I just returned from attending DemandCon in San Francisco. DemandCon’s purpose is to offer education and insight into the art of aligning and accelerating the sales and marketing funnel.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the first of the two-day event. I say ‘unfortunately’ because it turned out to be a great networking opportunity. But most importantly, it proved to have a number of really great speakers along with relevant and interesting topics.

In case you missed the event, I’ve jotted down my key take-aways from three of the most compelling sessions.

umbertoUmberto Milletti, CEO of InsideView spoke of better lead conversion through ‘enrichment.’ He was referring to the importance of relevant knowledge about your prospects and buyers.

Most interesting stat: 92% of prospects NEVER respond to a cold call or email. Why don’t they? Engaging a prospect in a quality conversation requires that you have something of interest to offer and most salespeople don’t. I’m not saying they don’t have an interesting product or service. I’m saying they don’t have interesting knowledge, insight, or relevancy to offer. Those are the 3 kings that will influence your prospect to engage. On a relevant side-note, be sure to attend the upcoming webinar I’m moderating on April 24th “Be More Interesting: Get More Sales.”

Most interesting quote:  (the 92% stat) means most salespeople are competing for business among the 8% of prospects that will reply. This comment is what I found most interesting because it drives home a point that would otherwise go unnoticed. Do you really want to slug it out with competitors for the attention of 8% of your prospects? Are the 8% of prospects that do respond even the right people to talk with? I think he made his point that there has to be a better, more effective way to get prospects attention so the 8% figure becomes much higher. What if you could get 20 or 30% of prospects to talk with you? This could make an obvious difference in sales productivity. This is exactly what they aim to help their clients do with their Sales Intelligence and Customer intelligence products.

meagenMeagen Eisenberg, VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign described how she accelerates the pipeline with a content marketing and lead nurturing system. She was generous enough to share how she maps content to each stage in the buying cycle and what the leadflow looks like.

Most interesting stat: Every day, 50,000 new, unique users sign up for Docusign’s esignature solution (27million users to-date).

Most interesting quote: It’s not just about email analytics (number of opens, click-throughs, etc.) It’s about whether or not the end goal of the content/nurturing program was achieved (did you shorten the cycle and did you influence opportunities that lead to deals). You do have an end-goal defined, right?

Atri ChatterjeeAtri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On Software took us through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Marketers.  The Information derived was from a Forester Research Study of 208 small and mid-sized companies done on their behalf .

Most interesting stat: When asked how they performed against revenue plans over the last 12 months, 44% were below plan while 56% were above plan.

Most interesting quote: Companies are spread thin as evidenced by the fact that over 50% said they used more than 13 different marketing techniques. Perhaps most surprising is that the top 5 marketing tactics were traditional (trade-show events, print ads, etc). Even so, the study found that nearly 3 out of 4 marketing automation users enjoyed ‘top performer’ status . That’s telling.

Conferences like DemandCon are where you go to learn what the best of the best are doing. It’s a place to get ideas and to feed your own thought process. When you return back to your daily routines, be warned that it will be easier to sweep  the new ideas to the side or to file them away in your mind then it will be to figure out how you can apply them to your organization (that’s the hard part). Pledge instead, to explore one or more ideas immediately. Assign someone in your staff to conduct further research. If you don’t have the staff, then pencil the more compelling ideas into your demand generation strategy. Where do they fit? Which are the more obvious fits? Which would be easiest to test? It’s not enough to have the new insight. Figure out what you can DO today with the insight you’ve gained and what steps you can take immediately to put the insight into play.