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Episode 98 / April 22, 2024

Transforming conferences through AI and event tech with 6sense’s Angela Sadighian

In this episode, 6sense’s Angela Sadighian discusses the pivotal role of AI and strategic metrics in scaling corporate events and enhancing attendee experiences.

Grab a coffee or hit the open road to listen to Senior ABX Manager of Corporate Events at 6sense Angela Sadighian share her extensive experience and strategic approach to corporate event planning. Sadighian discusses her journey from organizing weddings to orchestrating large-scale corporate events, emphasizing the importance of integrating AI technology to enhance attendee engagement and optimize event outcomes. 

With a focus on 6sense’s annual user conference, Breakthrough, Sadighian outlines how strategic planning, audience targeting, and innovative tech integration have led to substantial growth in attendance and engagement.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in this conversation:

  • How integrating AI and predictive analytics can transform event engagement and operational efficiency
  • The key metrics organizers should track to measure ROI, including pipeline influence and attendee engagement
  • How to create “wow” moments through thoughtful venue choices, personalized interactions, and technology like the Klik SmartBadge™ 

Mentioned in this episode


[00:00:09] Rachel Moore: Welcome to Event Experience by Bizzabo, the podcast where we bring the best and brightest Event Experience Leaders together to share stories, tips, and lessons learned from creating some of the world’s biggest events.

I’m Rachel Moore, your podcast host. 

When we design an experience that stimulates all five senses, one could say we’ve developed a sixth sense for event success. Today we’re talking with Angela Sadighian, Senior ABX Manager of Corporate Events at 6sense, and she’s about to walk us through a veritable playbook for event goals, metrics, and creating those wow moments we all strive for. Prepare for all the sensations in this episode of Event Experience!

[00:01:04] Rachel Moore: Our guest today on the podcast has risen up through the ranks of the event industry, from booking weddings and social events to managing events for Topo and Gartner. Plus, she has a smattering of HR and employee communications in her background, which is always a benefit. Today, she is the Senior ABX Manager of Corporate Events for 6sense.

[00:01:23] Angela Sadighian, I’m happy to welcome you to the Event Experience Podcast. 

[00:01:28] Angela Sadighian: Wonderful. Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here today. 

[00:01:32] Rachel Moore: Excited to have you. And I, as always give a super high level overview of people’s backgrounds. We have guests on. You obviously are in the thick of what you do every day and have a way better perspective on what it’s like to be the senior ABX manager for corporate events for 6sense.

[00:01:49] Could you tell us and expand a little bit more on what your day to day world is like in that role? 

[00:01:54] Angela Sadighian: So I sit here on the marketing team on the ABX team. My focus is events. Primarily our large proprietary events. The biggest one being a Breakthrough, our annual user conference.

[00:02:07] What’s pretty great is 6sense is actually a tool used for sales and marketing teams. 6sense is an account engagement platform that helps B2B revenue teams fully align to increase pipeline, improve conversion, and reduce go to market waste.

[00:02:22] The best part of the tool is it is designed for marketing and sales teams, which I love being on the marketing team myself. So we help marketing teams identify who to target, what to say, and then most importantly when to say it, and then we help our sales teams predict where buyers are in that buying journey to then target the most important accounts to reach out to the 6sense really does help the entire revenue team operating competence.

[00:02:48] And being on the marketing team, myself, like I said, it is a great tool to have at our disposal. 

[00:02:53] Rachel Moore: We’re going to get to know you a little bit with some questions about you. What are your go to event day shoes for when you have to be in action? 

[00:03:02] Angela Sadighian: I bring multiple shoes. I think the key to avoiding those blisters are a different pair for each day.

[00:03:08] So in my rotation, I always have a pair of Nikes. With a teal swoosh, of course, and then Allbirds. And then I think what also saves me is I stash the fluffiest pair of slippers I can find. So after the event each night in my hotel room, my feet can get that relaxation they desperately need. 

[00:03:26] Rachel Moore: I think you may be the first guest who’s brought up slippers for the hotel room.

[00:03:31] And of course, that’s the best idea ever, because A, it’s sanitary. But B, it’s like, I’m just to be honest, like I wear slippers every morning until I put my shoes on that are just the comfiest. I feel like I’m walking on clouds, but that is some good therapy for those feet after that whole day. Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:47] Angela Sadighian: Oh, absolutely. 

