Dubbed one of Hubspot’s “12 Top Sales Conferences You Should Attend in 2016,” the highly anticipated TOPO Sales Summit is just around the corner. Next week, on Thursday and Friday, more than 600 sales leaders responsible for more than $50B in revenue, will convene at San Francisco’s Pier 27 to discuss and learn how to drive exceptional growth in sales. The conference is hosted by none other than TOPO, the research and advisory firm that helps hyper-growth companies optimize leads, obtain higher conversion rates, secure larger deals, shorten sales cycles, and reduce customer churn. The company’s results are impressive; according to TOPO, its clients grow twice as fast as the competition.
As with any conference, it’s important to plan ahead, develop a strategy, and make the most out of every session. While this year’s Summit will be divided into four dedicated tracks (inside sales, sales leadership, sales development, and sales technology), you’ll need to narrow the scope even more to help make the most of your days. We at Node, your personal sales analyst, have identified the four speakers you definitely won’t want to miss:
1. Lars Nilsson, Cloudera
Lars Nilsson will arrive at the Summit with more than 25 years of sales and operations experience in the technology sector. Currently VP of Global Inside Sales at Cloudera, he’s helped the company become a recognized standard in enterprise, as well as the single largest contributor to the Hadoop open source software community.
Shortly after arriving at Cloudera, Nilsson identified several sales inefficiencies in need of improvement and immediately sought to fix them. One such inefficiency was tied to a complicated pricing model that tended to be labor-intensive in seeking assistance and approval. For a company that generates more than 1,000 quotes per quarter, the time wasted was debilitating. Under Nilsson’s initiative, the team adopted the Salesforce app SteelBrick CPQ and has since reaped enormous benefits. Today, sales reps can configure 90% of quotes without the need for added assistance.
Over the past quarter of a decade, Nilsson has become a leading expert in deploying and integrating sales tools (especially within the Salesforce environment), such that they promote organizational adoption of Salesforce. In a world where sales reps who don’t use CRM jeopardize their potential to meet sales targets (reportedly at a rate of 78%),
Nilsson’s advice is golden. Tune into this session and ensure that your sales organization isn’t predestined to face the reality that 25-60% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations.
2. Ryan Azus, RingCentral
Ryan Azus has an impressive track record of success in the SaaS and Internet industries. He’s held stints at Cisco, as well as at WebEx, where he served as VP of Online Sales and saw the company through its acquisition by Cisco. He currently acts as Senior VP of Worldwide Sales at RingCentral, where he’s responsible for growing the company’s sales channel. Azus has helped the company become a leader in the Unified Communications as a Service (“UCaaS”) space. In the words of Craig Rosenberg, TOPO cofounder, “RingCentral has built one of the most data-driven sales organizations on earth. It’s a predictable, systematic sales organization that is scaling at an extraordinary rate.” With more than 300,000 global customers, Azus certainly has his hands full.
Azus’ session is a must-see for sales novices and veterans alike. Rosenberg has set the bar particularly high for the session, remarking, “The RingCentral story is one you won’t find elsewhere. People will love to hear this RingCentral story.” Don’t miss out on your chance.
3. Steven Broudy, MuleSoft
Steven Broudy leads North American Sales Development at MuleSoft. He’s played a key role in helping the company become one of the fastest-growing organizations in the enterprise software space. Under his leadership, MuleSoft’s North American account development organization has grown threefold in size. Sustained growth, however, has not been easy. Hiring, according to Broudy, has presented the greatest challenge. Despite MuleSoft’s rapid growth, only 3% of applicants are ultimately hired. Broudy is stringent in selecting candidates that will not only prove to be top sales performers but will also be team players. He shies away from hiring “lone wolves,” explaining “A lone wolf in sales can be successful, but [lead generation] is a team sport….Lone wolves don’t lead, even if they do succeed.”
This former member of the 75th US Army Ranger Regiment does not take his job lightly. He ensures that his sales team is always prepared for battle. This has involved carefully selecting the tools that will allow them to confront the competition and come out on top. The sales team’s arsenal is equipped with tools for lead generation (DiscoverOrg, SalesLoft Prospector, Lattice, Lead Gen Engine, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator), outreach (SalesLoft Cadence and Marketo), and CRM (Salesforce), as well as a suite of tools for big analytics. For an individual who feels “like a fraud if I don’t know everything about what I’m doing,” you can rest assured you won’t need to take anything you hear in this session with a grain of salt.
4. Jeff Ma, Twitter
Jeff Ma reigns from MIT, where he was a member of the school’s highly acclaimed and profitable Blackjack team. Ma was the inspiration for the 2008 film “21,” starring Kevin Spacey. After college, Ma played his cards well in the startup domain, founding multiple successful companies, including Golfspan (sold to Demand Media), Circle Lending (sold to Virgin), and Citizen Sports (sold to Yahoo!). In his next trip to the tables, Ma founded TenXer, a management software program that helps developers work together more efficiently (since sold to Twitter.) Now, in addition to participating in weekly appearances on ESPN as its resident analytics expert, he serves as Director of Business Insights at Twitter, where he is tasked with using data-driven decisions to drive company growth. Companies ranging from Sports Illustrated to Ford to McDonalds constantly seek his advice. Ma’s session is one that you won’t want to miss if you too want to play your cards right when it comes to sales excellence.
The TOPO Sales Summit is sure to be a highlight of 2016 for sales professionals. The speaker lineup is exceptional. Ma’s session alone will surely be worth the cost of admission (according to Keppler, his speaking fee can be as high as $20,000). Don’t forget to also find time to meet TOPO founder Craig Rosenberg. At Node, since we’re always trying to prime you to find the right people and maximize your network intelligence, we want to give you a heads up: Rosenberg will “hug you when [he sees] you,” with one exception: for “some dudes, [he] might give a hearty handshake or a “bro-hug.”