The Sales Conference took place on November 19th at Annexet, Ericsson Globe Arena, Stockholm. It was a success for the 12th consecutive year. Facts, trends and research gave us insights into what 2020 will bring. With 900 participants, 26 dedicated exhibitors and six keynote speakers this is still the largest event for sales and marketing executives in the Nordics. Here is a summary of the day in case you didn't have the fortune to attend this year.
The day started with ProSales Institute's founder, Henrik Larsson-Broman, speaking about "Business by Emphaty". It is no longer sufficient to have the best products, or know the most about the customers' needs. To differentiate today, firms need to contribute to something bigger - demonstrate emphaty for the surrounding world.
The morning continued with Susanne Rönnqvist Ahmadi, VP International Marketing at Hubspot, telling us how we got everything wrong about the sales funnel. Sales is not a linear process, ending with a closing. We should think more about how we grow with and through existing customers. Because when prospects make their choice they put more trust in referrals and other customers than in you and your sales reps.
After a short energizing break for a collective singing lesson delivered to the 900 participants, professor Jamie Anderson energized the audience on how to be more creative and innovative interacting with customers. His message was that customer interactions are complex in B2B, which requires creative abilities from all customer-facing functions. The problem is that although we are all born creative, we become less creative as we grow. One explanation is the corporate environment. We need to make time to think creatively, and stay off distractions, to take control over our creativity.
After a vegetarian lunch, during which Linkedin shared some insights on social selling, Jenny Dearborn entered the stage. She shared insights on how to make sales organizations more data driven, based on her career as a HR director in SAP, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Her recommendation was to constantly ask yourselves regarding your operations: What can be eliminated? What can be simplified? What can be automated? Where can we get more value?
Jenny was followed by digital strategist Jackie Kothbauer who explained how the platform economy works, and why it is so important to interact with other firms in digital ecosystems. The afternoon ended with rap star and entrepreneur Petter Alexis sharing his insights on how to build a personal brand. Among his advice "be different but humble", was something that stuck to our minds.
For some of the participants, the day was not over. Instead, it turned into a gala evening, with dinner, entertainment and the Sales Awards price ceremony. Gabriel Sauma was awarded "B2B Sales Person of the year", Kristina Hagström-Ilievska "B2B Commercial Excellence Director of the year", the company Ahlsell "B2B Commercial Excellence Company 2019" and e-signing supplier Scrive "B2B Sales Tool Supplier of the year". The individual prize winners were awarded Sjöö Sandström premium watches worth 2500 EUR.