[00:03:48] Rachel Moore: Absolutely. What are you listening to watching or reading these days that you cannot put down and it does not have to be event related? 

[00:03:54] Angela Sadighian: My husband and I have recently gotten into the Americans. It’s a spy type show from FX. We live here in the Washington DC area and recently took our 14 month old son to the spy museum.

[00:04:08] It was so cool. Very, very fun experience. And that kind of got us thinking we wanted to learn more about spies and that just topic is very fun. So that’s kind of my, my non event industry. Can’t put down, can’t stop watching is the Americans. 

[00:04:24] Rachel Moore: I think this might be the first time I heard that there’s a spy museum.

[00:04:27] So I’m going to check both of those things out. The Americans and the fact that there’s a spy museum in Washington, D. C. That’s awesome. Is there a particular social post or a piece of media or even a hot take about events that you found interesting lately? 

Integrating AI in event planning

[00:04:40] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, I am fascinated with seeing how the event industry is embracing and incorporating AI.

[00:04:46] I mean, here at 6sense, we do use AI and predictive analytics. To help teams see who’s in the buying cycle, when to reach out AI is so integrated into our company’s DNA that I love seeing it in the event industry. We’re seeing it more and more. I know for an upcoming event in May, we’re using a company called AI sketchbots.

[00:05:07] And they, you snap a picture on an iPad and a robot draws your portrait, which again, what a wow moment. What an Instagrammable moment, right? Something that is really going to drive that FOMO factor and get attendees excited. Hopefully something that, you know, many of them haven’t seen before. So I think it’s just very cool to see.

[00:05:27] The ways in which AI can be used to add to that attendee experience and build out those wow moments. 

[00:05:34] Rachel Moore: Absolutely. And I know you’re not alone. I think a lot of brands that people are event professionals are designing for are just like, how do we figure this in and how do we use it to our advantage, but also not just from a practical standpoint, but you’re also using it for, for creating, like you said, that consistent wow feeling. So that’s awesome.

[00:05:50] So this is a perfect, perfect marriage of podcast and guest. And so I’m super excited to dig into this with you.

[00:05:56] And for a lot of our podcast episodes, we will with a guest, zero in on one particular event, because we want to go into like what started this, what are the goals and all those things. Can you talk to us about what event are we going to zero in on with you today and kind of why it’s worthy of being zeroed in upon?

[00:06:15] Angela Sadighian: I am so excited to talk about Breakthrough. Breakthrough is our annual user conference. And more specifically, I’m excited to share how we’ve tripled attendees over the past three years. We have just seen incredible growth over the past few years with Breakthrough and have just seen this event take off.

[00:06:32] Rachel Moore: Oh my gosh, tripled attendees. I’m thinking dollars and cents and I’m almost seeing everybody just get the little Scrooge McDuck, like dollar signs in their eyes. Like, Oh my goodness, that’s amazing. Tell us more, please. And we’re about to, so let’s get into Breakthrough.

[00:06:47] Let’s start with goals. As we dig into this event. And as we all know, when you are kicking off doing, you know, planning an event, you have goals you want to achieve. Everybody is nodding along as they’re listening to this podcast. They’re like, of course, can you talk to us about what goals you did set up for this event?

[00:07:04] You set out to achieve, and if there was anything special you were striving for, just give us a bit of a overview of what you all were trying to go for. 

[00:07:12] Angela Sadighian: Yeah. So I’d love to dive into our specifics and goals, but I’d also like to highlight that I think what has made Breakthrough so successful is we’ve put a big focus on three key areas over the past few years.

[00:07:25] The first one being driving pipeline and tracking the right metrics. which I’ll dive into in just a moment, but we’ve also put a huge focus on planning around the attendee experience, pausing to ask that question, how is this going to make attendees feel at the event? And then the third big area of focus that we’ve really delved into the past few years is building a year round enablement program that has just been key to our success.

[00:07:49] So diving into the pipeline and metrics, we start really high level. We look at the ROI, we use a baseline of wanting to 10 X all of our events, but then we tweak as needed. We look at that attendee breakdown, the percentage split of new business versus upsell, and then determine what that ROI goal is going to be.

