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 SaaS 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 SaaS 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 27-29
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
For its seventh year, SaaStr Annual is back in person with an open-air, jam-packed, festival-style weekend. For those who can’t attend in person, some sessions will be streamed online, and there will be exclusive online content before festival gates open on the 27th. This year SaaStr is mixing it up with each day featuring a different theme.
Day one will feature the “Masterminds of SaaS” with sessions from top SaaS experts. Day two will be all about the “Legends of SaaS,” featuring CEOs from Calendly, Pagerduty, Datadog, and more. Day three, “Money and Mentors,” won’t be one to miss with more than 500 mentorship sessions in various formats.
Date: September 21-23
Location: Dallas, TX and virtual
Are you looking to jumpstart your direct-to-consumer subscription business? Look no further than SubSummit, a conference that brings you the best subscription practices from leading industry experts. Make connections and get all the information you need to optimize your subscription strategy.
This year will feature sessions from Shopify’s Jamie Levy, EcoCart’s Dane Baker, Eric Chan from Chargebee, and founder and CEO of Zuora, Tien Tzuo. Don’t miss The Cube Awards on the evening of day two, celebrating the best of the subscription industry.
Date: September 27-29
Business of Software’s events give you the opportunity to hear talks and join sessions from some of the brightest world leaders in business. With a focus on growth strategy, product management, and company culture, you won’t want to miss the chance to network with fellow software entrepreneurs.
Business of Software Fall will feature some great talks from Radhika Duff, Matt Wensing, Teresa Torres, and many more. Engage with fellow attendees in coffee line chats, where you can choose the conversations you join by topic. Attendees will also be able to participate in group exercises and topic-focused breakouts.
Date: September 2
A three-hour live event focusing on growth strategies for early-stage SaaS founders, SaaStock APAC is short but packs a punch. Get actionable insights on topics ranging from tech and products to people operations. Connect with founders and VCs while you source business leads and new hires.
This year’s speakers include Krish Subramanian from Chargebee, Anna Gong from Perx, Stacey Epstein from FreshWorks, and many more. Register before August 26th to get a free ticket, access to the live event, and dedicated networking opportunities.
Date: September 23 and November 18
Billed as the largest online product management conference in the world, ProductCon boasts four conferences per year with over 60,000 attendees. The ProductCon team has mastered the virtual event platform. Every conference features presentations, speaker interactions, attendee networking opportunities, and swag from virtual booths.
Get inside advice from the best product leaders out there, like Walt Disney’s former VP of Product, Kimberly Hicks, Spotify’s Director of Product, Flavia Neves, and Amazon’s Head of Product, Neha Monga. Sign up before August 19 to get a free ticket to the September conference and November 1 for the November conference.
Date: September 21-23
The beauty of DreamForce, brought to you by SalesForce, is that it’s for everyone—from new hires to executives and everyone in between. Even better, this year, it’s streaming live on the all-new SalesForce+, and anyone can sign-up to watch it for free from anywhere in the world.
Taking place over three days, the conference will feature industry leaders, demos, and curated content for various roles, industries, and key topics. If you miss anything on the four live broadcast channels, you can catch up later with 100+ hours of on-demand content.
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 11-13
Have you been searching for a SaaS conference to help you scale your company? Look no further than SaaStock EMEA. With talks by Cristina Fonseca from Talkdesk and Cal Henderson from Slack, you’ll get the strategies and ideas you need to take your business to the next level.
Register before August 26 to get a free ticket with access to the live event, networking, and all on-demand content.
Date: October 27-28
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Packing more than 40 sessions into two days, Digital Summit Chicago will feature sessions like Advanced Digital Analytics Strategies and Tactics and Marketing in a Post-Pandemic Society. Pick the brains of top experts and gain valuable insight from DS Masterclasses featuring in-depth content.
Confirmed speakers for 2021 include Jon Youshaei from Instagram, Megan Toth from NBCUniversal, David Shing from Shingy, Jerri Helms from HarperCollins Publishing, and more.
