Even if you’re the highest-performing rep on the sales team, there are only so many days you can spend wandering an exhibit hall or sitting in windowless hotel ballrooms.
On any given week, there could be a multi-day conference, a breakfast roundtable discussion or evening event that directly pertains to the audience for your company’s products and services. Sometimes there can be opportunities to directly pitch prospects and customers at these gatherings. In many cases, however, it’s frowned upon both by organizers and attendees. You don’t want to be the person trying to co-opt someone else’s learning experience by trying to close a deal.
That means many of the conferences for sales people that run over the course of 2018 will only be worth registering if you have other goals in mind. Some of these can be internal and intrinsic, while others might be part of a larger, longer-term strategy to stay relevant and connected to the industry you serve.
No matter how you look at it, though, there are inevitably going to be too many events to attend in a single year. Sales managers (and their managers) will want reps spending the majority of their time making calls, booking meetings or other activities that lead more directly to revenue generation by better managing the data in CRM like Sales Cloud.
As you look over the various event calendars and conference compilations that tend to get posted on various publications and blogs this time of year, try using the following “EIA” Model to judge what will be the best way to manage your time.
The whole point of conferences and events is to bring the right mix of people together to share information that will be helpful and actionable. For sales reps trying to penetrate a particular industry, however, what gets covered in many of the sessions might not necessarily apply directly to their role. Instead, it might give a window into their customers’ and prospects’ day to day lives and challenges in order to be more relevant and personal.
Instead of just being a fly on the wall, however, look for a few clues when you’re studying the conference web site or event invite to see if there might be some extra value, such as:
Great salespeople already know this, but it becomes a lot easier to close deals and meet your quota when you feel genuinely motivated by the people to whom you’re selling. Conferences and events tend to bring out the best of the best as keynotes who can remind reps that all those rejections are worth it -- if they can eventually find ways to connect with and help those who really want the help.
Of course, inspiration may seem like a nice-to-have for reps who are facing significant pressure to make commission every month. You can probably skip the event or conference based on these factors:
Let’s say you can only go to two or three conferences a year. You need to have real, honest-to-goodness ROI baked in before you even arrive. More specifically, you need to make sure that by going to the event you’ll get something that will directly assist with your next sale. Be creative in how you make that call, though. Don’t overlook any of these opportunities:
One last piece of advice: As you pick and choose the best events to attend, think of the lunch n’ learn you could provide to the rest of your team when you get back. They’re no doubt working on their own time management issues. If you can pack a good summary of what you saw and heard into a 20 or 30-minute session, it might become the most important event they attend all year long.