Forecast 2017 Highlights: Part 2

Last week we recapped the first five sessions of Forecast 2017 and shared some of our favorite quotes and takeaways. Who’s ready for part 2?

The Science Behind Motivation: How to Inspire Your Team to Win

Immediately following lunch, the Forecast stage was graced by three powerhouse female sales leaders: Jaimie Buss, VP of Sales at Zendesk, Laurabeth Harvey, VP of Sales at Intercom and Erica Alioto, Former SVP Local Sales at Yelp.

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The panel, which was based on this HBR article inspired by Erica’s time at Yelp, examined different ways that sales leaders can keep team spirits high, particularly during difficult months.

Among the ways that these leaders inspire their teams include Erica’s lucky gold last day of the month (LDOM) pants and Jaimie’s “champagne campaign” celebrations. But how can you tell when your team needs a little extra boost? According to Laurabeth, “There is no replacement for gut feeling. You can walk onto a sales floor and just tell if people are motivated.” She went on to point out ways to motivate and boost morale by recognizing specific, admirable activities even when a team falls short of quota.

The Anatomy of a Winning Sales Presentation

Gong.io CEO Amit Bendov took the stage and kicked off his presentation by asking a simple question: when is the best time to talk about pricing – at the beginning of a sales demo, or at the end?


He then went on to share never-before released insights uncovered by Gong’s own conversation intelligence platform, including:
– The average duration of a successful sales presentation is 47 minutes
– Sales presentations with more than 76 seconds of uninterrupted pitching are highly unlikely to close
– In successful demos, pricing is discussed 38-46 minutes into the call

Forecast 2017

Optimizing Sales Ops with Sales Science Best Practices

Founder of the Modern Sales Salon Peter Kazanjy led this star-studded sales ops panel featuring operations leaders from MemSQL, AdRoll, Cloudflare and Talkdesk. Panelists shared their advice for avoiding the datamonkey trap by using the operations data at their fingertips to make strategic and scientific recommendations for business improvement.

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Striking a balance between relying on data and trusting rep experience was a hot topic of discussion, as was artificial intelligence. Talkdesk Head of Customer Operations indicated that he thinks conversational AI tools are becoming progressively beneficial, leaving Pete to wrap up the key takeaways of the panel:

“Automate things that 1) suck and 2) are error-prone. Let robots do what you don’t want to do.”

If you’re a sales ops leader looking to ramp up your capabilities, we’ve got you covered – check out our Sales Operations Boot Camp, and enjoy a nice discount when you enroll using the code GETCERTIFIED99.

Start Building the Sales Stack of the Future

In this fireside chat, CEO of Drift David Cancel spoke with Base’s Director of Marketing Josh Bean about the evolution of sales and marketing technology over the past 20 years. While consumer companies have moved to an increasingly on-demand sales model, B2B companies still expect prospects to fill out forms, pick up cold calls and jump through hoops.

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The solution? CQLs, or conversation qualified leads. CQLs refer to people who have expressed purchase intent during live conversations, either with a human or a chat bot. According to David, the CQL model develops more instant prospect connections and can shorten the sales cycle from weeks and months to days or mere hours.


To learn more about how CQLs work and are supported by Drift’s platform, check out this article.

How to Build the Sales Team Behind a $3.7B Acquisition

During his fireside chat with Base’s own VP Enterprise Sales Kyle Osterman, AppDynamics’ CRO Dali Rajic discussed how he keeps his sales team on track. His secret? Selling based on rep capacity and having a solid sales process.

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While Dali views a sales process as a means to reduce variability, his productive sales capacity theory is based on four variables: number of ramped sales reps, productivity of each rep, ramped rep churn and time to ramp.


Dali also shared some tips when it comes to hiring, advising companies to look for intelligence, coachability and experience (in that order!) when searching for salespeople. And for salespeople looking for their next big gig, be sure to do a lot of research around the product’s potential and leadership’s track record, and never blindly follow a past leader into a new company.

The Sales Evolution at Slack

Forecast 2017 came to a close with a final fireside chat featuring Head of North American Sales at Slack Kevin Egan and Base’s Kathleen Osgood.

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Following the day’s theme of providing modern customer experiences, Kevin provided his input around the need for B2B companies to create more intuitive and consumer-grade user interfaces.


Kevin also spoke about his career path as a Sales Engineer and some of his experiences along the road to becoming Slack’s head of sales. For folks looking to succeed in sales, Kevin listed the top AE qualities and skills reps should strive to embody: intelligence, curiosity, resilience and grit.

Can’t Wait for Forecast 2018?

Neither can we! Was there a speaker or topic that you would have liked to see this year that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Forecast 2017

Thank you again to those of you who attended this year’s Forecast conference for sales leaders, and be sure to keep an eye out for videos of each of this year’s fabulous sessions!

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