Selling Overshadows Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference


I suppose, to expect the act of selling to be at a minimum during this weeks Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference was a bit naive. What should I have expected from conference attended by a few hundred sales and marketing people?

This was my first Sales 2.0 Conference and I didn’t know what to expect. My hope was to learn something new. Using that as my success metric, the conference underwhelmed. I found myself at the mercy of company pitch after company pitch. Keynotes were far too focused on selling than they were educating.

Making things worse, many of the presenters broke every sales and pitching rule possible. I can’t tell you how many slides included the year their company was started, how many employees they have, the companies they’ve done business with, etc. It was surreal being sold Sales 2.0 products and services with Sales 1.0 techniques. Didn’t we all agree a long time ago; those pitches are dead. One particular presenter had a deck with 125 slides. Thank god he didn’t destroy us all by going through everyone. I couldn’t help but be perturbed by being sold through poor sales techniques, by supposed sales experts at a sales conference. How bizarre is that? We could do a little better at drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Bad sales techniques aside, I did enjoy learning about the new companies providing a breadth of sales support products and services. There was good attendance by sales solutions companies. I will be spending time this week getting to better understand the companies.

It was unfortunate to have keynotes so heavily titled towards the pitch. They overshadowed what could have been a great conference.

The star of the conference was by far, Justin Shriber who’s presentation; Three Reasons Your Sales Organization is Broken was fantastic. Future presenters should take notes from Justin.

In spite of the presentations being mildly veiled sales pitches, the conference attendees were fantastic, providing killer hallway conversations. The networking opportunities were great. My goal was to learn something new. I accomplished it, not as much in the sessions but in the hallways. There are a lot of killer companies starting in world of sales support. There are some impressive people looking to make their mark on sales and social media and it was fun listening to their vision and how they want to change the world of sales. The energy and interaction was awesome.

In the end the question is, did the conference deliver. That is a YES!* The asterisk is to mark that it is worth coming to again if future events are more targeted toward learning and less at selling. I walked away with some good facts and some excellent data. What I was thirsty for was more strategic, forward looking, approaches addressing the ever-changing world of sales. I wanted to see what was coming down the pike. I wanted a glimpse into the sales world that was coming. I was also hoping for more innovative, creative solutions, not just products, that could be implemented in todays struggling sales environments that could make a big difference.

The Sales & Marketing Conference has the ability to do bigger things. There are literally thousands of companies out there large and small who aren’t making their numbers. They are struggling to build efficient sales teams. They are losing to the competition and they are struggling to figure out how to build and manage an efficient revenue engine. There are thousands of companies out there who need sales help.

The Sales and Marketing 2.0 conference could be the event to deliver for those companies. To do that however, the selling is going to have to stop.