InsightSquared was honored to be a Platinum Sponsor at the American Association of Inside Sales (AA-ISP) Professionals Leadership Summit 2013 this past week in Chicago. We were excited to meet with and listen to eminent sales industry experts on the most important topics and innovations in the inside sales industry today.

The two-day event kicked off with AA-ISP founder Bob Perkins highlighting the theme for this year’s conference: Success comes from the inside! Another important point he made is that sales coaching and company culture are ever more important contributors to sales success today. Perkins revealed, from the organization’s most recent Inside Sales Study, that the two biggest challenges for sales managers were in hiring good inside sales reps and implementing a good on-boarding process for productivity.

A talk from Devon Harris, a three-time Olympian and one of the original team members of the famous Jamaican Bobsled Team, added considerable buzz to the conference. Harris talked about the importance of determination, self-belief and leadership from within.

Another speaker, Jack Mitchell, the author of “Hug Your Customers,” gave the message about the importance of embracing your customers.  Interestingly, after the talk, there were actual physical hugs and verbal compliments alike that were exchanged between attendees. Amid all this, there was much learning and collaborative networking going on.

At an event populated by so many industry experts, it would be impossible to give due credit to every speaker we met or had the privilege of listening to. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight a few of our favorite speakers.

Steve Richard (@srichardv)
The Co-Founder of Vorsight (and an InsightSquared customer), Steve is a thought-leader when it comes to sales training and coaching. At his panel “Closing the Sales Coaching Gap,” Steve noted that without consistent on-the-job reinforcement, sales reps could lose up to 87% of their training within one month. He also stressed that today’s generation of sales reps crave mentoring and coaching, removing many of the barriers to sales coaching that existed in the past.

Trish Bertuzzi (@bridgegroupinc)
The Founder and Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group, Trish was named the AA-ISP Consulting Provider of the Year. She also led a panel on ‘The Power of Playbooks,’ where she stressed the importance of storytelling in sales. Sales reps – not their managers – need to take ownership of their sales playbooks, with an emphasis on repeatable activities and scalable tactics. Trish also co-presented on the Big Data time machine and why organizations should incorporate historical and future data together to gain better insight that drives buyer conversations. Typically powerful and compelling stuff from Trish.

Ken Krogue (@kenkrogue)
As the Co-Founder and President of, Ken Krogue is rightfully regarded as a formidable expert in the field (he won the award for Top SaaS Provider of 2013) and brought a bevy of research findings and statistics to his presentation, ‘2013 Market Study: The Growth and Convergence of the Inside Sales Industry.’ Some of our favorite stats include the fact that converted leads received 95% more calls on average than leads that did not convert; at 5 voicemail messages, you become a pest to your prospect; and thirteen calls per lead is the magic number to optimize your close rate. His discussion gave aspiring sales managers and reps some quality benchmarks to shoot for.

Tom Stanfill (CEO – Aslan Training and Development), Ralph Barsi – (Inside Sales Manager – InsideView), Tom Snyder (Senior Sales Advisor and co-founder – Team Visibility) and Gary Milwit (SVP – Stone Street Capital) were some other speakers who we enjoyed meeting and listening to. All four shared their thoughts and expertise on the primary theme of the conference, namely the importance of sales coaching.

  • Tom Stanfill discussed several key techniques to remove inherent barriers to coaching sales reps, while urging managers to spend less of their time and effort on reps who demonstrate little desire and potential to change.

  • Ralph Barsi emphasized that, more than ever, the best job candidates prioritize the culture and values of companies. Good values in a company tend to attract good people to come work for them.

  • Tom Snyder pointed out that sales management largely consisted of 4 functions – coaching, inspection, celebration and recruiting. The best managers must report results, diagnose objectives and then coach reps in important activities.

  • Gary Milwit, a former high school athletic director and football and baseball coach, admitted that players (sales reps) win games, while coaches take responsibility for losses. Sales coaches have to accept this and focus on coaching their players toward greater success.

  • Finally, Zorian Rotenberg, a VP at InsightSquared, rounded out the two-day conference with a discussion on Best Practices of Analytical Sales Management. Zorian noted that at companies with data-driven cultures, sales by the numbers should be treated as a science.

Being around so many like-minded sales leaders and experts was truly exciting. We also enjoyed sharing ideas with sales experts on the best in class inside sales coaching, training and analytical sales management and the state of the industry moving forward was. There were great insights gained and we are looking forward to the next AA-ISP Leadership Summit.


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