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.

 

 

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.

 

Machines Are Friends, Not Foes.

Using Cognitive Computing to Interpret Data & Assess Threats

Popular movies, books and television shows typically position advanced technology as a threat to humanity and all we hold dear. We are shown a world in the future where the human condition has been irreversibly impacted in devastating and destructive ways due to the unintended consequences of building machines with cognitive capabilities.

Yet cognitive computing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing and augmented reality (AR) are seemingly omnipresent, promising huge benefits to companies and individuals alike.

I recently moderated a panel discussion with CIOs and CISOs from Fortune 500 companies where we discussed the positive impact that these new technologies are already providing to their various operations.

One analogy debated was the use of autopilots in the airline industry. Every single day millions of people are trusting cognitive computing as they are trusting pilots who are using autopilot to assist them with the more mundane parts of flying a plane. The group discussed the use of AI and ML to help CIOs and CISOs make more, better and faster decisions, but they are STILL making the decisions.

As digital transformation continues to move from buzzword to reality, there continues to be a massive increase in the amount of data available to assess. This data needs to be assessed to make the best business decisions as well as to prioritize which external security threats are the most critical to resolve or prevent.

In Miami, March 25th-28th a group of CIOs, CISOs and other C-level IT and security leaders will come together at the Digital Transformation Summit and further discuss how these cognitive computing technologies can be a “friend” and not a “foe”.

Notable presentations will include:

Join us at our Digital Transformation Summit in Miami on March 25th – 28th to discuss AI, ML and AR with your peers and others industry leaders.

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.

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.

Balancing the Four Pillars of Cybersecurity: Remediation, Vulnerability, Threat Intelligence & Deception

Unless you have totally unhooked from all media sources, not a day goes by that you are not exposed to a new cybersecurity existential threat or a successful nefarious hacking of a company’s data and records. It is a constant fight and a fight that has very serious ramifications if a company is on the losing end.

Adding to the complexity is the ongoing digital transformation of companies to meet the demands of both customers and employees. The need for instantaneous access to myriad pieces of data is seeing the rise of connected homes, offices and factories brought about by the Internet of Things (IoT). More data means more devices exposed to the threats of unwanted intruders.

CISOs and CIOs have many tools at their disposal, but typically not enough resources or time to deal with all of them. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning promise to provide Information security leaders with faster access to threats, but even with these tools the task of securing your employee and customer data can be daunting.

Generally, there are four pillars that security professionals are grappling with to solve this problem:

  • Remediation: Quickly respond to active threats and intrusions
  • Vulnerability: Using tools to identify the most glaring holes in systems and processes
  • Threat Intelligence: What are the most current threats happening at the current moment
  • Deception: Using camouflage to distract and confuse intruders

In Miami, March 25th-28th a group of CISOs and CIOs will come together at our Digital Transformation Summit to learn from each other as well as leading security technology providers and the best practices to balance these four pillars of cybersecurity architectures.

The presentations will include:

Join us at our 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.

 

CIO & CISO D.C. & Public Sector Summit Recap

Thank you for attending CDM Media’s CIO & CISO D.C. and CIO & CISO Public Sector Summits last week in Washington, D.C. It was a rare experience that brought together technology leaders from corporate, federal government, state and county government, as well as education. Sticking to the theme – digital transformation is a journey, not a destination – it is suffice to say, our attendees made excellent progress last week. We are confident that each attendee was able to walk away from the summits with 2-3 helpful ideas on how to better embrace digital technologies to improve your company or organization. In addition, we are also confident that the attendees left with 2-3 new connections within their peer-to-peer community in efforts to collaborate until we all meet again.

It is difficult to summarize the myriad discussions, presentations and meetings, but if there is a summary it would be this :

  • Digital technologies are driving changes in both the expectations and habits of employees and customers.
  • Companies and organizations are needing to transform how they operate to meet these new expectations and habits.
  • Data is truly the fuel for the journeys we are on.
  • However, this data is under an increasing attack and we need to secure it through remediation, vulnerability assessments, threat intelligence and deception techniques.
  • We need to increase our speed and agility as organizations.
  • We also need to hone our communication skills to be the best story tellers within our companies or organizations such that we are driving digital transformation instead of sitting in the back seat.

If you are interested in attending upcoming summits, please check out our summit calendar. In the meantime, we encourage you to keep our community together by joining our CIO/CISO D.C./Public Sector LinkedIn Group. Please contact Bryce Sack to learn more.

Highlights from the summits: