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.


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!


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.


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.



CIO & CISO Southern California Summit Recap

While the overall theme of our CIO & CISO Southern California Summits was “digital transformation is a journey, not a destination”, a sub theme was the importance of trust to make digital transformation a reality.

Digital transformation requires speed and agility. Speed requires trust. Trust requires us to engage not only board members 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”. The reason behind why we need to do what needs to be done. As Nemi George said to us, we need to move from things to people.

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

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 Chicago Summit Recap

Thank you to all delegate attendees, sponsors, the Westin River North and the rest of the CDM Media team for a fantastic event in Chicago, IL on March 8th, 2018. Delegates from companies like Aon, New York Life Insurance, GE Capital, State of Illinois and more joined our sponsors (Cybereason, Prevoty, Thales eSecurity, Cherwell Software, IBM, Soliant Consulting, Winthrop Resources, Workday) to discuss the topics around Digital Transformation Is a Journey, Not a Destination.

The day kicked off with a presentation by Nevin Zimmermann, CIO at GE Capital, about CIOs’ dilemmas (“What is your strategy? Do we have the right people? What is the cost?”) and solutions (leveraging startups, learn to fund, get efficient, know your team).

The summit attendees spent the remainder of the day in numerous think tank sessions, panels, roundtable meetings to discuss the industries’ top trends and topics. The discuss went deeper into digital transformation and specific challenges around artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and different strategies.

The CIO of the State of Illinois, Ken Lonbom, shared details from his presentation on what Illinois’s IT department has done to stay secure as well as incentivize start-up growth in Chicago as the new Silicon Valley. Erik Devine, CISO at Riverside Healthcare, shared his struggles of a reactive industry and attempting to stay “proactively reactive.”

After a full morning of discussion, the summit was rejuvenated through the panel discussion after lunch. Tim Walter, CIO/SVP at Randa Accessories, Paige Adams, Group CISO at Zurich Insurance, and Mark Lovelace, VP & CIO at Masterlock, shared what their biggest threats were and how to combat them. The biggest takeaway from this session was that they wanted their department to be enablers and preventers. They are not looking to respond to requests with a “NO”, but rather a “HOW”.

Along with that, the panel shared how they are looking for solution providers who do not just want to sell a product, but actually partner with them in order to solve their problems. And that’s exactly what the sponsors wanted. Two sponsors came back to the CDM Media team and shared their successes and confidence that relationship were created.

In addition, a journalist from Inc. Magazine came in to interview the executive attendees and sponsors as well as our CEO, Glenn Willis.

Stay tuned for news and updates on our next CIO & CISO Chicago Summit on October 18th, 2018 as well as other opportunities to gather as a community to learn from each other.

CDM Media Announces Partnership with ISSA-LA

Los Angeles – February 27, 2018: CDM Media, a leading B2B marketing and media firm, has announced a partnership with ISSA-LA, who will partner with CDM Media for CDM Media’s CISO SoCal Summit in Los Angeles on March 20, 2018 along with ISSA-LA CISO Forum on May 4th, 2018 in Universal City.

At the ISSA-LA CISO Forum experience cutting-edge educational sessions presented by a world-class line up of speakers, including Ira Winkler (one of the world’s experts in internet security and information warfare), Mark Weatherford (former CISO for California), and Robert Hansen (CISO at OutsideIntel). There will be a great CISO panel hitting on the key issues you face. The forum takes place during the ISSA LA Summit X where you will have access to two great keynote presentations from Robert Herjavec, Shark tank investor and President, Herjavec Group; and Marcus Ranum, Network and Security Researcher.

There will also be two full days of discounted training classes on May 2-3:

  • Essential Defensive Strategies with Kevin Cardwell
  • Embedded Security & Reverse Engineering 101 with Aaron Guzman
  • The OWASP Application Security Verification Standard 3.1 with Jim Manico
  • So You Want to Run a Secure Service on AWS? with William Bengston
  • Using CyberOps Deception to Protect the Network with Kevin Cardwell

Sign up today at

The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) is the community of choice for international cyber security professionals dedicated to advancing individual growth, managing technology risk, and protecting critical information and infrastructure. ISSA members and award winners include many of the industry’s notable luminaries and represent a broad range of industries – from communications, education, healthcare, manufacturing, financial and consulting to IT – as well as federal, state and local government departments and agencies. Through regional chapter meetings, conferences, networking events and content, members tap into a wealth of shared knowledge and expertise. Visit ISSA on the web at and follow us on Twitter at @ISSAINTL.

