Well, it came and went. TOPO Summit, that is.
If you missed it, you missed hundreds of the top players in B2B and tons of killer insights and sessions. But it’s all good. We’ve got your back. Rather than write up the standard event recap post, we decided to go right to the source.
Yup, that’s right, the Funnelholic himself: Craig Rosenberg. As the Co-Founder of and Chief Analyst at TOPO, no one has their finger on the pulse of the ever-changing B2B scene more than him.
1. What was your favorite part of TOPO Summit?
The whole thing. OK, that’s cheating. But I was really proud of the fact that we were able to pull off an event of that magnitude. People couldn’t believe it was our first event. It was just an amazing feeling.
BUT, if you make me choose—I would say my favorite part of the Summit were the speakers. As you know, our philosophy is to have practitioners (the real experts) deliver content and they were amazing. Every session I sat in on, I learned something new.
If I had to choose one speaker, I really enjoyed the keynote from Jeff Ma—his stories were great, he was funny…it was a perfect keynote for the event.
2. What big, standout themes do you see emerging?
I think Scott Albro’s opening keynote presentation nailed the major themes:
Data-driven sales: We’ve been talking about leveraging for data for years. Today, it’s a reality. We are actually seeing sales organizations leverage data to make decisions.
One of our speakers, Ryan Azus from RingCentral said: “I make every decision based on data—when to hire, how many, etc”. In fact, it seemed as though every presentation tied back to data and metrics and that’s exciting.
The Specialization of Sales: There are two types of specialization.
Role specialization: For example, SDRs do prospecting, sales close deals, CS onboards them, etc. Every high growth sales team is specialized across role.
Account specialization: Forsaking traditional geographic-based territories for assigning reps based on account or account-type. For example, we are seeing reps assigned to verticals or, like at LeadMD, where you assign based on the buyer/seller fit. This is a recent trend we anticipate will continue to grow.
Value Meets Volume + Velocity: The vast majority of high growth SaaS companies drove growth via templatized, volume and velocity sales models.
In other words, demand generation fed sales with lots of leads. Then, sales would give a scripted demo, send a templatized proposal, and then “hope” to close. Not a lot of fundamental selling was taking place.
Now we’re seeing a massive trend toward a return to sales fundamentals and re-focusing sales reps on selling value versus features. An example of this has been discovery, the practice of asking questions to match needs to a solution.
In volume and velocity sales, this practice was lost as sales reps went immediately to demo without any discovery. In our last benchmark, the top performing sales teams had a distinct discovery step in their sales process. The low performers did not. In other words, selling value is back even in a volume and velocity sales
Hello, Account-Based Everything: Account-based marketing is the hot topic in marketing, but at TOPO, we believe that ABM is only part of the equation. And that is why it is time to say “hello” to account based everything—the orchestration of high-value, personalized marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success efforts to drive engagement at a targeted set of accounts.
The Sales Development track of the Summit provided a leading indicator. A number of speakers showcased their moved to account-based sales development and a majority of attendees were in the midst of this transition or inspired to move to an account-based model.
The Sales Technology Stack: Sales teams continue to automate mundane tasks, period.
3. What do you see the most successful orgs (sales & SDR) focusing on?
I covered a number of key trends above, but one common trend I noticed across many of the speakers—they had a hiring strategy for identifying, recruiting, and onboarding A-players. In all of our research, recruiting is always cited as the number one challenge for most sales and SDR leaders but the best teams have a plan to solve it.
4. We loved the promotional campaign around Summit. You looked great as Willy Wonka, Drake, and Ponch. That said, do you feel like there was any potential to degrade the brand? With the wide array of personas you’re aiming at, what went into that decision?
That’s a good question. There are a number of factors that let to our decision:
- Fun is part of our brand.
- We wanted people to see the Summit as fun as well as educational.
- There are a lot of conferences and they all seemingly run the same traffic acquisition playbook. We wanted something different that stood out.
So while we weighed the implications, we felt good about the “funny gif” strategy.
5. You guys have a huge focus on QUALITY. How do you plan on maintaining that personal connection as you scale?
Our methodology is critical to maintaining quality and can scale as we go:
- The high growth data set creates unique and differentiated data
- Specificity wins – our analysis is specific and truly actionable. As one of our customers said, “I go to TOPO when I need to know what I should actually do.”
6. Anything else you’d like to share?
Next year’s Summit will be even better!