[00:08:09] We then put our biggest focus on influenced and sourced pipeline. We spend a lot of time thinking about these goals because at the end of the event, that’s what really matters, right? Those are the biggest metrics that we are going to want to track and see success from. So once we have our influenced and sourced pipeline goals identified, we look at how many current customer accounts we have, and then we set a percentage as our goal of how many accounts we’re going to get in the room.

[00:08:36] So let’s say for example. We’re going to shoot for 60 percent of all customer accounts. At Breakthrough there at the event once we set that number we set a meeting goal. This has been a new metric over the past few years, but we’ve just found the value of being in person, you just can’t beat it. If we have 60% of our customer accounts in the room we’re then saying every account is going to meet with us in person, which you can only imagine how crazy that number gets.

[00:09:05] I think we give our team a little heart attack every year when we share out that meeting goal number, it always seems wild, but I’ve got to be honest, we beat our goal every year so far because it seems intense, but just the value of getting that one to one connection or getting a meeting scheduled and looping in other subject matter experts is just really driven successive Breakthrough. 

[00:09:30] And then of course we do track other metrics. Show rate is a given. We typically set a goal of anywhere from 91 to 93%. Last year we even exceeded our own goal. We hit 95 which yeah, we were pretty thrilled with that one. 

[00:09:45] And then we do look at survey responses. Specifically, we look at the open ended questions and we dive into the feedback on content, and we have used that to shape our agenda over the past few years. And then this year, this past year, and 

The power of the Klik SmartBadge™ to deliver epic experiences

[00:10:00] Angela Sadighian: I want to tell our listeners, Bizzabo’s not paying me to say this, but we did take advantage of the new Klik badges and I’ve got to say they really took the onsite metrics up a notch. Not only were we able to see which sessions were the highest attended but we were able to see what other activations were attendees at, how long were they in those session rooms? How many Klik badge connections were happening? And we were able to see all of that in real time. I mean it took our on site metrics just totally to the next level. 

[00:10:31] Rachel Moore: Excellent. I know we’ve got more goals to go over, but yeah, I can attest we did not rig this. That was a completely unprompted shout out.

Key metrics for measuring event success

[00:10:39] But seriously, if you’re just looking at pipeline and tracking, I hope all of our marketers listening to this realize that they’re being helped right now because you’re basically giving a whole playbook on how to do this in case they’re in any doubt.

[00:10:48] So thank you for that. But back over to you, let’s go over some more goals that, that y’all had set up for yourselves. 

[00:10:54] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, so that second kind of key area focus is the attendee experience with that context. How are attendees going to feel during and after the event? We look at this in the context of those big moments, right?

[00:11:07] So we’ve tripled attendees over the past three years, which has just been incredible growth. Little bit of background, Breakthrough is our opportunity to bring primarily our customers together.

[00:11:17] We feature product roadmaps for the upcoming year, customer case studies. We have persona based tracks, legendary networking and evening events. And we just really bring the wow factor. It all started in 2019 with only a hundred attendees. 2020 was all virtual. We don’t have to rehash COVID times. I think everyone’s sick of talking about that period of history.

[00:11:38] In 2021, it was that funny coming out of COVID people were trying to experiment with in person again, and we were really happy. We hit 300 in person attendees. Fast forward to 2022, we had 600 in person and then last year in October, we had a thousand attendees. So we have just seen registration just triple and this event just take off. 

[00:12:00] So when we’re building out the agenda, will they walk away with actionable takeaways? Will they walk away feeling like they got so much value out of being here that next year they’re going to make sure not only are they coming, but they’re bringing their entire teams. We think about, will they relate to the keynote on a personal level.

[00:12:18] So something we do for that attendee experience, we pick a keynote that’s not part of the usual conference rotation. We also try to find someone who’s not in the B2B tech space. All of the other breakout sessions and keynotes are so heavy in the B2B tech world that we make sure that our keynote speaker is someone that’s going to relate to attendees on a personal level.

[00:12:41] We found that having that keynote that’s removed from all other content we’re talking about really helps it energizes attendees. It helps give them insight from a different perspective. And it just, it adds to that overall experience. And then we’re also looking at the small moments and details. 

[00:12:59] So a few things we do that help feed into that attendee experience. 

