We like to jokingly refer to conferences as “shaking hands and kissing babies”. I don’t like to think we’re anything like politicians, but somewhat like a politician, we do have an image to uphold, a brand to display and an impression to leave … so to conferences we go!
While not new to the tech space, TekDog Inc. is new to the government space and quickly learning which conferences are needed to attend so that CivicXpress, a land management solution that manages Planning, Permitting, Inspections and Code Enforcement, receives the most exposure from the people who need it most, such as City Planners, Planning Directors and Chief Building Officials. From our experience, it appears that the American Planning Association (APA) is that magic conference.
What defines a successful American Planning Association conference?
If the only thing you do is set-up your booth and run away, that’s a start! When your land management solution is BRAND NEW, it’s always good to get your logo out there. You can do that best by securing a booth with lots of foot traffic. Although we were at the back of the vendor space, we were front and center each time anyone grabbed a drink at the welcome reception and throughout the event. The goal is that people start to recognize your logo, know your name and have a clear understanding of what it is that you do and sell. You want your competitors to start seeing your logo and name pop up everywhere, almost like a shadow…mmmmwwwahahahaha!
Leads, lots of leads.
Whether meeting a lead while on the same hunt to find the women’s restroom or in the middle of a casual conversation about what’s for dinner (NYC has the best food!), sales leads could be found everywhere at this conference. It seems everyone knows everyone else. That’s good, right? However, what is a true lead? A sales lead is defined as an individual that shows interest and provides contact information. We had many customers request an “on-the-spot” demo. They were THAT interested in learning more about CivicXpress! We also ended up with many business cards and contacts that have led to several scheduled demos. No closed sales yet, but we’re confident that will happen soon!
Making the most of a sticky situation
We didn’t have the biggest booth in the vendor space, but we did have a rather LARGE banner. So, when we arrived with our 10-foot banner to find that our booth was mistakenly built only 8 feet wide, you can bet that we had to work some magic to get that banner, we dragged throughout the airport, in its place!We also took full advantage of the provided computer monitor in our booth to show off the main features of our land management solution, especially the electronic plan review. Even from across the room, people could view how to complete a permit application, request a building inspection and add comments and markups to a plan document. We also made sure we received our “15-minutes of APA fame”. Jason took to the Tech Zone dressed in his CivicXpress polo to speak loudly about the perils of the Planning Department and how they can use modern technology, like CivicXpress, and mobile devices to automate their plan review process and leverage digital markups, commenting, and stamping to improve collaboration between Planning and Development partners.
Making friends with your neighbor
Yes, in some cases, we’re fighting for the same customer, but then again, we ARE fighting for the same customer. That means our neighbor could have some insight into what features City Planners and Directors of Planning and Zoning are looking for in a land management solution, how they beat the RFP process, what pricing structure works for them, etc. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn from other’s experiences and make buddies with people you’ll be sure to see at future conferences! Plus, who knows, maybe you can even work together to form the perfect alliance?
I’m certain we marked every box and can call this a successful conference! We look forward to next year’s National Planning Conference which is in New Orleans April 21-24. If you want to learn more about the American Planning Association (APA), check out their website – https://www.planning.org/
If you’re in the market for a land management solution, check out CivicXpress. Contact us for a demo today – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-682-3331.