Sales Lessons from the Road – Pt. 3

Our Director of Sales, Ryland Ferguson, will be on the road working remotely for the next couple months. While on the road, he has shared some of his sales lessons along the way.

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Since our last update we’ve made our way through Dallas/Fort Worth for a week that included a rodeo, lots of traffic, some visits with extended family, and horseback riding. Seriously, the traffic though – I’m a big city veteran, but only in Texas can you combine big city volume with half the population going 90 mph. Our next stop, post-Dallas, took us to west Texas and Palo Duro Canyon. If you’re not familiar, it’s the second largest canyon in the U.S. behind some Grand one, located just outside Amarillo. They say it’s hard to photograph a canyon, and that goes double if you don’t know how to photograph to begin with. The first night we were greeted by a thunderstorm with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts up to 75 mph in the canyon floor where we were camped out. Once the weather cleared, however, the canyon was a delight to explore.

So where’s the lesson hiding this time around? In neither of those places! Surprise. As we left Palo Duro, we found ourselves quickly following I-40 west to New Mexico, which closely parallels the famous Route 66. Route 66 for those of you who may not be familiar was a legendary stretch of highway that ran from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA in a long arc that crossed through the southwest and up into the plains states.  Founded in the late 1920s, the highway inspired a hit song, a television show, and was a treasured piece of Americana as travelers found their way out west. Countless businesses from hotels, motels, gas stations, roadside attractions, and tourist businesses thrived on the traffic the route drew. Starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 1970s and 1980s; however, the interstate highway system gradually replaced the famous road offering a faster route from point A to point B. Today, there is no official Route 66, though parts have been preserved and reclaimed by states. Many of those businesses closed, relocated, or struggled to hang on and survive.

While not as stark a reminder as some of the rapid declines we see in the business world today, it does serve to show how a once mighty cultural institution can be relegated to an afterthought by change and innovation. While this will be nothing new it reminded me of the importance this subject holds for our customers and for ourselves as salespeople. Enterprises are undertaking massive efforts around digital transformation because they have to in order to survive. They can no longer wait and rely upon reputation and market share to secure the next 20 years of success. Change has to come quickly. This is the driving force behind most of the conversations taking the attention of the C-Suite executives we work with every day. The same is true for our solution provider partners. Big or small, today is their best chance to succeed and they have to move quickly to become the partner of choice as these enterprises evolve. Innovation is critical here as well, as old technologies are sometimes less than a decade in before they’re replaced by something better.

And what does this mean for you, salesperson, this Friday morning? Today is all you have. You can’t wait for tomorrow. Our customers need to shorten their path to success and so do their customers. We can help with that. They can’t wait. Neither can you. And if you do wait, someone will come along and eat your lunch by Monday morning. Don’t turn into a roadside attraction that’s not on the right road because you couldn’t see the writing on the wall. Carpe Diem, or the Diem will pass you by at 75 mph on the interstate.

Bye, ya’ll!

Ryland

CIO/CISO Minneapolis Summit Recap

May 8th, Minneapolis Marriott City Center, Minnesota

While the overall theme of our Minneapolis CIO and CISO Summits was “Digital Transformation is a Journey, Not a Destination”, a key takeaway was the importance of understanding data – what it means and what to do with it.

Jesse Horowitz, EVP, Head of Enterprise Information Security Risk Management at Wells Fargo, kicked off the day with his keynote focused on data and answering the questions:

  • What do we need to do with it?
  • What is personal data?
  • How do we handle data properly?
  • What is the real-world impact of the digitization of that data?

Thanks to all our speakers:

We also want to thank each of our panelists on our lunch panel – CIOs/CISOs as the Consummate Communicator

  • Scott Borg – Director (CEO) and Chief Economist, US Cyber Consequences Unit
  • Vinod Bidarkoppa – SVP Technology, UnitedHealth Group
  • Mark Ruchie – CISO, Entrust Datacard Corporation
  • Tammylynne Jonas – Senior Director – IT, Couche-Tard

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

CIO/CISO Boston Summit Recap

April 26th, 2018 – Omni Parker House Boston, MA

While the overall theme of our Boston CIO and CISO Summits was “Digital Transformation is a Journey, Not a Destination”, a key takeaway was the importance of understanding digital transformation in today’s climate.