[00:13:04] Angela Sadighian: We have non branded swag, which I know you’re thinking, that’s an oxymoron. How can you have, like, that’s the whole point of swag, right? But think about how many branded water bottles and coffee cups. And I mean, I’m sitting here sipping out of my own branded coffee cup right now. We do of course have some cool branded items, but we make sure that we have items that are either teal, which is one of our signature colors, or we have a non branded items that are tied into Breakthroughs location because each year we host at a different venue at a different location.

[00:13:38] For example, the year that we were in Arizona, we had a really cool coffee table book. about local cacti and a candle that smelled like cactus blossom. When we were in Frisco last year, we had local Austin hot sauce as one of the non branded items. So it’s something small, but it feeds into that attendee experience.

[00:14:00] It’s a unique moment. A few other touches. As I kind of mentioned, our big company color is teal, and we have teal touches everywhere. I mean, I’m talking, our staff wear teal nail polish, and teal shoes, and teal shirts, and all of the chairs in that main stage session were teal with sixes on the back. So it seems like very small moments, right?

[00:14:21] Like having teal straws at the coffee cart, and having little teals on all of the menus. It seems small, but it really adds up when attendees are at the event, that overall experience of Wow. This is a moment and I am happy to be here. We also, we have just fun giveaways and wow moments for our attendees. At our welcome reception this past year we were in Texas. We had some live country music and there was this very cool photo moment for the gram that featured cowboy hats. And then throughout the evening, as people were networking, they were able to grab a cowboy hat and these were fun. Like I’m talking cow print and light up and very fun, kind of goofy, but it got people in the mood to network.

[00:15:06] It got people excited. It was fun. It was a surprise. It’s something that you’re not going to see in every conference. We realized that it’s all about those in person connections and networking. So we try to help drive those organically. We do little moments that feed into those connections and the attendee experience.

[00:15:26] A few examples. We had a custom pin station at registration. So as attendees checked in, they could add pins that spoke to their personal interests, their professional interests. It was a fun detail. But it also organically gave attendees that chance to connect with someone without the usual forced networking prompts that we’re all sick of.

[00:15:46] And then our hydration stations, we had branded water bottles with a whole assortment of custom stickers for attendees to kind of swag out their water bottle again. It might seem a little silly. It’s such a small moment, but those little details add to the attendee experience. They make it memorable for the attendee and it gives them a chance to connect with others in an organic way.

[00:16:07] Rachel Moore: Oh my gosh. My daughter, if she listens to this, she’s going to be like, how do I get to the next one? Cause she, that is her jam. She is miss sticker up her water bottle, but you really are focusing on just all these different ways, branded or not, where you’re able to create, like you just said, there’s a tiny little memory or bigger memory, but that person’s still going to remember that you made that experience possible, which is, is a part of your brand. So really amazing, awesome ideas. I know we’re not done with goals though, cause you got one more to share with us.

[00:16:35] And this one certainly ties into a theme. We’re hearing a lot from our guests on this podcast, carry on about that year round enablement program. 

[00:16:45] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, I think the third feature that we’ve put a lot of energy into that has helped Breakthrough grow. It really starts the moment the event ends before we might even be ready to share out publicly.

[00:16:57] We are telling our team Breakthrough’s happening October 7th in Las Vegas at the brand new Fountain Blue. You want to be there. So that way when they’re on calls with accounts, they can drop in, hey registration isn’t live, but what are you doing October 7th? Block your calendar. You’re not going to want to miss it. So we then start sharing more info as we have it. But even before registration is live we enable our team so that they can work tickets into contracts. So this has just been a huge success.

[00:17:26] I mean, we have reps asking if we can have tickets for events two years down the line for them to add, just because they’ve seen such a success in having this available to them. We then start joining larger calls across the organization to give regular updates. We’d build out a dedicated Slack channel.

[00:17:45] So that way, all of the info and updates we want to share, questions people have, it all lives in one place. We start doing weekly office hours closer to the event. We build out a PowerPoint deck that the entire organization can see that runs through all the details. We like to say around here, we serve the details on a teal platter.

[00:18:05] Down to, if you are on site, what day are you wearing a teal staff shirt versus a navy shirt? So again, back into those tiny details and moments, everyone feels super prepared. 

