On March 18 and 19 2015, I attended the InsideSales.com 2015 conference. The inside sales world is new to me, so I want to take you through my journey as I try to immerse myself in the sales world.
Our Social Media guy at HireVue, Gabe Villamizar, used to work at InsideSales.com, and so he knows a lot of people there. That phrase "knows a lot of people there" is really an understatement as I'll demonstrate later. Anyway, he and the founder of InsideSales.com, Ken Krogue, are friends and Ken invited us to have a booth and become a sponsor at the conference. Okay, so we did.
This was short notice. So, we hustled to get brochures and our booth ready. In the end, we're pretty happy with what we came up with.
Along with a sponsorship ticket, we were able to bring 6 people to the event. So, we had a good contingent representing HireVue Accelerate.
As I mentioned, this was short notice. But, I quickly came up with a strategy, but first we had to decide what value this conference would provide HV Accelerate, our new product that serves the needs of sales leaders, sales reps, and sales enablement leaders.
Here was our 3-fold purpose for attending the conference in order of priority:
- Meet other Sales people; learn from them.
- Get our product out there and get some buzz going.
- Make Friends and Get Leads
I have to admit something: I am not a fan of conferences. They are typically a poor lead magnet. Yes, you can mingle and make friends and meet people face-to-face, but conferences, in my experience, are a poor source of leads.
So, having said that, the last priority for us were leads.
We recently published a mega-super-epic eBook highlighting everything anybody needs to know when it comes to sales training, sales enablement, and sales training reinforcement. It's a 62 page eBook and we thought that perhaps the attendees of the InsideSales conference would be interested.
So, we created an 8.5 x 11 tri-fold brochure highlighting the first chapter of the eBook and provide an invitation to a very specific landingpage where attendees could download the rest of the eBook that we've titled "The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training Programs and Methodologies". That way, we can continue the conversation outside of the conference through a nurturing campaign via our marketing funnel.
- Create a brochure showing a teaser chapter of our massive eBook.
- In this brochure, show a URL where attendees can go to download the rest of the eBook.
- Create the URL that is very specific to the InsideSales conference attendees.
I don't know how successful this approach will be. My guess is that there may be a residual effect days and weeks after the conference. After all, conference attendees typically go partying at night and do some networking. Few really go back to their hotel rooms and look through their bags full of booth shwag and goodies.
So, our expectations were not huge in terms of downloads.
InsideSales.com 2015 Day 1
On the day of the conference, I arrived a little before 7AM. When I got there, I was really surprised to see so many people from InsideSales.com; which led me to wonder how many employees were there.
So, I asked an employee named Aaron - I said "Hey, how many insidesales.com employees are here?" He then took a piece of paper out of his pocket and began to count.
96 InsideSales.com Employees.
Wow. Deep inside I began to wonder how many actual prospects, users, customers were going to be there. Thankfully, as the day went on, more and more non-employees showed up. That was good. Throughout the day, we always had people at our booth and a few of us mingled about meeting others.
My co-worker, Gabe Villamizar, who I mentioned earlier was an employee at InsideSales.com; he is very well-steeped in the whole sales world and since I'm quite new to it, he was kind enought to take me around and meet all the thought leaders in sales leadership. Their reception to him was amazing - they all loved him. It was crazy - it was the big, deep, around-the-body type of embrace kind of love. I was amazed that these sales thought leaders were so amiable to him. It was very cool to see.
Day 1 also had a number of pretty good keynote addresses. Steve Young was there, the former quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers. He shared some interesting stories about being a short quatertback and how he had learned to rely on his experience and gut to throw over guys much taller than him.
That night, Collective Soul played a private concert for the attendees. I didn't attend. I remember them from the 90's and I don't remember or know a lot (or any) of their songs, so I figured it would be best to just skip out of their concert and go home. But, I'm glad that they made a few people happy.
And even though I don't know anything about Collective Soul or their music, that didn't stop me and my buddy Gabe from getting a picture with a few rockstars (guy with hat is Gabe; I'm the Asian guy in the middle - the older people in the picture is Collective Soul).
Thought Leader Interviews
As I mentioned earlier, another goal we had was to interview a as many thought leaders as we could. So, with audio recorder in hand, we were able to interview the following thought leaders - really well-known and respected people in sales. I'm grateful to each of them for taking the time to speak:
- Keanan, CEO and Founder, A Sales Guy
- Ken Krogue, President and Founder, InsideSales.com
- Ralph Barsi, Inside Sales Thought Leader and Senior Director at Achievers
- Bubba Page, Founder and CEO of QuotaDeck
- Lori Richardson, Founder and CEO at Score More Sales
- Trish Bertuzzi, CEO and Founder of The Bridge Group
- Steve Richard, CEO of Vorsight
I had a lot of fun getting to know these sales thought leaders and I learned a lot from them.
One sidenote: speaking with Lori Richardson was especially good. She shared with me her efforts to better support women in sales. It is definitely something that we, at HireVue, support and can't wait to really get behind her and support such a worthwhile cause.
InsideSales.com 2015 Day 2
The next day was much of the same. But, one of the keynotes was really good - Nate Silver of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight blog. He's the guy who famously predicted the last presidential election and the guy known for pretty much predicting most things.
I'm not sure if he had a point he wanted to make in his talk, but it was nonetheless very good. Plus, he's a Chicago Maroon - and alumni from the same school support each other that way, you know.
InsideSales.com also announced a few interesting things:
- InsideSales.com announced a $60 Million dollar strategic investment from Salesforce and Microsoft.
- InsideSales.com announced their acquisition of Persogenics, a behavioral survey company - kind of like myers-briggs, or something like that.
It's clear that InsideSales.com is growing. It's good to see growth like that in Utah.
Some Interesting Happenings
There were some weird things that happened that I have to report.
I was standing in the hallway talking and then in walks this guy who looked like a rockstar: rings on every finger, wrap-around sunglasses indoors, messed up jeans, slick shoes, gray-ish hair messed up, necklaces. And then a flock of people ran up to this guy. Women and Men. I though to myself "who is this guy?" I asked Gabe Villamizar, my co-worker and he tells me the rockstar-looking guy is Kraig Kleeman. I responded "Kraig, who?"
Apparently Kraig is a rockstar in the inside sales world. Who knew. But since this is my first initiation in this world, it's good to know who's who and stuff.
I was able to meet Kraig later and found him to be a very nice guy. I'm not sure if I would run up to him to hug him like all those people did, but he's a nice guy for sure.
All in all, I thought it was a good 2 days. Like I said, from a leads perspective, I imagine there will be a residual effect over days and weeks of downloads of The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training Programs and Methodologies. We were able to hand out about 50 brochures and get about 30 leads. Not much, but that wasn't our primary goal.
We met good people and I was immersed in a whole new world that I had not been exposed to previously. I have a ton to learn, but I'm glad I was able to meet a lot of great people and that I've made a bunch of new friends.