What do sales leaders learn at our events? Find out in our interview with attendee Karen Kennedy, VP of Sales at ValleyCrest Companies, who joined us at the October 16 and 17 Sales Performance Management in San Francisco.
How does this event compare to others you’ve attended?
Karen Kennedy (KK): I go to events like this about four times a year and I’ve been to one other Sales 2.0 Conference in the past. Usually at events I’m picking and choosing to find something that’s really relevant to the work that I do. The great thing about Sales 2.0 is that it’s all very relevant. I like the variety of speakers.
Have you learned about new tech solutions or tools you didn’t know about?
KK: I’m a huge fan of InsideView. I’m not yet a user of InsideView, but I’m trying to be. I’ve been following Zapoint for quite some time so I was really interested in the CareerBuilder story because the behind-the-scenes analytics were driven by Zapoint. It was nice to see that they’re getting more press because they’re a start up. I’ve been following them for three years.
Tell us about one great conversation you’ve had at the conference so far.
KK: A conversation in one of the earlier sessions was around the evolution of selling, which I strongly believe in. It has left solution selling in the dust. If you want to be successful in sales, it really is about finding the relevance and insight. Personally, I also try to hire the right people — people who have better judgment, are more flexible, and are autonomous so that they can make the right decisions. They’re adapting to the sales situation so that they have a greater inclination to succeed.
Was that an ‘ah-ha moment’ for you?
KK: The conversation reinforced what I felt. Seeing it formally in so many presentations is reassuring and affirms my own thinking.
What’s the next step after that?
KK: We need to find more ways to garner information by using something like an InsideView that gives the sales team what I would call hard information mixed with ancillary information. Call preparation is so important. Salespeople need something to help them adapt their sales pitch or value proposition. After coming to the conference and hearing the presentations, I feel empowered to pursue these kinds of solutions more aggressively and take it more out of pilot phase and into stronger implementation and ongoing enhancement.
There’s another session I’d really like to go to tomorrow about cold calling [“Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal,” presented by Joanne Black — Ed].. I am not a fan of cold calling. I think it’s where we spend the most time and have smallest results. I want to do a lot more warm calling and relationship building sales calls.
As a sales leader, what value do you get from taking time to come to the Sales Performance Management Conference?
KK: I want to get a feel of what people are responding to and what they’re thinking. I like to be around people who are constantly challenging themselves and I find if I don’t come to conferences, I don’t get the exposure that keeps my brain gong and keeps me challenged. So I believe in continuous improvement.
I make time for conferences but I do want them to be very targeted and I do want them to have a variety of learning opportunities, so I really enjoy the format [at the Sales Performance Management Conference] where you have some big-tent topics and then the smaller breakout sessions where you get to choose from the different tracks of marketing or sales. And, for myself, I can manage to be out of the office for two days but I can’t be out for five so the time is a really nice balance where you can show up in the morning, do a day, do another full day and back to my office by tomorrow night.
Tomorrow you’ll be implementing insights!
KK: That’s right!
Want to join us at a Sales 2.0 event in 2014? Mark your calendar for May 5 and 6 in San Francisco. Want a reminder? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.