializing, from food and drink to an evening poker tournament.
And while we’re on the subject of tactics, everyone knows that creating great content is a must when it comes to promoting your SaaS business. But that’s where a lot of people’s knowledge fails. To achieve true success you need an expert plan, from a company with the tech knowledge to match your own. Check out our guide on how to develop a content marketing strategy for your SaaS company here.
Date: October 12
Over 700 business leaders are set to attend the Returning Revenue conference, one of the few to tackle the subscription economy. The trend began in 2007 but has seen a steady rise in popularity, alongside the growth in online shopping and the hard times felt on high streets around the world.
You can hear overviews on running a successful subscription-only business, to case studies from SaaS leaders, alongside concepts such as increasing customer lifetime value and new ways to source annual recurring revenue (ARR). Speakers are to be confirmed, but any founders of subs-based firms should keep this conference in mind.
Date: November 19–20
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Billed as the world’s leading startup event, this is a must-attend conference for entrepreneurs. Slush aims to showcase methods of navigating through the various challenges found by startups in the current environment. Past events have seen over 25,000 attendees, and more than 2,000 investors are set to be in Helsinki this year.
Speakers include April Underwood, Founding Partner of Angels, John Collison, Co-Founder and President of Stripe, and Meltem Demirors, Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares.
Date: November 18–19
Mind the Product is another virtual conference. It’s one of the biggest and best product-led events worldwide, with a focus on forming successful product development strategies, with inside tips from those who know. You’ll hear expert tips from product designers, tech experts and ideas people.
Founders of SaaS startups can learn a thing or two here to enable them to take their business to the next level. If you’re interested in attending, grab your place as these have a habit of being booked up quickly.
If you’re on the brink of forming a SaaS startup but haven’t quite gotten there yet, it can still be worth your while attending the likes of the Mind the Product Conference. In the meantime, check out our guide to forming product ideas and examples for startup companies, including video editing software—there’s no time like the present to get started on something new!
Date: November 1–4
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Forbes’ magazine rates WebSummit to be one of the world’s best conferences for those working in SaaS technology, and they’re not alone. This one-time Dublin tech summit shifted to Portugal in 2016 and has also received high-praise from the likes of the New York Times and POLITICO.
WebSummit is a coming together of experts and celebrities under a general overview of ‘What next?’. Amid an ever-changing world and the ‘new normal’ caused by Covid conditions, where should the industry go from here?
Speakers for the 2021 event are currently to be confirmed, but last year’s WebSummit saw Serena Williams, José Mourinho, Kevin Hart, and Malala Yousafzai take to the stage.
Date: November 18
ProductCon is the largest product management conference of its kind in the world, and over 150,000 product-related professionals are set to attend in 2021. This virtual conference from the San Francisco-based firm aims to inspire business leaders from startups to large enterprises to change the way they think about creating new products as well as sowing the seeds of new industry relationships.
ProductCon has some serious industry heavyweights speaking this year. Learn from the likes of Neha Monga, Head of Product at Amazon, Minal Mehta, Head of Product at YouTube, and Nikhyl Singhal, VP of Product at Facebook.
Begin by making a list of what you’re hoping to achieve from attending a conference. For example, if you’re looking to learn more about a particular aspect of content marketing, such as excellently-optimized SaaS landing pages, focus on the events that showcase expertise in that field.
Research the background of the various speakers. These days, you don’t need to hire a private detective—the world of marketing is full of expert stalkers who can find pretty much anyone via the likes of LinkedIn or Facebook.
Checking the size of an event is also an indicator of quality—look at the number of people who’ve signed up. This is an important factor when considering whether a particular conference is worth the time and money—you don’t want to turn up and find there’s no one there to network with.
It goes without saying that a good smile and cheery persona can work wonders when it comes to networking. A good dress sense can also open the doors to new conversations and business friendships, and often the best-dressed people are the most-interesting to be found in a room.
If you’re planning to be an exhibitor at a physical event, then make sure you’re offering a premium customer experience. Aim to hit the fine line between professionalism and friendliness. Make sure any slogans you use are short enough to be absorbed at a glance. Your mission is to draw people in, and once you’ve done that you can really turn on the marketing charm.
Consider giving away some brand-related free gifts to those you meet. Everyone will likely do the same, so choose these wisely. You’ll want something that sums up your brand identity, and at the same time shows you have a friendly personality. And make sure you have a unique selling point (USP).
For example, accelerate agency is just one of thousands of digital marketing agencies operating worldwide, but few can match our content marketing offering. We’ve years of experience in working with tech companies and can offer the kind of dedicated SaaS SEO strategies that are proven to work within a highly-specialized sector.
View any conference that you attend as merely a step on a longer journey. There’s no point in gathering together a great list of new contacts if all these potential relationships remain professionally unconsummated. Treat them as hot leads and be sure to follow-up any conversations within a few days.
If you are enjoying this post why not book a consultation with accelerate agency to see how we can help skyrocket your SaaS business