Guest Column | March 14, 2018

How Events Can Help Develop New Relationships And Strengthen Existing Ones

A conversation with Paul Sebastien, CMO, Helpshift

bio and pharma conferences

While simple in theory, the strategy surrounding customer conversations is dynamic. Today’s consumers' preferences transform quickly. As a result, companies need quality guidance on how to keep up. That is why Helpshift is hosting RESOLVE 18, an event that will be all about the new customer conversation, March 21 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Helpshift Chief Marketing Officer Paul Sebastien took time recently to speak with Software Business Growth (formerly ISV Insights) about RESOLVE 18, from why the event is necessary to what Helpshift expects to gain from hosting it.

Q: Can you give us a brief history of the event?

Sebastien: RESOLVE was created to bring together leaders in the customer service industry to discuss best practices, current trends, and emerging technologies. The customer service landscape changes quickly, and these kinds of educational opportunities are vital to staying ahead in the market. This event will also feature an exclusive preview of Helpshift’s new AI engine, so the conference has been specifically designed with that in mind.

And while this is our first-year hosting RESOLVE, we’ve held user conferences in previous years which have been narrower in scope in terms of the target audience. Helpshift’s heritage is intertwined with the mobile gaming industry, so prior conferences have focused on the gaming industry more specifically, in terms of content and invitees. This year, given our increased traction into a wider variety of verticals across the enterprise space, Helpshift is significantly expanding its focus and launching new enterprise-class, AI-powered capabilities. The conference will reflect this expansion and our evolution as a true customer service innovation leader.

Q: What does Helpshift expect to gain from hosting RESOLVE 18?

Sebastien: This event serves as an opportunity for existing customers to come together and learn about the state of the industry and all that Helpshift has to offer today. It is also an opportunity to meet other customer service leaders and share the Helpshift platform with prospective customers.

Attendee feedback, existing customer contract renewals, platform and service level upgrades, new customer interest, and, of course, qualitative feedback in the weeks following the conference will help determine if the event was a success.

Q: How does Helpshift allocate internal resources to manage Resolve 18?

Sebastien: We are a startup, so we have an “all hands on deck” mentality when it comes to event planning. Marketing leads the logistics, but sales and success teams are integral for getting the word out.

RESOLVE is Helpshift’s one and only owned event for the year, so it falls into its own category. The marketing team provides educational resources throughout the year, but having that face time with customers and prospects is immensely valuable in its own right.

Q: How will you leverage the momentum and connections made at Resolve to continue growing?

Sebastien: Nurturing relationships that were created and/or enhanced at the conference — starting from the moment it ends — is so important. Of course, we never want to blast everyone with demo request outreach immediately, but we will follow up on a personal level and respond to any outstanding questions and interest in a very timely manner. We also make it a priority to continue to educate the market and build upon learnings from the conference throughout the year.

Q: Why did you choose to unveil Helpshift’s latest AI-powered solution at the event?

Sebastien: We wanted to unveil our new AI capabilities in a live setting, as it is such a momentous launch for us. By offering an exclusive preview to industry leaders, we are hoping to gain immediate interest, traction, and feedback from a sample of the marketplace. The panel discussions and keynote will focus on the state of AI today, and being able to address any questions in real time alongside the product release should set it up for success from the get-go.

Q: What advice do you have for software companies thinking about starting a partner and/or user conference?

Sebastien: Plan ahead and stick to a budget. Especially in San Francisco, there are always tech events coinciding with each other, so making sure you stake your claim (and book a venue) well in advance is paramount.