Matt Griffiths, CIO at Stanley Industrial, kicked off the day with his keynote focused on The 4th Industrial Revolution. After reviewing the previous industries and their revolutions, Griffiths covered the new technologies and the new expectations of Industry 4.0. He concluded with four key takeaways:

  1. The new world will not be built on the foundations of the old one.
  2. Be brutally self-critical of existing IT process and culture.
  3. Bi-Modal IT was a stepping stone to Intrinsic Technology Innovation.
  4. Balancing maintenance and innovation is more critical than ever.

Thanks to all our speakers:

We also want to thank each of our panelists on our lunch panel – CIOs/CISOs as the Consummate Communicator

  • Madge Meyer – Former EVP, Chief Innovation & Technology Follows at State Street Corporation
  • Matt Griffiths – CIO at Stanley Black & Decker Industrial
  • Jin Chum – Head of Cognitive Computing, IT Fellow, Fidelity Investments
  • John Campbell – CIO – Partners Continuing Care, Partners Healthcare System
  • Wendy Cofran, CIO, Natick Visiting Nurse Assocation

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

CIO/CISO Philadelphia Summit Recap

April 24, 2018 — Le Meridien Philadelphia, PA

While the overall theme of our Philadelphia CIO and CISO Summits was “Digital Transformation is a Journey, Not a Destination”, a sub theme was the value of the CISO’s input.

CISOs and security executives continually are labeled as the “Chief of No”. They have a reputation from the other teams in their organization as barriers to digital transformation because of security threats. Instead of being “Chief of No”, they want to be “Chief of let’s find a secure solution”. In addition, we discussed how digital transformation requires speed and agility. Speed requires Trust. Trust requires us to engage not only boards and other senior leaders, but also those who will be implementing the key projects that comprise the digital transformation journey. Engaging requires us to be great story tellers of WHY – “Why we need to do what needs to be done.”

Thanks to all our speakers:

We also want to thank each of our panelists on our lunch panel – CIOs/CISOs as the Consummate Consumer

  • Chiranjoy Das – CIO at Simple Tire
  • Mark Eggleston – VP, Chief Information Security & Privacy Officer at Health Partners Plan
  • Steve Hendrie – CISO at The Hershey Company
  • William Bailey – VP Information Security at Police & Fire FCU

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

CIO/CISO Digital Transformation & Public Sector – Canada Summit Recap

April 22-24, 2018 — Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, ON

While the overall theme of our CIOCISO Digital Transformation and CIO & CISO Public Sector Canada Summits was “Digital Transformation Is a Journey, Not a Destination, discussions over the course of the two days highlighted the imperative for a collaborative, partnership approach in order to deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions to the diverse communities served. Moreover, organizations will need to increase their risk appetite to truly start disrupting.

Alex Benay’s ‘Government Next’ keynote set the tone for discussions, highlighting the need to anticipate skills required for the organization of the future. We need to work as a community to innovate our companies, but security needs to be designed in from the beginning instead of being an afterthought. In addition, we discussed how digital transformation requires speed and agility. Speed requires Trust. Trust requires us to engage not only boards and other senior leaders, but also those who will be implementing the key projects that comprise the digital transformation journey. Engaging requires us to be great story tellers of WHY – “Why we need to do what needs to be done.”

