The 2015 AA-ISP Leadership Summit was the largest gathering of Inside Sales Leaders ever! Over 700 attendees, 75+ presenters and 50 exhibitors came together at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in beautiful Chicago, Illinois for two days in April to learn, share, and network.
The Annual AA-ISP Summit has earned a reputation as the “Inside Sales” conference of the year and is known for delivering high-quality content, filled with valuable, relevant information. Attendee feedback shows the 7th Annual Summit was no exception, and showcased many exceptional presentations and important emerging technologies and services.
In response to attendees' insatiable thirst for knowledge, the 2015 Summit included two, optional Pre-Event Workshops
held on the Monday preceding the Summit, and focused on key challenges facing today’s sales leaders.
The first workshop, Leveraging Your Leadership Potential, was hosted by award winning author and speaker, John Baker. John presented his highly acclaimed Asking Formula program which teaches us how to be more effective when asking ”we want”, a skill which leads to stronger sales results, more confident and effective communications, as well as a heightened professional image.
The second workshop, Woman and Inside Sales Leadership, was a two-part session which started with an in-depth interview with two highly successful women sales leaders, Megan Dahlen, Vice President Global Inside Sales at Infor, and Director WW Business Development for Netsuite, Liz Cain. Megan and Liz shared their stories along with some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way, and how they overcame them to advance their careers.
Part two of the Woman and Inside Sales Leadership workshop was conducted by Colleen Stanley, award-winning author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success and Growing Great Sales Teams. Colleen discussed how emotional intelligence skills such as empathy, impulse control, and assertiveness produce hard results, and she showed why they’re so important for sales success and career advancement.
Attendees from both workshops reported they gained valuable, practicable knowledge and left feeling excited, energized, and ready for more!
In addition to the workshops, several corporations who use the Summit as an opportunity to bring their teams together to learn also held team planning meetings throughout the facility. The AA-ISP Chapter Leaders also came together for their annual meeting to recognize and celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and plan for 2015.
The pre-event activities continued into the evening with another new addition, the first ever Summit Attendee Welcome Reception held in the Exhibitor Hall. This provided the perfect venue for Summit Attendees to come together to relax, meet fellow sales leaders, catch up with old friends, and visit the Exhibitors.
As is the Summit tradition, 2015 opened with an inspiring video highlighting the Inside Sales community, the current
movement, and what that means to all of us. This was followed by insightful opening remarks from AA-ISP Founder and
Chairman Bob Perkins, as he reinforced the message of the exploding growth within our profession and some of the
opportunities, responsibilities, and challenges that comes along with that growth. He left with a challenge for all
to make this Summit, and this coming year, their best yet.
Bob’s challenge transitioned well to Summit Keynote, Judy Buchholz, General Manager of IBM Digital Sales. Judy discussed “The Future of Inside Sales” and detailed the steps her organization is taking to address these major shifts happening in our profession today. She also shared IBM’s vision for the ongoing evolution of the inside seller and the incredibly bright future of Inside Sales.
Following Judy, was a thought provoking presentation by Dave Elkington, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of InsideSales.com. In Dave’s fast-moving session he examined how top sales teams are applying data science and predictive analytics to increase productivity, improve conversion rates, and drive stronger sales growth. He went on to discuss the human potential, and dared attendees to dream of what’s possible as he showed a film clip of a Stanford University Research Project featuring a computer-controlled helicopter doing some incredible flying stunts that are also “humanly” possible, yet will most likely never be attempted by a human due to the “fear” of failure and the reality of what that means – good thing sales is not the same as stunt-flying a helicopter upside down!
The morning continued with informative presentations from the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ToutApp, Tawheed Kader (TK) on the growth of social selling and content marketing, and how it is increasing the need for our salespeople to also be marketers. Following TK, was Bridget Gleason, Vice President of Sales at Yesware. Always lively, Bridget revealed how she used technology to debunk common email myths, effectively coach millennials, and implement a winning social-selling strategy in her organization.
The morning concluded with content-rich presentations from Tom Snyder, Managing Partner at VorsightBP, as he discussed how neuroscience can help us to improve sales coaching, and Chris Hodges, Senior Vice President at Noble Systems, who provided numerous practical tips on how Inside Sales leaders can help generate efficiencies, make more sales, drive revenue, manage compliance, and reduce costs.
Following a lively, conversation-filled lunch, attendees headed downstairs for the first breakout sessions of the
Summit. Over 30 breakout sessions were conducted during the course of the Summit which provided attendees a wide
selection of topics and allowed them to select sessions that matched their individualized learning needs and
interests. Topics included: Executive Leadership, Global & Enterprise Organizations, Technologies & Tools and much,
The afternoon continued with attendees gathering back in general session which started with AA-ISP Director of Member Services, Ashley Becker, as she provided an update on AA-ISP activities and shared several AA-ISP announcements. Members of the AA-ISP joined Ashley, sharing their experiences and some of the benefits they’ve enjoyed from membership.
Velocify Chief Executive Officer Nick Hedges took the stage next and shared his four golden rules on how sales organizations can turn more inbound leads into revenue, building a high-velocity sales engine.