[00:18:17] Angela Sadighian: We also have started doing something really cool this past year. We preview out our main stage sessions. What’s been really valuable about this is that even staff who are on site, they’re going into the events with these little nuggets in their mind of what are the key takeaways?

[00:18:34] What conversations can I then have with my accounts when I see them at the happy hour? And then for our team that are not on site, they’re able to know their accounts that are going to Breakthrough. What are they going to walk away with? What are they going to be talking about? So that way, when they want to have that post event follow up conversation, they can have a truly meaningful conversation that ties back into the content at the event, which is the whole focus, right?

[00:18:58] We want people to walk away with those actionable insights. After we were done, you know, sharing all the details and logistics, we get that personal buy in, which is hard, but we found a lot of success. We run SPIFFs for our team on who gets to attend the events. Breakthrough is fun. We know how to throw a party.

[00:19:17] Our staff want to be the lucky ones that get to be on site. So we will run a SPIFF for number of meetings booked. The staff with the most accounts registered and that really gets that personal connection. And then our team then have that personal drive that they want to see the meaning goal tick up. They want to help drive pipeline for this event. And then we enable them to be successful on site so that they can connect again, have those meaningful conversations post event.

[00:19:47] We use a tool called Jifflenow to pre book our meetings. And what’s been great is this connects back into Salesforce. So that way our reps are able to get all the data they need. So going into that meeting, they know who they’re meeting with. They have all of the history that they need to know. And now what’s also great is again, post event for those staff that are not on site.

[00:20:10] They’re able to then reference the notes in Jifflenow to see, Hey, who took that meeting with my account? What notes do they have for me for my followup? So from the very beginning, before registration is live, it’s down to onsite and then providing the team with a detailed follow up plan. We just make sure enablement for Breakthrough is just non stop. 

[00:20:31] Rachel Moore: It sounds like it. You are ensuring that this is about touch points with people, but there’s also the documentation and data side of it, which is super crucial, like you just said, to keep fostering those relationships, equip your sales teams, your enablement teams with what they need to capitalize on this with the people who are attending, which segues beautifully into my next question that we want to ask about, who’s the target audience for Breakthrough? You know, if you can be as specific as possible, who are the people that this conference, this experience is intended for? 

[00:21:04] Angela Sadighian: Yeah. So Breakthrough being our customer conference, we’re primarily targeting customer accounts, but we also target select late stage prospects.

[00:21:14] We found just the energy and excitement at Breakthrough being in person. You just, you can’t beat it. Right. So we do open up to the team that select late stage prospects can work their way into Breakthrough. And we’ve found that that really helps. Lock in those deals because not only are they seeing the value of 6sense by joining those customer case studies, but they’re also feeling that 6sense is a community, right?

[00:21:39] They want to be part of that community. They want to be on the team. So we do let late stage prospects come. We put a focus on marketing, sales and operations personas. And then to go a little deeper, we’ve started adding in the executive track experience. This targets our CMOs and our CROs. And what’s really cool is we found that by targeting those C level titles, they’re oftentimes going to bring more people from their team, right?

[00:22:06] So that goes back into our goal that we want the entire revenue org to attend Breakthrough. So by targeting specifically those C suites, we are getting even more members of their team and their executive buy in, which has been great. As I kind of touched on earlier, we do set that goal on wanting a percentage of accounts to attend.

[00:22:27] And then we don’t just set these goals. Throw them in the deck and forget about them, right? Like we make sure as we’re building the event that we’re thinking about who we’re targeting and it even plays into when we’re building the agenda. 

[00:22:40] Angela Sadighian: We have tracks built out by persona so that we know the content that we’re building is specifically geared for the attendees that we’re targeting to get in the room.

[00:22:51] An example, we even pull this from what our customers have to say is a few years ago, we had feedback from some customers that, Hey, the marketing track, I know all of that. It covered everything I’m already doing. But then in that same track, we had attendees saying, Oh my gosh, I just joined 6sense. That was so over my head.

[00:23:12] So we’ve split out. We now do an advanced marketing track and a beginner track. So we really do look at who we want in the room and then make sure that we’re tailoring our events to show value to those personas. 