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thanks to all who participated, but a special note of thanks to our MC Rob Collins and our presenters:

We also want to thank each of our panelists:

CIOs/CISOs as the Consummate Communicator

  • Alex Benay – CIO at Government of Canada
  • Rob Collins – Consultant, Author of the Value Imperative
  • Johanne Duhalme – VP Information Technology & Communications at Hydro Quebec
  • Jake Frelvald – VP Product Marketing at Information Builders
  • Tammy Labelle – CIO at Public Services & Procurement Canada
  • Jennaeya McTavish – CIO at Privy Council Office

CIO as Driver of Digital Disruption

  • Rob Collins – Consultant, Author of the Value Imperative
  • Jacques Mailloux – Executive Director of Innovation at Elections Canada
  • Daniel Steeves – CIO at Ottawa Police

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sales Lessons from the Road – Pt. 2

Our Director of Sales, Ryland Ferguson, will be on the road working remotely for the next couple months. While on the road, he has shared some of his sales lessons along the way.

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Welcome back to another installment of Sales Lessons from the Road. If you’re reading this blog post, you should pause, go to the CDM Media homepage, and submit a sponsorship inquiry before continuing. All done? Good!

This is the part where I update you on my travels. Today I’m writing this as I stare out across a gorgeous valley in Petit Jean State Park, located in North Central Arkansas, about an hour outside Little Rock. This place is awesome – highly recommended if you’re ever traveling this way. From its position atop Petit Jean Mountain, the park overlooks the Arkansas river to the west for some epic sunsets and features great hiking in a relatively compact area.

If you’re into 2000 year old cave drawings, they got ‘em. If you’re into waterfalls, they got ‘em. Hiking? Check. Wildlife? Yup. Bears? Nope. (That’s a check too for this guy. #DaysWithoutBearAttacksCounterIsAt20. The name of the park and mountain comes from a legend about an 18th century woman who made her way to America to follow her true love who’d left to sail across the ocean by disguising herself as a man and finding work aboard the same ship, only to later die atop the mountain after falling ill.

Petit Jean or “Little John” was the nickname given to her on the ship as they sailed to North America. The locals, however, pronounce it “Petty Jeen” or “Petuh Jeen” in an accent that’s so buttery smooth you have to forgive the departure from the original French. Arkansas, as you’ll recall, was part of the Louisiana Purchase wherein the United States acquired a massive tract of land from France in 1803, hence all the France talk.

You’re probably thinking, “Here comes the predictable French Explorer metaphor or maybe it’ll be about going to extremes to get what you want.” Aha! Fooled you! (I’m saving those for next week).

This is actually more of a part two to last week’s post about kick starting your new quarter in sales. And this time I’ll be serving them up to you in “clickbait-y” list format. Before we get too far into April, I wanted to pass along a couple of suggestions for having a good quarter. While little of this will be new to many of you, sometimes we need a reminder of the basics that get and keep us performing at our best.

Three tricks to having a successful quarter in sales

  1. Three Months, Three Stages.
    Having a good quarter is often most impacted by the first 4-6 weeks. This is your creation stage. It’s often easy to let the opportunities that rolled over from last quarter give you a false sense of security and take up your time in the early part of the quarter. Yes, you should be nurturing those that are still alive and well, but don’t miss out on your window to create a robust pipeline of new opportunities in the early days of the quarter. If you don’t, you’ll find the well a bit dry.Next comes the Development Stage. This is the meaty middle of the quarter where you drive forward with those opportunities and make sure you’re progressing them through to a decision stage. Sift through all those opportunities you created and be honest with yourself about which have the best chance to move forward and potentially close. Don’t push snow uphill – you know which prospects will have shown buying signals and indicated a decision timeline within the quarter. Lastly, is the closing stage, the final four weeks of the quarter. Get laser focused on working through those final decisions you know can be had by end of quarter. Creation, development, closing. Sounds simple, right? And the quarter even provides you with an easy to follow Month One, Month Two, Month Three format. Convenient, right? But make sure you’re sticking to those timelines. It’s week two of the quarter – you should be well on your way to generating a huge pipeline. If you’re not, you may want to rethink your approach.
  2. Have a plan, Stan.
    Or Carol, or Jim or whoever you are. In his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, author David Allen writes, “Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.” If you want to be superhuman this quarter and get more done in less time, you need a plan. You need to tackle things with intention and break them down into simple actionable next steps. You need to hold yourself accountable to that plan and make consistent reliable progress. Sales isn’t a job where you can thrive in a manic state with hours or days of massive productivity followed up with hours or days of little effort and meaningful progress. Success rewards consistency and the key to consistency is having a very specific plan, keeping the steps within that plan simple, and taking action every single day to move forward. Have you made your plan for the quarter yet? What about this week? If not, you’re leaving it up to chance.
  3. Make every day a success before 10 AM
    Who has had a day get away from them? That day seemed busy and yet next to nothing meaningful was accomplished? Oh come on, raise your hand. A little higher…that’s better. What about a week?  Even with the best plan in the world from Point 2 above, we can have days that simply melt away from us into confusing haze of meetings, training, impromptu conversations, and “Snapchattery”. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, but you could be working smarter. Give yourself a challenge this quarter. Identify the three things that are most important to accomplish from your plan each day and do them before 10:00 AM without fail. If you can’t do one of them before 10:00 AM because it has to occur at a specific time in the day, add a bonus and get the other done before 10:00 AM. What’s the point? If by 10:00 AM you’ve accomplished three major milestones every day, you’ll keep your pipeline and your deals moving forward consistently, and even if the rest of the day turns into an impromptu marathon meeting with the CEO, your sales won’t suffer.

