I love user groups. The opportunities to learn, network, and participate in a group of professionals with similar interests are phenomenal. UG's have greatly enriched my life, and I have made many wonderful friends along the way. My first experience starting one was as a co-founder of Java's 2nd user group; it's still meeting every month after 16 years.
Fast forward to last May's Rainmaker Conference in Las Vegas. We learned Data.com would establish user groups, and needed local leaders. Nice, sign me up!
My local area has tons of Data.com users. Launching the group took less than 1 hour. I simply invited local fellow Rainmakers to plan and form our group during Dreamforce. A key success factor was leveraging the talents of enthusiastic dedicated users who are natural evangelists. Together we would determine the shape and direction of our local group. Rainmakers are perfect catalysts because they are highly invested in the Data.com community, have a wide cross section of interests, and bring a lot of excitement that will keep a user group going a long time.
Our group evolved to share leadership responsibilities among 3 Rainmakers. We plan meetings and make decisions together, and encourage input from the members. Keeping the membership involved is critical because people join interest groups to learn, participate, and for the comfort communities provide (like a Jigsaw Snuggie). As organizers, we spend about an hour a month to manage the group and plan meetings.
61 sales, recruiters, and marketing professionals of many disciplines have joined since we launched in September. Our first Meetup focused on the basics of using Data.com, and 2 new users attended. At our second, a local member who is a SourceCon Challenge Winner captivated a roomful of sales people, recruiters, and marketers for an entire hour sharing techniques on advanced contact search and retrieval. That was an incredible Meetup.
Launching our local group was like pushing the red Staples Easy Button. Data.com has all the tools in place to help you make it happen. If you don't yet have a local Data.com group, why are you waiting? This has been a highly rewarding experience, and we’re just getting started.