These days so much networking is done online; email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to mention a few. Not allowing for face to face interaction and the opportunity let alone the availability to really sit and discuss / debate your industry. There is something to be said for just sitting around and talking face to face with colleagues.
I get my fair share of knowledge and excitement from events that I attend, but those are not the only places I find value. I feel a great deal of value comes from the networking at not only the formal networking events set up at these things, but the after everything has shut down and people are more laid back type of networking.
Inevitability at these things, there is a place where everyone gets together when the work of the day done; this was especially true at this conference. We were all a bit confined to the hotel as there really was not much else around and no outings were planned. In this case, the gathering place was a large fire pit with a roaring fire. The fire was a welcomed relief to the unseasonably cold Colorado weather. This blog is about the value in having that opportunity to interact and network with other attendees face to face off the clock.
Acumatica is a newer (I use this term lightly as it has been around 8 years) ERP software. As a software there are always new updates and functionality to learn about. They have an annual summit to keep people informed and up to date on training. This was my first for this product and for this industry. It gave me the opportunity to meet and have discussions with many industry colleagues during the event. I noticed there is a distinct difference between the types of conversations depending on the time of day you have them. There are the quick ones you have during the short breaks between sessions and lunch. The ones you have during the networking events in the evening amongst the hustle and bustle where your conversations are constantly being interrupted (some of the time, thankfully). Then there are the more casual times after the events where people are just winding dawn and hanging out. As I mentioned this mostly happened sitting in a group by a fire. Here people seemed much more relaxed and open with information and details. Not only did I have the chance to have more detailed dialogs, but also sit in on others discussions. In this atmosphere, it gave me a true opportunity to meet and speak with Acumatica executive, where in the other venues they have a larger demand for their time and attention. They were not as concerned with the “company message” and being PC. I was able to find out more about where they came from, why Acumatica, and get answers to my specific questions. This also was a good occasion to network with other partners and find out about their successes, failures, recommended ISVs and alternative massaging. I had a long conversation with the 3 time winner of Partner of the Year. They recently closed a deal in an industry that has a very large and complex business model with hundreds of entities; and I believe the largest single deal to date. I spoke with ISVs that I was unaware of and partners that could possibly assist with opportunities in the future as well as learn about possible other venues to generate business.
Being newer to the industry, I received a good deal of value from not only the formal parts of the summit, but also the informal. The informal was a great opportunity for me to hear about the ins and outs of the industry, make solid industry connections and interact with experienced colleagues. One might think that by fire side would not be an ideal place to conduct a business meeting, but they happened successfully.
My longwinded point here is; most of us periodically attend these types of events and they can be quite costly so it is important to get as much out of them as possible. We take the classes, go to the events and get swept up in the excitement, but there can be even more we can take away. The “casual” interaction of a captive audience has a great deal of professional value. There are people eager to gain and give knowledge at these events and just need the right venues for that interaction.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all business only about 95%. After all, it is the one thing we all had in common.
MARK LAWRENCE | Sales Executive
Mark has over 10 years of experience in providing technology solutions. Starting with Monster World Wide in Tempe, AZ. After a few years working with National Accounts, Mark was promoted and relocated to the DC area as the Enterprise Sales Representative for the Mid-Atlantic. Here, he was the main Monster contact for Fortune 1000 companies such as Philip Morris, Dollar Tree, Volkswagen of America and Smithfield Foods, just to name a few. Mark was also a consultant to these companies by providing services such as recruiting and HR solutions from the hiring process to placement service and applicant tracking systems. Mark joined KTL in 2014. With his background and experience in understanding and providing technology to specific needs and challenges for non-profit and other organizations, he has become an asset to KTL’s accounts department.