That’s it from Petit Jean. Make this a great quarter by choosing to do so. In the words of David Allen, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” In other words, if you’re not being intentional and focused with a clear plan each day, your days will never go according to plan.

Bye, ya’ll!

Ryland

What is the Real Value of the Tradeshow?

Every year sales and marketing departments must determine the best use of their marketing dollars. For many companies, a substantial chunk of that budget is allocated to conferences, events, tradeshows, etc. However, this decision must be justified with a legitimate return on investment or proven value that attending is worth the price of admission.

So is it worth it?

With booths at tradeshows, you’re often guaranteed to get leads, but they are likely in the form of business cards and, as a result, very cold. While there are instances where these cold leads convert to closed deals, this is only the beginning stage of the long enterprise sales cycle.

Another pro of tradeshow booths is the chance to present in front of a large quantity of prospects and increase your brand awareness with an attention-grabbing, flashy booth.

The price of these tradeshows is another discussion. The larger tradeshows that have more of your targeted customers will be accompanied by a much higher ticket price. Whereas the smaller ones, though less expensive, likely have a smaller pool of prospects.

As stated before, tradeshows provide cold leads via business cards. If you’re in enterprise sales, you know that a cold lead likely places you at the beginning of a 12-24 month cycle. The sales team wants warm leads and because warm leads translate into face-to-face meetings and cultivate personal relationships.

One-on-one interactions have proven success rates. Not only are you tucked away from the noise and chaos, but you have a quiet, intimate environment to thoroughly develop a relationship.

When making the decision, there is value in tradeshow booths in efforts to get in front of a large quantity of prospects. But is this worth the initial investment? In the end, the goal of those leads is to produce a meeting with that prospect so why not skip all the time, energy and resources and go straight to that meeting. CDM Media enables you to shorten to your sales cycles and accelerate your deals to close.

Contact us today to schedule these face-to-face meetings!

Sales Lessons from the Road

Our Director of Sales, Ryland Ferguson, will be on the road working remotely for the next couple months. While on the road, he has shared some of his sales lessons along the way.

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After traveling through Indiana, the Mammoth Caves outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and enjoying country music with friends in Nashville, I find myself in Memphis, TN – home of the blues, BBQ, and Elvis. Not too bad for a couple weeks.

The trip so far has lead me to today’s obvious metaphor source, which comes from the Mammoth Cave trip. Mammoth Caves National Park is home to the world’s longest (known) stretch of connected caves, covering over 400 miles underground. During my time there, I think I covered about ONE of those miles. So where does the sales insight come in?

