Summit 2015 | Chicago, IL

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.

Pre-Event Workshops and Activities

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.

Summit Day 1 – Morning

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 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.

Summit Day 1 – Afternoon

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, much more.

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!

Special Guest

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.

Halfway Mark

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.

Day 2 - Morning

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.

Annual Awards

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.

Day 2 - Afternoon

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!

In Closing

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!

LS 15 Conference slides are available for download to AA-ISP Professional and Corporate members from the list on this page, or the conference slide library.

View recaps from other years:

Download Presentation Slides
General Sessions
Powering Sales Growth with Predictive Analytics - Dave Elkington How Salespeople are Becoming Mini-Marketers - Tawheed Kader (TK) Mastering Inbound Sales - Nick Hedges How to Use Technology to Increase Salespeoples' Performance by 450% - Bridget Gleason LB's Top 10 Report - Lauren Bailey Using Insights From Neuroscience to Improve Sales Coaching - Tom Snyder Is Talent Really Needed to Succeed in Sales…Or Can It Be Learned? - Chad Burmeister You Get What You Incentivize - Best Practices for Inside Sales Leaders - Chris Hodges Bluebirds & Dodos - Removing Surprises from Your Pipeline with Predictive Scoring - David Singh Social Selling: It's Not Just for Prospecting Anymore - Michael Idinopulos Drive Sales Performance & Lead Your Team To Victory: The Transformative Effect of Engagement Data - Jim Benton How to Effectively Use Outsourced Resources to Augment Your Inside Sales - Drew Allen
Breakout Sessions
Strengthen Your Sales Managers' Ability to Produce More Sales - Jeffrie Story 7 Strategies to Triple the Output of your Sales Development People - Kyle Porter Leading Today's Inside Sales Force to New Levels of Success - Erik Therwanger How Sales Operations Can Double Your Sales Team's Productivity - Matt Heinz Accelerating the Sales Cycle with the Three A's: Analytics, Actionable Intelligence, and Adaptability - Micheline Nijmeh Why Your Sales Contests Aren't Working and How to Fix Them Using Gamification - Adam Hollander The Death of Field Sales - Justin Roff-Marsh Compliance and You - Sandy Lynskey Art of the Screen Share - Doug Devitre Selling Above AND Below the Line: 2 Value propositions are better than 1 - Tom Latourette CRMs are for Losers - Uzi Shmilovici The Power of the Queue: Driving Inside Sales Momentum & Performance! - David Hood How to Create a Winning Sales Culture That Drives Results - Gavin Gamber Predictable Revenue with Cold Outreach - Manuel Medina Sales Conditioning for the 21st Century! - Mike Pierce - "Antarctic Mike" Is CRM Measuring Up? Results from a Market-Wide Study - David Ackert Decision By Consensus: How Do We Still Make the Sale? - Phil Garlick Host: Executive Panel - Emerging Trends, Tools, and Technologies - Chad Burmeister Best Practices Around Modernizing and Optimizing your CRM Strategy/Solution - Jason Hanley Buying Acceleration: 5 Steps to 2x your close rate in 1 sales cycle - Matt Behrend Teach your team to get an appointment with anyone. Guaranteed. No hurdles. No roadblocks. No excuses. - Mike Scher Revamping Your Sales Strategy to Accelerate Your Sales Pipeline - Mike Hayes Crush Sales Targets with the Right Technology Mix - Monica Girolami There's no "I" in sales! - How better collaboration drives better sales results - Christine Pavalon Leading and Developing a SMB Inside Sales Team - Vincent Gatti