They were all part of the Sirius Decisions Summit last week in Orlando, FL.

I had heard great things about this annual gathering of sales and marketing professionals put on by analyst firm Sirius Decisions including being told it was one of the two best events of the year for those of us in the industry (the other being Dreamforce).

It did not disappoint.  The team at Sirius Decisions continues to impress me both from the quality and depth of their analysis as well as how they treat their clients.

This event brings together a group of people who have a passion for marketing, sales, and the processes + technology that enable them.  It was great to meet new people, see old friends, and learn a few things along the way.

One of my favorite sessions was on Emerging Demand Creation Technologies put on by Terry Flahtery and Laz Gonzalez.  It was a great look at five key themes driving innovation around demand creation and included:

  1. Predictive Scoring – applying predictive analytics and data science to address the challenge of building an informed and accurate lead scoring model.  Great to see this on the list and it aligns with our own release of Predictive Lead Scoring.
  2. Social Syndication – accelerating the distribution of content from influential people across social channels.  It is no longer enough to publish and pray.
  3. Advanced Nurturing – more sophisticated process flows throughout the customer lifecycle (ie, beyond prospect stage). It was great to get a Sugar Market, previously Salesfusion, shout out for this.
  4. Sales Enablement – the reason we do all this right?  Enable sales with actionable information, close more deals, take inefficiencies out.
  5. Closed Loop Reporting – ultimately answering the question of “is it working?”  Something that all platforms need to improve and marketers need to focus on exactly the metrics that matter to their business. According to Sirius, only 45% of marketing automation users are satisfied with reporting in their platforms so much work to do here to focus on the right measures and surfacing them with understandable and shareable reporting interfaces.

Another great session was The State of Marketing Automation led by Jay Famico and Jen Horton from the Sirius team.  Obviously an area we are interested in as a company so it was great to hear smart people validate what we are seeing and shed some additional light on the market dynamics.  A few highlights:

So, where does Eddie Money factor into all this?  He was the guest musical entertainment on Thursday evening and, yes, did sing Two Tickets to Paradise.

I am still processing the information I gathered at this event and have a huge number of follow up meetings and discussions to schedule.  Thanks to everyone at Sirius Decisions for a great Summit and if you are a marketing professional, put this on the calendar for next year.