Category Archives: Trade shows

Dreamforce and a single Pen for an entire year

One Pen : One Year

Single Pen

Dreamforce is on my mind.  The RingLead team is cooking up some interesting (and fun) initiatives for the biggest tech show in the universe.  What will Marc Benioff launch this year?  Every year the industry leadership of Salesforce has stood out.  I’m excited to be going.

What’s with the pen?  First, it is a compact Fisher Space Pen. It is awesome and I have not used another single pen for an entire year.  It was a personal challenge to myself.  I keep it on my keychain and always have it with me.   It writes  upside down and does not stop working like 98% of the pens you typically get from tradeshows.

I just walked around my entire office asking for a bunch of pens (to take a picture) and no one had any from tradeshows.  The sales reps had collected a bunch of them; I knew this.  When asked, it was simple:  “I threw them out Donato.  They stopped working”.

Tradeshows, Dreamforce and advice to vendors:

Dont’ give away crappy cheap, pens

When I get back with a low quality pen that does not work.  Guess what?  I associate that with YOUR company.  I have never had a pen from a trade show last.  Really ask yourself… have you?

We are teaching our children to recycle and not to waste, to have a better world.  I paid around $20 for my space pen and I regularly give them as gifts.  After a year it is more cost effective, process efficient and cutter free way of using a writing instrument.  Think long term, think quality.  My appeal:

It’s doesn’t have to be a space pen, but here is a picture of mine.

spacepen

 

Trade show tip: Remove fillers from your vocabulary

Trade shows.  You have 10 seconds maximum to engage and get the interest of a passer by.   Time is critical.  Time is everything.

Eliminating filler words such as “Um”,  “Ah”,  “Er” and “You know” is paramount.  It kills your presentation and will cost you the sale.

So you’ve been is sales for years and you think it’s ok?

I’ve got news for you:  When I hear constant “Um, ah, er, eh, you know” in conversation you are stamped as irrelevant.  You are an amatuer.  You’ve had some great sales months, but you are not a great sale rep.   Language and the articulation thereof is the engine that drives sales.  If your communication ability sucks time from my life,  I just don’t have time for you.  I am not alone.

I am being honest with you, right now.  You may be right out of college or have a few sales years under your belt.  Maybe you just never made the effort to improve.  You may think it is ok; your friends may talk this way and reinforce this habit.

If you are thinking this way, you are wrong.  You will never be great in sales without mastering communication. 

The first step to fixing the language filler problem is realizing you have one.  If you have the desire,  this video will help.  Good luck.

When Marketing Lies About Technology

I’m at a talk about marketing at a conference, sitting in the audience, blending into the mix of SEO students and experts. Unlike most conference, I am not speaking, not helping with sales at a booth and not scheduled with back-back meetings.  This is a chance for me to sit and learn.

At the end of a fantastic panel discussion on SEO tools, demand generation and technology, the panel went into the Q&A section of the talk.  One panelist was asked what made her technology better than the next tool.

“We spider the entire Internet, every day. Every site and keyword, everything, so we have more data to work with.”  She said.

Looking around me, I saw eyes wide and heads nodding.  They swallowed it.  What happened next was like an out-of-body experience.

“Buuuuullshit!” I said, just-loud-enough for the group in the small theater to hear.  I just couldn’t help myself.

I was then asked by the moderator to, basically, explain myself.  I proceeded to talk about why “spidering the entire Internet” was not possible.  This is an area that I am a subject matter expert.  I won’t explain it hear, but if Google can’t do it…well, you get the idea…  I then asked if she borrowed Google’s new quantum computer and got a few laughs.   My goal was not to ridicule, but to recover from my sightly louder than expected comment.  Next, I basically said that I was impressed with what their technology did, actually do, but it shouldn’t be misrepresented as “everything on the Internet”.

Her comment was that she was not the “techie person” and that she got over-enthusiastic.  People laughed and that was the end of it.

The point is that Marketing does not need to lie, it would have been just as impressive if she portrayed, accurately, what they actually do and how.  This is a problem in many technology companies.  The process starts very much like a myth or legend.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

The technologist creates something that looks like magic and Marketing tries to explain it and the legend grows.  Soon, Sales is fabricating any explanation that sounds good and a technology myth is born.

Don’t do this.  Technology, Sales and Marketing need to be on the same page.  If you don’t achieve unified messaging someone else is going to call bullshit and you will lose a sale.