Enthusiastic and full of passion, Lauren Bailey (LB), Founder and President of Factor 8, wrapped up the first-day sessions on an informative note with her “Top 10 Report”. Lauren shared proven tips and strategies through real-life examples of “lessons learned” that her and her team of experts have seen after years in the trenches of Inside Sales. She even entertained attendees as she sang a tune she wrote to commemorate the day and drill home key points. Lauren even had attendees singing along with her – pretty tough to do after a full day!
The 2015 Special Guest was Five-Time Olympic Champion, Greg Louganis. As the greatest diving champion of all time, Greg gave a heartfelt presentation on “Winning Through Perseverance” where he shared insight into what it took to reach and stay at the pinnacle of his profession – something many of us strive for every day.
The AA-ISP Networking Reception was a welcome way to end a very full day as attendees gathered together to enjoy food, refreshments, and good company. The exhibit hall was electric as attendees mingled with fellow leaders discussing the day and visited Exhibitors to learn about the latest technologies, trends, and innovations. For many, the good times continued into the night as they enjoyed the wonderful local nightlife Chicago has to offer.
The day began with what has become a Leadership Summit favorite for many attendees, the Birds-of-a-Feather
Roundtable discussions. Hosted by subject-matter experts, these topic-focused discussions offer a unique opportunity
to meet for small, intimate conversations with fellow Inside Sales leaders on some very specific topics.
The morning presentations opened with a lively discussion on sales coaching and skill building, led by Chris Beall, Chief Executive Officer for ConnectAndSell, and longtime AA-ISP Member, Chapter President, and Vice President of Sales & Marketing with ConnectAndSell, Chad Burmeister. Morning sessions continued with a thought-provoking look at how critical it is to understand customer engagement rather than just sales activity alone from Jim Benton, Chief Business Officer & Co-Founder at ClearSlide. Jim reminded us how important it is to have clear insight into the ongoing sales activities.
Drew Allen, Business Development Manager for Quality Contact Solutions, concluded the morning’s general session with a glimpse into the world of outsourcing. Drew shared insight and real-world examples on how outsources can help augment an organization’s selling efforts, and how to work effectively together.
The morning continued with additional presentations, panel discussions, and targeted breakout sessions led by many of today’s most recognizable Inside Sales Experts.
After enjoying the final breakout sessions, attendees gathered for a popular highlight of the Summit - the Annual
AA-ISP Awards Banquet. This is a once-a-year celebration where Inside Sales Professionals, Organizations, and
Service Providers are honored for their accomplishments, contributions, and dedication to our profession.
Hosted by former Lifetime Award winner, Trish Bertuzzi, Founder & Chief Strategist for The Bridge Group, the Awards Banquet moved quickly as more than 40 Inside Sales awards were presented, including the Lifetime Achievement Award to Bruce Church, AA-ISP Spirt Award to Amy Appleyard, and Executive of the Year to Regina Manfredi.
In addition, the AA-ISP Top 25 Most Influential list was announced and the AA-ISP Chapter Awards were presented. In 2015, winning AA-ISP Chapters included: International Chapter of the Year - Ireland, and Chapter of the Year - Orange County.
The AA-ISP went on to recognize the vast group of volunteer sales leaders who serve as Chapter Presidents, Officers, and/or Advisory Board Members. Finally, a tender moment was enjoyed, as the AA-ISP Advisory Board came on stage to surprise AA-ISP Chief Executive Officer Larry Reeves with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.
The AA-ISP Award program is based on input from our member community. For a complete list of Award Winners and categories visit the AA-ISP Awards Page.
After a short break, attendees gathered for the afternoon’s general sessions starting with an engaging presentation
on motivating your teams from Sean D. Murray, Senior Director General Business Sales, Xactly Corporation. Michael
Idinopulos, Chief Marketing Officer for Peoplelinx, followed with a compelling presentation about using social
networks to establish an effective outside presence for Inside Sales, and what skills and behaviors reps and teams
need in order to be digitally noticed.
Following Michael, David Signh, Director of Sales for Lattice Engines, discussed how innovative analytical technologies can provide reps with insight into which sales will convert and which will not – and the tremendous impact this will have on your bottom line.
The 2015 Leadership Summit wrapped up with another new addition as AA-ISP Founder and Chairman Bob Perkins was joined by a group of panelists for an Executive Discussion to look at the lessons learned and takeaways from the event. A highly interactive and productive conversation ensued as the floor was opened up for attendees to share thoughts, feedback, and suggestions. The conversation broadened to include the past, present, and future of the AA-ISP, and our events, resources and ever-growing community!
Attendees say the 2015 Leadership Summit was an experience and conference unlike any other. With over 700 fellow
leaders coming together to learn, share, network, and grow their skills, the buzz during and after the event was
amazing. Steve Richard, AA-ISP Advisory Board Member and Co-Founder of VorsightBP, put it well as he closed the
Annual Awards banquet. Steve reminded us that the value of being a part of such a "community" is fostering the
growth, advancement, and opportunity for not only each other, but also the profession.
As you go on through the rest of 2015 and beyond, we at the AA-ISP hope we have provided you with useful knowledge and skills. We invite and encourage you to implement what you have learned, take advantage of the community and its resources, and invest in your continued personal growth.
Look forward to seeing you next year!