Forecast 2017 Highlights: Part 1

It’s been a busy year for enterprise tech, with companies like AppDynamics, Drift, LinkedIn, Slack, Snowflake, and Zendesk making the press for news about acquisitions, fundraisings, rocket ship growth, more fundraisings, and continued all-around greatness 🐐.

Wouldn’t it be pretty nifty if you could get sales leaders from all those companies to come together in one room and pick their brains on how they did it? We thought so too.

Forecast 2017

Welcome to Forecast

Hundreds of sales leaders crowded into the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre last Monday, and Base CEO Uzi Shmilovici kicked us off by reminding us about the Forecast mission.

With so many of the profession’s best and brightest minds in the house, we definitely had our forward-thinking sales leaders covered…

… But what about sales tools? Well, Uzi also introduced us to Reach, a new set of real-time data enrichment and prospecting tools built right into Base. Reach is powered by our friends over at Clearbit, and you can get a sneak peek of the product below:

This is great news for reps and managers, but what about the oft-neglected sales leaders? No one ever thinks about sales leaders, who are stuck using Excel like it’s 1987 (seriously this year is the 30-year anniversary of Excel, look it up). No one except Base, that is, who built an intelligent assistant that helps sales leaders uncover insights and communicate with their team called Close:

You can sign up for the Close beta program here, and we’ll be announcing more about Reach soon, so stay tuned!

Like all that wasn’t enough, Uzi revealed a strategic partnership between two of enterprise software’s most customer experience-focused companies, and invited Zendesk’s Mikkel Svane to the stage for a chat on the future of customer relationships.

Fireside Chat: The Future of Customer Relationships

The two founders shared their perspectives on how customer relationships have changed over the years, becoming less transactional as technology allows customers to expect more from the businesses they interact with (“The patience for a broken experience today is measured in minutes,” noted Mikkel).

Forecast 2017

The same technology, the two agreed, in turn empowers businesses to better serve customers by having the context of their relationship follow a customer on their journey through the organization.

How Leading Companies Unlock 100% CRM Adoption

What are some ways that technology allows businesses to better serve their customers?

Philip Quackenboss, Sales Director at Groupon, Stefan Feinberg, Director of Finance at Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and Ruchi Shah, Director of Go-To-Market at OLX Group joined Zoe Koven of Base to talk about how they empower their reps to provide better customer experiences by giving them sales tools that make their lives easier.

Phil called out the slow pace of innovation at many Fortune 1000 companies, noting that too many top sales reps in 2017 still had a piece of paper on their desks with key account information scribbled on it. Stefan echoed Uzi and Mikkel’s chat when he discussed replacing managerial processes in Excel with automated actions in Base, and Ruchi shared insights on growing a sales team internationally by emphasizing the importance of having a “Base expert” around to drive adoption in local teams.

Forecast 2017

(Need a Base expert? We’ve got a couple – let us know and we can talk.)

Driving Rep Accountability through Data-Driven Coaching

Having high rep adoption in your sales stack unlocks a world of data-driven coaching opportunities, and that’s exactly what Amy Borsetti, Senior Director of Global Sales Readiness at LinkedIn, came on stage to talk about next.

Forecast 2017

Great coaches can transform teams – Amy shared research from the CEB Sales Executive Council showing that no other productivity investment comes close to coaching in improving rep performance. But being smart about using data in your coaching practice can improve sales accountability, uncover deeper insights in the sales organization, and lead to better overall business decisions.

Amy went on to share some of the coaching metrics used at LinkedIn – rep and manager assessment scores, coaching frequencies, skill gaps closed and competency shifts over time – and the kind of questions a data-driven approach can help to answer. Questions like where teams have competency hot spots, which rep competencies actually end up moving the needle, and whether a manager even has the right team to begin with.

Building and Scaling a Sales Machine

With the right data structures in place, you still need to hire the right people. The Forecast crowd was shook by the bromance you had to see to believe: Chad Peets, CEO at Peets & Associates, and Chris Degnan, CRO at Snowflake Computing.

Forecast 2017

Chris’s story at Snowflake goes back to the days before the company even had a website.

“It was me and a bunch of engineers. The only value I could add for 3-4 months was talking to as many prospects as I could, and figuring out what we needed for our next stage: a sales engineer and a pitch deck.”

With Chris at the helm, and Chad assisting with recruiting expertise, Snowflake Computing went from 0 to 100MM in revenue in 4 years – a feat that normally takes 4 different sales leaders for all the stages a company has to go through.

The two agreed that being focused on the right profile when hiring was the most important thing for a sales leader. Early stage companies need people who want to eventually become leaders, people who reveal through their life stories that they persisted through challenges, and people whose defining characteristic is that they hate to lose.

But There’s More…

That seemed like a lot, right? That was definitely a lot! But that’s just the first half of our Forecast recap. We’ve got part two coming out next week, and if you missed any of the sessions or just want a refresher, we’ve got videos coming out soon too!

Forecast 2017

If you can’t wait, you can actually watch our speaker and fireside chat videos from previous Forecasts – because you know we like that evergreen content here at Forecast.

Did you have a favorite speaker or session? What would you liked to have seen more of or think we we could have done better?

Let us know in the comments below – we’re already thinking about how to make Forecast 2018 even better for you.

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