Date: November 2-3
Location: Miami, Florida
If you want to jumpstart your digital marketing goals and get some sun, Digital Summit Miami is the place to do it. You’ll get the chance to meet with industry leaders from top brands and network with fellow attendees.
Here are just some of the confirmed sessions for 2021:
Confirmed speakers this year include Meredith Howard from Deloitte, Cliff Seal from SalesForce, Ty Heath from LinkedIn, and speakers from Shutterstock, McCann New York, Nova Strategies, and more.
Date: November 15-16
Join more than 1000 attendees to hear from over 40 speakers during 35 sessions, all over the course of two days. Digitale Leute believes that successful digital products are created by teams that combine tech, design, and business. You’ll learn how to build better digital products and use SaaS industry leaders’ tools and tactics to develop products.
Speakers will include Anne Templemeier, UX designer at HubSpot, Lucia Terrenghi, Director of UX at Google Travel, and Benedikt Stemmildt, CIO at Blume2000.
Date: November 9-10
Location: San Francisco
SaaS Connect has a little bit of everything for anyone working in the SaaS industry. Whether you’re making, distributing, or investing in cloud software, there’s definitely something at SaaS Connect that will help you take your business to the next level.
Connect with over 400 SaaS leaders, network with peers, and focus on partnerships, all in beautiful San Francisco.
Date: October 6-8
You won’t regret signing up for Ascent Annual. This year’s talks and sessions are focused on helping you succeed in a changing business landscape with a specific theme each day:
Day one: SaaS challenges in 2021
Day two: Growth. Period.
Day three: Scaling outside the box!
Speakers this year include Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite, Rashmi Gopinath, partner at B Capital Group, and Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse.
Date: October 1
Location: Amsterdam and virtual
With the option to go to Amsterdam or meet up online, The Next Web Conference gives you a chance to network and learn online, in-person, or a mixture of both. Hear from the best of the best about how you can optimize mobility, finance, and AI for your SaaS business.
Confirmed speakers include Pasquale Romano, CEO and president of ChargePoint, Laurel Wolfe, Mambu’s VP of Marketing, Mohit Bhende, co-founder and CEO of Karat, and many more. The Next Web Conference offers a range of package plans so you can get tickets for your team or just yourself, with a choice of virtual or in-person events or a mix.
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.
With the slow transition from virtual conferences to in-person throughout 2021, 2022 will see more in-person and hybrid conferences. Here are five of our top picks for early 2022.
Date: January 5-8, 2022
Location: Las Vegas and virtual
Back in-person, but still available virtually, CES 2022 will feature more than 1000 companies exhibiting the latest in innovative technology. Expect keynote speeches from some of the biggest companies out there like T-Mobile, General Motors, and more.
Date: March 11-20, 2022
Location: Austin, Texas
Known for its large-scale festival atmosphere, SXSW is the place for digital creatives of all stripes to learn new ideas and make long-lasting career connections. Themes for the 2022 tech conference include “Discovering the Undiscovered” and “The Evolving Media Landscape.”
Date: April 3-5, 2022
Focusing on start-ups and small companies looking to grow, MicroConf Growth is focused on actionable strategies, growth insights, and their world-famous hallway track. Speakers will include April Dunford, author of Obviously Awesome, Maren Kate, founder and managing partner of Arva Talen Partners, and Sherry Walling, founder of ZenFounder.
Date: April 27-28, 2022
Dublin Tech Summit will feature more than 100 speakers from over 60 countries—so there’ll be a lot to absorb. You’ll learn from leading industry experts how to optimize your business, engage with mentors and peers, and build your brand.
Speakers at DTS21 Virtual included Ian Tien, CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, Douglas Terrier, Chief Technologist at NASA, and Chris Slowe, CTO of Reddit, so keep an eye out for the equally impressive 2022 line-up.
Date: Spring 2022
Location: Marina Del Rey, CA and virtual
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, case studies from SaaS leaders, alongside learning more about 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
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