I have always found that a helpful way to understand overall sales and marketing trends is through conferences. Gaining a perspective outside of your organization helps you understand issues other companies are tackling that you may need to be concentrating upon and what some of the challenges may be to solve these issues. From my perspective, it helps to understand the level of sophistication in the marketplace. Many times authors, consultants and speakers identify a vision, but where the market actually resides could be something completely different.
I attended Frost & Sullivan's Sales and Marketing Executive Summit in January. This event showcased a different format that allowed more interaction with the attendees, which resulted in more of a free flow of ideas and communication. This allowed me to gain an understanding of key issues across industries for sales and marketing departments.
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