What’s it like on the other side of the booth? As Corey Mendelsohn (our President), Dennis Daoust (our customer co-presenting with us) and I boarded the flight to Indianapolis for the SAP BizOne conference I found myself asking this question. I’d been to many tech shows, but always as the customer/consumer, walking the exhibitor halls, attending breakout sessions- never as the vendor, let alone one of the event sponsors. As a member of the NewIntelligence team, this would be a new experience for me. I looked forward to being part of the framework of the conference rather than simply an attendee.
Arriving Sunday evening, amongst the chaos that was the exhibitor hall being set up, I could see a row of identically sized vendor/sponsor booths down the right side. Each had its own colours and graphics. But ours, right in the center, with its blue sky and white clouds on all sides and giant “N” across the center stood out from all of them. Our agonizing over the small details proved worthwhile. An hour later, the room was miraculously ready and the welcome cocktail began. Half the booths were unmanned, but we were up and running, with our show promo flyers out and new 30 second “explainer video” looping on the wall behind us. Not many attendees were on the floor just yet, just drinks and some chit chat and then things wrapped up for the evening.
Monday was show time and began early (breakfast at 7:15, keynotes to begin at 8 am). Corey and I were able to split up to cover more ground. While Corey attended various keynote presentations, I manned the booth where there was a steady flow of traffic, questions, and what felt like a genuine interest in our featured product: SAP B1 QuickStart Reporting and Dashboarding Solution. We used the conference phone app to easily scan in each inquirer and capture their contact info. By midday we were prepping for the Demo Theater where Corey would deliver a very tight 20-minute demo of QuickStart in the exhibitor hall. While the demo went smooth as silk, the combination of scheduling all demos during lunch time with the ensuing noise in the very full room nearby left us feeling that this was probably the only show element that was disappointing. Nevertheless we had a number of people attend, each trying hard to focus, and I scanned them all in with the app.
After lunch, again we split our time, Corey attending a few breakouts, either to learn the latest on what is going on at SAP or to see what other exhibitors were up to. Our booth was a steady flow of discussions and lead captures/scans. By 2 pm on Day 1, the number of contact scans we had already surpassed our expectations that we had for the entire 2-day show. That warranted a high five on the spot. By end of the day, we had many more conversations, promoting our Tuesday presentation (on Track 5: Business Analytics) where Dennis of Arani Lighting would share a customer’s experience with a NewIntelligence QuickStart installation. The reactions were unanimously positive and interest level high with many saying they would surely attend.
That evening we attended a social “meet and greet” at a restaurant/bar/game room. Despite the place being packed and loud, we managed to get in some greeting and meeting. We chatted with some Montrealers, also in the SAP B1 space, and have since met with them and discussed collaboration possibilities.
Day 2 began like Day 1, later this time, keynotes beginning around 9am (allowing for those who may have enjoyed an extra beer or two the night before) and Corey and I splitting duties again, then manning the booth until it was time for our presentation.
While Corey and Dennis had spent many hours coordinating slides, videos, and their own tightly timed deliveries, the reality was that if anything “tech” were to go sideways it would throw a wrench into the 40-minute stint. I scanned in several dozen attendees, many of whom I recognized from chatting at our booth, and then got a little panicky when Corey began and his mic did not work. The BizOne tech guy swapped it out for another and from there, all went smooth for both Corey and Dennis. They did an excellent job and conveyed not only that our QuickStart was a great reporting solution for this SAP B1 audience, but that NewIntelligence, per Dennis’ endorsements, was the right partner to take any firm’s reporting and dashboarding to the next level.
The afternoon we spent back at our booth but with a notable difference. Several who had visited earlier or attended the demo theater or our presentation wanted to see MORE, right there on the spot. So, down came the looping video, and prospects gathered around the screen as Corey gave several private demos of QuickStart right there on the showroom floor. One prospect walked in, having seen only a snippet of what the solution could do about an hour earlier, stating “if it does what you said it could do, then it is too good to be true!” By end of the private demo, he smiled and all he could ask was “HOW MUCH?”
We walked away from the conference with a very satisfying number of new contact scans in our app, close to triple the amount we were originally expecting.
So, for me, working the other side of the booth for the first time was a pleasant success.
But for Corey, who has been on that side for some 25+ years, when asked how he felt the show went from a vendor’s perspective, his reply was surprising even to me: “Best show I have ever been a part of “.
I think I can say we’ll be back to BizONE in 2020.