About CDM Media
CDM Media is a leading B2B technology marketing and media firm, producing C-level executive events all over the world. CDM Media specializes in technology summits and custom events for C-level executives from Fortune 1000 companies, together with major technology solution providers. These events are driven by industry, region, organizational role and current hot topics, enabling attending delegates to address current issues and trends, learn from one another, network and generate key takeaways. CDM Media is headquartered in Chicago. To learn more, visit

Mad Men, Don Draper & Customer Journeys

From architecture to home furnishings to furniture design, Mid-Century Modern seems to be everywhere. Whether it is the clean lines or the associated perceived simplicity of the 1950s, Mid-Century Modern is making a comeback.

While this a popular trend in our personal lives, it clearly is not applicable to our corporate lives, especially for those responsible for marketing and driving demand for their products. Don Draper and his team from the hit series Mad Men had only a very few options available to them: TV, radio, newspaper and magazines. In addition to the limited venues to tell the story, the balance of power was tipped towards the advertiser.  As Don Draper says in the show “People want to be told what to do so badly they’ll listen to anyone.”

Fast forward to 2018 and marketers are faced with two major shifts:

  1. Digital native (and those non-digital native that have adapted) consumers do not wait to be told what to do, feel or think. They drive the story through the myriad social media tools at their disposal.
  2. Digital technologies has totally transformed the customer journey to be cross-channel and omni-channel.

And while we may wish for the simpler days of 1950s advertising, it is never coming back. The marketers today need to be adept at more than the story and the creative process. They need to both understand and make quick decisions based on the data available to them. Cost-per-lead (CPL), cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and customer-acquisition-costs (CAC) are driving marketers to be intensely focused on attribution of marketing budgets to bottom line results.

On March 25th – 28th a group of CMOs and digital marketing leaders will come together at the CMO Digital Transformation Summit to further discuss how digital transformation is impacting today’s customer journey.

Some of the presentations will include:

Join us at our CMO Digital Transformation Summit in Miami on March 25th – 28th to network and collaborate with these industry experts.

Digital Transformation: Impacts of a Digital Native Customer & Employee Base

We live. We work. We play. We help. We consume. These are relative constant actions of the human race. Humans have been doing these things for thousands of years. However, through the ages there has always been an evolution, or sometimes a revolution, on how we did these things.

In 2018, what does this look like? Clearly we have moved into a mobile-first world. We expect the people we interact with to be ready to respond instantly with a text, a photo or a video. Then, we wonder if something is wrong if we do not get instantaneous responses. This is just one impact of an increasingly “digital native” society.

Now. Here. Whenever I want. The way I want it. Consumers are making brand choices partly on the ability to provide the required customer journey of mobile-first. If a company makes it hard for someone to buy a product via their smart device, they will have a hard time competing for the digital native consumer.

This is true as well for employees. A digital native employee expects to be able to work where and whenever. They are demanding tools to match how they think, how they live, how they process information. Again, a company that makes it hard for their employees to work this way will see either sub-optimum performance or high employee churn.

In Miami, March 25th – 28th, a group of IT leaders (CIOs, CISOs and more) will come together to discuss the implications of the digitally native customer and employee.

One specific topic we will be discussing will be how to travel the road of Digital Transformation while avoiding the inevitable potholes. We are pleased that Keith Fuentes from Samsung will be sharing his insights on:

  • How does mobile enablement directly affect my business?
  • What are digital native consumers demanding from the companies they consume from?
  • Which workers are most likely to demand and/or require new systems and why?
  • Is the cloud really the panacea that it’s cracked up to be?
  • How to avoid the pitfalls and costs of inadequate security.

Click here to join us at our Digital Transformation Summit in Miami on March 25th – 28th to network and collaborate with these industry experts.