[00:23:27] Rachel Moore: It’s super smart and you’re bringing up that tried and true point that we all know we should be doing is listening to, you know, to our attendees about the experience and then making sure we’re pivoting and not just innovating to say, Hey, let’s come up with ideas we think you’ll like, but let’s actually enact the things we know you specifically ask for and delivering those.

[00:23:27] Ad Break Intro:  We’ll be right back with more Event Experience after the break.

[00:23:27] Ad Break Copy:  Hey, event professionals. Do you want to hear more from the industry’s top event experience leaders? 

Don’t miss out on future episodes of the Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo. Hit subscribe, drop us a review, and share this episode with your friends and colleagues!

The Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo – where events come to life!

[00:23:27] Ad Break Outro:  We’re back with Angela Sadighian to learn how Klik badges played a part in an epic event moment.

[00:24:35] Rachel Moore: Would love to ask you, was there anything special or unique aspect to this event that you’d like to call out, whether that was a particular innovation?

[00:24:42] An element of tech or an engagement effort. Would love to hear more about that.

[00:24:46] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, I would love to go back to the Klik badges. I mean, it’s almost too perfect that we’re on the Bizzabo Podcast. I’ve gotta talk about them because they really elevated the attendee experience, the sponsor experience. They helped improve our metrics, and they saved us money. So, can’t beat that. From the attendee experience side of things. So

[00:25:09] Angela Sadighian: when attendees walked up to registration, as our staff are checking them in, they use their own badge to show attendees how to do that Klik connection. And then they had them open the app and showed them, Hey, when you make a connection with someone, This is where you’re going to find that info.

[00:25:24] So right off the bat, we made sure each person who was checking in understood the tech, right? Because if they don’t understand that they’re not going to use it. So we made sure everyone understood how to use the badges. Then during the keynote session, we had our MC get on stage, do a badge demo, and then all of the badges lit up teal.

[00:25:43] So again, playing into that touch of teal, but it was kind of a wow moment, right? And it kind of. stuck in people’s minds of like, Oh yeah, these badges, they light up. I want to connect with someone. And I mean, it encouraged those connections. We heard attendees bragging about the number of Kliks. It became bragging rights of who’s getting the most Kliks here.

[00:26:03] And then it helped with wow moments at our big party.

[00:26:07] Angela Sadighian: We had a 12 piece cover band. The energy was high. They were going off stage and we were having a late night DJ come on and we wanted to keep that energy high. And we were also trying to get anticipation going because we had a little surprise in store.

[00:26:22] So we had our incredible Bizzabo team on site, have the badges create a light show. So all of a sudden the badges start lighting up to the beat of the music the DJ was playing. Everyone’s looking around, the anticipation’s going up, what is happening? This is so cool. And then attendees look up and we had a 300 drone light show for 10 minutes.

[00:26:43] So the Klik badges are going off, the drone shows in the air, the DJ’s going. I mean, those badges, again, back to the special moments, some little touches, small detail, but wow, it had a huge impact.

[00:26:56] And then the sponsor experience. So the badges were the lead retrieval device.

[00:27:00] And what was really cool is attendees were already used to making those connections, right? And then they also got it on their end. So it felt very natural for our attendees to be connecting with sponsors. And what I think was very unique from the sponsor perspective, is they could then track that info live so the on site staff could track it.

[00:27:19] Their staff back home, their teams could track their dashboard. And if they were on a happy hour or in a session, they weren’t walking around with the lead retrieval device, right? It wasn’t just stop to snap who were at the booth. They were able to then organically continue connecting with attendees. So, I mean, our sponsors had nothing but good feedback.

[00:27:39] And then from our side, I mean, we kind of chatted at the beginning of this, but we were able to track so many more on site metrics, of course, the popular sessions, how long were people staying in the room, but then where else were they going throughout the event? Which networking spaces were attendees more drawn to?

[00:27:57] Were they taking advantage of the coffee cart? Were they at the swag bar? So it was just so helpful. And then it did help us consolidate down our event tech stack and saved us money. We were able to use Bizzabo as you know, our registration, for the event app, for the Connect Klik badges, for sponsor lead retrieval.

[00:28:16] So we didn’t have to get another vendor for lead retrieval or event app or RFID. So it really did just on our end too, I mean there’s a million vendors to track for a conference of the size. Being able to consolidate down some of that was a huge benefit to us.