The history of the caves is an interesting one as initially they thought the caves were only a few miles long. Almost 200 years of exploration slowly revealed not only new passageways, but other caves systems that connected from two other entrances over 100 miles from the historic entrances. People in the early 1900s were going down there with oil lanterns and probing and mapping the caves, squeezing through 7 inch high holes, wading through underground rivers, and meticulously and patiently exploring further and further into the darkness.

“OK, get to the point?” Fine, but it’s raining today so I’m taking my time.

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

The point is this – as I watched and read about these explorers, I thought it was an apt analogy for the start of a new quarter in the world of sales. You made it to end of Q1. You think you know what you’re doing, and you’re going about things today more or less the same way you were in late March. Here’s the problem – if you do that, you’re going to keep thinking you found the end of the cave, and miss the other 400 miles that someone else will find. You have to keep probing, keep improving, keep changing. If you approach today the exact same way you approached things in Q1, you can more or less expect the same results. I don’t think any of us would say we’d be hard pressed to improve on our Q1. Keep the things that worked for you, but keep going further as well.

As we hiked, we saw some deer in the woods that surround the caves that were so used to humans that I was about able to touch them without scaring them. Though it was cool for me, but all I could think was how I didn’t want to be like that deer. I don’t want to get so used to my environment and my routines.

So I’m inviting you to shake it up. Keep probing. Don’t accept that Q2 will look just like Q1 or that you have no say in changing it because sales is a fickle business. There’s miles of opportunities to be explored and they’re waiting for someone else to come along who refuses to accept the status quo. Take a different approach this quarter and see how you can improve. How will your end of quarter in June look different because of what you were willing to explore today?

That’s it folks. I’m gonna hope the rains stops before the Mississippi swallows my rig. It’s a big river, but I think I can take it. Stay tuned next week for national parks in Arkansas!

CIO/CISO Digital Transformation Summit Recap

March 25 – 28, 2018 — JW Marriott Hotel Miami, Miami, FL.

While the overall theme of our CIO, CISO, CDO and CMO Digital Transformation Summits  was “digital transformation is a journey, not a destination”, a sub theme that arose was the importance of storytelling.

A journey can be long and arduous, but also can be an exciting adventure. The ability to understand and communicate a compelling story about a company traveling upon its digital transformation journey can be a rallying cry for the entire organization. In addition, we discussed how digital transformation requires speed and agility. Speed requires trust. Trust requires us to engage not only boards and other senior leaders, but also those who will be implementing the key projects that comprise the digital transformation journey. Engaging requires us to be great story tellers of WHY – “Why we need to do what needs to be done.”

Thanks to all who participated but a special note of thanks to our MC Vivian Schneck-Last and our many presenters and panelists.

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

CIO & CISO Dallas Summit Recap

While the overall theme of our Dallas CIO and CISO Summits was “Digital Transformation is a Journey, not a Destination”, a sub theme was the need for “secure innovation”.

We need to work as a community to innovate our companies, but security needs to be designed in from the beginning instead of being an afterthought. In addition, we discussed how digital transformation requires speed and agility. Speed requires Trust.  Trust requires us to engage not only boards and other senior leaders, but also those who will be implementing the key projects that comprise the digital transformation journey. Engaging requires us to be great story tellers of WHY – “Why we need to do what needs to be done.”

Thanks to all who participated, but a special note of thanks to our MC Jerry Garcia and our presenters:

We also want to thank each of our panelists:

1. CIOs/CISOs as the Consummate Consumer

  • Peeyush Patel – Vice President of Information Security at Experian
  • Anil Agrawa – Senior Vice President of Digital Transformation & Delivery at Citi
  • Sonja Hammond – Chief Information Security Officer at Essilor of America

2. What’s the Next Stop on the Transformation Journey?

  • Michael Dymond – Vice President Information Technology / Chief Information Officer at Cardtronics
  • Chandra Gundlapalli – Managing Director at Charles Schwab

We are confident that you created new connections with your peers, uncovered one or more new ideas that will impact your digital transformation efforts and found several new solution providers that can help your achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you again soon.