Conferences are a valuable part of the SaaS industry. They serve as opportunities for professionals to grow their knowledge, their networks and their companies. Hundreds of thousands of professionals travel across the country and across the world to realize those opportunities each year.
At least they did until most air travel was grounded and local lockdowns were implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With non-essential travel and large gatherings no longer safe during the spring of 2020, conference planners had to scramble, delay or even cancel their events.
If you had planned to attend a SaaS conference this year, this is the resource you need. Here’s how conference planners have adapted to pandemic conditions, and what you can now expect from their 2020 conferences.
How SaaS Conference Planners Adapted
Event planners have been scrambling to save their investments, deposits and ticket sales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a few options available for conference planners and attendees, though.
One immediate reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic was to go virtual. Conferences that couldn’t reschedule events (or didn’t want to compete with their fall conferences) quickly adjusted their programming to connect with attendees through a few days of video calls and presentations.
SaaStock, for example, added new programming and launched tickets for SaaStockRemote, which took place June 10–11. That conference doubled as a fundraiser: Organizers pledged to donate 2.5 percent of the gross profit to WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Instead of making the choice to go virtual on their own, some conferences put the power in the hands of attendees.
For example, the Cloud Software Association was one of the most proactive conferences to track the spread of COVID-19 and its potential impact on the conference. Organizers of its conference, SaaS Connect, sent out a survey on March 1 asking attendees how they felt about a mid-April conference. Almost half (46 percent) said they were reconsidering or canceling their travel plans.
Organizers also asked participants whether they would rather attend a virtual conference in April or reschedule the in-person one. With this data, Cloud Software Association CEO Sunir Shah decided to reschedule SaaS Connect to October 5–6, 2020.
Conferences That Were Rescheduled, Cancelled or Moved Online
Many spring and summer conferences in 2020 were moved to the fall. Below is a list of our top SaaS choices and their changes.
Bill Detwiler at ZDNet also has a regularly updated list of tech conferences that have been canceled or moved because of COVID-19.
SaaS Connect: Rescheduled to October 5–6, 2020
Original dates: April 15-16
Where: San Francisco
SaaS Connect from the Cloud Software Association is the conference for SaaS partnership leaders. Whatever your connection to the cloud, whether you run a SaaS company, deliver API services or are a distributor or reseller, SaaS Connect is a must-attend.
This conference is particularly important for us, as Epic Presence will be sponsoring the event for the first time, and we’re proud of that.
MicroConf: Rescheduled to November 15–17, 2020
Original dates: April 19–23
If you’ve bootstrapped your business from day one, then MicroConf is the SaaS conference for you. It is the biggest conference in the world for non-venture-backed startups.
This Growth edition of the conference is for established entrepreneurs who already have successful businesses and are looking to expand further.
There’s also an extended community and Slack channel, which can be accessed long after the event finishes.
Recurring Revenue Conference: Postponed Until April 2021
Original dates: April 28–29
Where: Marina del Rey, California
The Recurring Revenue Conference is a two-day event for SaaS companies and subscription businesses. This conference brings more than 700 business leaders together to discuss ways to grow revenue through subscription models. Focus topics include customer retention, utilizing analytical insights and reaching customers in unique ways.
SubSummit: Rescheduled to November 4–6, 2020
Original dates: May 27–29
SubSummit is one of the largest conferences for the subscription industry. As this event is open to any business with a subscription model, you’ll have the opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders in the SaaS space and beyond.
This year promises to have more than 100 leaders delivering talks and leading discussions that cover every part of the business model, from trends and marketing to positive impact and profitability.
Call to Action: Rescheduled to May 18-20, 2021
Original dates: September 29 – October 1
Need help scaling your marketing efforts? Call to Action is the conference for you. As it is organized by conversion optimization experts Unbounce, there are no bought or sponsored talks.
That means you get one hard-hitting, action-packed keynote after another from industry leaders at the top of their game. Attend next year and you’ll be able to hear ex-Moz and SparkToro founder Rand Fishkin, Copyhacker’s Joanna Wiebe and Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner.
Business of Software: Moved Online
When: September 21–23
Business of Software is another software-focused conference that’s ideal for your leadership team to attend. Over the course of three days, you’ll learn and network with some of the brightest minds in the industry. It’s not just code that’s covered. You’ll hear talks and discussions on a broad range of topics from marketing to mental health.
SaaStock: Several Events Affected
SaaStock had planned a variety of events for 2020, and many of those have been postponed or rescheduled due to the pandemic. Here are the new dates:
- SaaStock Latin American will take place September 1 online.
- SaaStock’s big conference in Dublin is still scheduled for October 12–14, but it will take place online.
- SaaStock APAC will take place November 24 online.
- SaaStock North America has been postponed until June 2021 and is scheduled to take place in San Francisco.
Conferences Going Ahead As Scheduled
The following SaaS conferences have not been moved or canceled yet. However, as the pandemic plays out, there may be changes to their programming.
When: September 3–4
Where: San Francisco
If you have a SaaS business that you need help taking to the next level, look no further than SaaStr Scale. This two-day event is packed to the brim with lectures, mentoring sessions and workshops aimed at helping your business to scale.
When: September 14–18
Where: San Francisco
While TechCrunch Disrupt is not solely focused on SaaS, it features three days of presentations on the future of disruptive technologies. With more than 10,000 attendees, the scale of this conference itself is worth it for SaaS companies and experts.
Web Summit / SaaS Monster
When: November 2–5
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Web Summit offers another opportunity for North American SaaS executives to visit Europe for several days of world-class talks and networking opportunities. As an all-encompassing conference, Web Summit is able to land the speakers. In 2019, for instance, speakers included Edward Snowden; Wikipedia CEO Katherine Maher; and Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon.
SaaS Monster is a specific part of the Web Summit Conference, with content aimed exclusively at SaaS businesses. If you buy a ticket for Web Summit, you automatically get access to all of the content on offer at SaaS Monster.
This will include talks from some of the biggest business leaders from around the world covering four main content streams: the cloud, big data, enterprise technology and enterprise security.
QCon San Francisco
When: November 16–18
Where: San Francisco
QCon is an annual software engineering-focused conference. Bringing together software developers together from around the world, this is an excellent conference to send your development team to.
They’ll have the chance to learn the very latest industry trends and best practices, discover new tools and technologies, gain new ideas for your business, and network with their peers.
Following this year’s event, there will be two additional days of workshops to help attendees put what they’ve learned into action and dive even deeper into specific areas of software development.
When: December 11–14
Recur is a niche conference for SaaS companies that have a recurring-revenue business model. It runs over four days and has more than 200 executive attendees. The main conference lasts one day but is followed by an invite-only leaders summit. This brings together the top minds from more than 16 countries to consider customer behavior and technology.
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