[00:28:33] Rachel Moore: Wow. It sounds like it. On a personal note, I know I’ve been to like, sporting events where if it’s like a special thing, they’ll give you a bracelet and then that can like activate in the middle of the game where it like creates some, you know, visual and stuff.

[00:28:45] This is an amazing thing that is tied directly into a very functional piece of the event that is crucial for everyone. So big win. I would love to ask. So you’ve described so much about the success Breakthrough has. Very evident why, because you really have given some amazing detail on like all the effort, all the planning, the execution, that you all really are thinking of every aspect of this.

[00:29:11] How did this originate? Was this event or activation your brainchild? Where did it come from and what was its origin story basically?

[00:29:18] Angela Sadighian: I mean, Breakthrough started in 2019 with the goal of getting our customer community together, gathering in person, harnessing the power of those connections.

[00:29:28] Breakthrough started before I joined the organization, but I mean, it’s legacy is carrying on. And I’d say it’s the result of almost the entire marketing team. You are going to be hard pressed to find someone here at 6sense who is not involved in Breakthrough in some way, everyone across the organization participates in some shape or form. So Breakthrough’s just the result of so much hard work and so much love from the entire marketing team, our customer team, wanting to ultimately just get our customer community together in one room and the inspiration, I mean, We’re taking our inspiration from customers. We’re looking at those feedback surveys, right?

[00:30:06] So we’re deciding, Hey, do we need to tweak our tracks the way we decided to break out our marketing track into advanced and beginner? We really listened to what are the challenges our customers are facing? What issues are they dealing with that are relevant to them right now? And we work those into our overall theme and our keynote session and those breakouts when attendees, our customers have said, you know, content’s great, but I need more networking time.

[00:30:34] We’ve pivoted the agenda to have more of that networking time. So we really do draw a lot of inspiration from our own customers as I mean, we showed it’s a customer conference, so we always try to tie it back to them. And then of course, we look at other industry publications and big events. We look at Dreamforce, Inbound, and then I know RMNC, we are always joining those Bizzabo webinars.

[00:30:57] And looking at BizBash, which I got to give a quick plug to EJ Oelling, our VP of ABX. She is currently at the BizBash Leadership Summit. So I’m sure she is going to bring a lot of really cool nuggets back to our team.

[00:31:11] Rachel Moore: Absolutely great. I want to drive back to the astronomical data you provide at the beginning, the fact that you’ve tripled the attendance over the last few years. So let’s talk about those as attendees.

[00:31:22] If I’m an attendee. And I’m attending Breakthrough. What am I experiencing? Tell us, what would that experience be like?

[00:31:29] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, absolutely. And quick plug, Breakthrough is happening October 7th through 10th at the brand new Fountain Blue in Las Vegas this coming year. So if you are at Breakthrough, you are just feeling an incredible sense of excitement and this feeling of belonging.

[00:31:44] So the visuals we’ve kind of touched on it a little bit, but we do have these thoughtful touches of teal and sixes all over the place. Again, when you look at them individually, they may seem small, but the big picture you’re walking around and you feel like you are at Breakthrough.

[00:31:59] It is a moment. There’s teal everywhere. We have some big impact moments, things like that surprise drone light show a 160-foot LED screen at main stage. So when you walk in, you’re just wowed. And then those little moments, the thoughtful surprises, the things that surprise and delight you, everything ties back into the brand, into that experience.

[00:32:22] And while we’re making a considerable investment in design, we’re very thoughtful about it, right? And we’re making sure that we’re putting that investment into things. That are going to help the attendees feel like they’re experiencing an event that was built for 50 people not a thousand, right? So we don’t want it to be okay, we’re becoming a big conference. Here’s your box lunch, go eat on the basic black lemon tablecloth in this conference room. All of the sponsor booths are in the expo hall. We purposefully build out and spend a lot of time on those details so that attendees feel like they’re at a very unique event for our sponsors.

[00:33:01] We don’t have them in an expo hall. We have them throughout the pre functioning spaces outside of keynote and breakout sessions. That way it’s very organic and natural as attendees are going between sessions when there’s a networking break. It’s just natural. They’re walking by a sponsor. Hey, let me stop by and say hi to them.

[00:33:20] We’re just very purposeful to make sure that it is a unique experience. It feels different from another event you’ve been to. And you really do feel like, Oh my gosh, the level of detail that went into this. Yeah, I feel like I’m at a much smaller, more intimate event. And then you leave feeling that sense of community, knowing you have support from the entire 6sense team and other 6sense community members, other customers, and you just, you feel that wow factor.

[00:33:47] Rachel Moore: Awesome. Is there any other element that you focus on that you think has helped Breakthrough become such a success?

Creating memorable attendee experiences

[00:33:54] Angela Sadighian: This has been sprinkled in throughout our entire conversation, but it’s the wow factor.

[00:33:59] We are always thinking, how can we bring that wow factor and how can we do something that’s going to be memorable and unique? When it goes back to things like the keynote speaker, we’re looking at someone that’s not part of that usual conference mix, someone that’s not doing the rotation, someone people haven’t necessarily heard of.

[00:34:18] We’re looking at unique entertainment. And mixed in with surprise and delight elements. Two years ago, we had Mixmaster Mike and Travis Barker perform. And that was something that, I mean, it blew people away. It was very fun. It was a bit of a surprise. It was unique. You’re not really seeing that entertainment at other conferences.

[00:34:37] And last year, having that 12 piece cover band mixed in with a 10 minute drone show. It’s just, we like to do unique entertainment. Thoughtful touches that surprise and delight and just being incredibly thoughtful with where we invest our budget so that throughout the entire that it’s not just, Oh, when you check in, you’re picking up a piece of cool, unique swag and then.

[00:35:01] There’s a wow moment at the party. We’re making sure throughout the entire Breakthrough experience, there are these thoughtful surprise and delight moments that make you stop and kind of go, Wow, I wasn’t expecting that or I haven’t seen this in other conferences before. So I think bringing that wow factor in little touches and in big moments has really helped breakthrough grow and become a memorable event for our customers, which has led to that, that success of seeing the attendee, attendee counts triple over the past three years.

[00:35:31] Rachel Moore: Yeah. And when you can actually hear them say, wow, cause you’re achieving that wow factor, you know, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, which is awesome. What can our listeners learn from the Breakthrough event experience? What are some things that they could take away from this?

[00:35:47] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, I think it goes back to those three key areas of focus that we’ve had one putting your focus on driving pipeline and tracking the right metrics.

[00:35:56] I know in the event industry, sometimes we feel a little bit removed from that, right? But I think embracing the metrics, embracing that you want your event to be a revenue generating powerhouse. I think that is just a huge key to success. The second one playing around that attendee experience. It’s so easy to get caught up in the millions of tasks that we have to do for an event that it can become easy to lose sight of okay, but what is this going to feel like to attendees in person at the event? So planning around that attendee experience and then building a year round enablement program, you could build the best event out there, the best user conference, but if your organization doesn’t understand it, if they don’t see the value in it, if they don’t know how to get people in the room, then you’re not going to see the registration numbers.

[00:36:46] You’re not going to get the right people there. So, Building a year round enablement program. So you truly get buy in and understanding from your entire organization.

[00:36:56] Rachel Moore: So really those are some great takeaways. You’re filling people’s notebooks basically today. Our last and easiest question for you, Angela, where can our listeners find and follow you online?

[00:37:06] Angela Sadighian: Yeah, I am Angela Sadighian on LinkedIn and at Angela Sadighian on Instagram.

SkillUp: Focus on event pipeline and metrics

[00:37:23] Rachel Moore: Angela’s advice for each of us to Skill Up relates to the R in ROI: revenue!

[00:37:30] Angela Sadighian: Focus on pipeline and metrics. Every event planner out there. I mean, if you’re in events, you’re most likely type a, you have a fondness for details. We all like to build cool experiences, but I think what brings your career to the next level is looking at events from a revenue generating perspective. Don’t be afraid of the numbers. Don’t be afraid of the metrics. Get into the weeds with them and using that as your strong foundation for building an event I think will just really up level your skills and take your events and your own professional skill set to the next level. 

[00:38:06] Rachel Moore:  Thanks again to Angela Sadighian for joining us on Event Experience, and thank YOU for listening. 

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