FRESH PERSPECTIVE

Through the Eyes of an Intern: A behind the scenes look into CRMC 2017

I walked into the Hilton Chicago feeling very nervous and especially intimidated at my being a millennial surrounded by executives. But after meeting Devon and Staci along with the rest of the CRMC leadership I was put at ease as they truly made me feel a part of their team.  They made my experience with

06/19/2017

Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC) 2017

Captivating, Responsive, Multidimensional, and Collaborative

I received the news that I would be attending and assisting CRMC and I was glad for the opportunity because it would be my very first conference. However, upon hearing that this conference was one for hundreds of retailers and service providers from all over the world my stomach sank.

I walked into the Hilton Chicago feeling very nervous and especially intimidated at my being a millennial surrounded by executives. But after meeting Devon and Staci along with the rest of the CRMC leadership I was put at ease as they truly made me feel a part of their team.  They made my experience with CRMC an enjoyable and memorable one and I was so glad to help them.

I initially thought CRMC was going to be a very competitive environment where companies compete for business and try to get as much of it as they possibly can. Even though I did indeed witness the expected “pitches” and sales strategies in action, CRMC became so much more in my eyes.

It wasn’t competition that engulfed this conference, it was collaboration. It wasn’t the “pitches” that the people focused on, it was networking.   As the reality of it sank in, the immense amount of people from all over the world became less intimidating and more thrilling. This large and diverse group of people brought a variety of insights and experiences to the table. Walking around I had the opportunity to hear many topics of discussion: a company that is having an issue that another has already solved, multiple companies discussing a problem and bouncing ideas off one another, points of view being altered, an idea being built off of and eventually leading to an entirely new one being produced. It is this sharing of challenges, failures and successes, and strategies that fosters this collaborative environment. The smiles were contagious as it was nearly impossible not to exchange them with strangers. You could feel the exuberance all around, and practically smell the unique aroma of innovation and creativity. I witnessed new relationships being formed as well as previously formed relationships be reinforced; this showing me that CRMC serves as an exceptional platform for developing long term relationships.   I did wonder to myself how these conversations can appear so seamless, pleasant, and completely authentic when the focus is business. I finally relayed this question to Craig Wood, Managing Director & Chief Engagement Officer at 360 Live Media, Inc.  

Craig and I spoke about the many changes CRMC has gone through to improve the experience of its attendees, many suggestions coming from actual feedback and surveys. He explained how everyone knows what each other is doing here which is why structure and guidance is not needed nor wanted by the attendees. They are all here with a common goal which allows everyone to focus on improving their profitability and value. This is how they are able to get in and customize their own conversations and build their own relationships all the while remaining authentic.
After my conversation with Craig it then clicked, and I gained an extremely valuable insight. The key is not to approach people with the goal of wanting to introduce yourself, but rather wanting to learn about them. It is important to hold off on sharing your knowledge, skills, and what you can provide to them as this eventually comes later in the conversation.

From my own experience during CRMC I’ve learned that it’s better to initiate the conversation, and this can be done by asking questions and requesting insight. This allows for a seamless and engaging conversation. Initiating conversation also avoids any missed opportunities as it is not good to assume everyone will approach you. Under this faulty mentality there will be many potentially rewarding relationships that you will miss out on.

I also noticed that initiating a conversation with straight business talk is not always the best way to go. The Allant Group hosted a Chicago Cubs rooftop event during CRMC which is a great example of mixing business with pleasure. This not only serves as a huge ice breaker to unfamiliar faces and companies, but yields a very authentic approach. Sure conversation will eventually lead to business but both parties will feel more comfortable as you are no longer “talking business with a stranger,” rather you are discovering a friend’s wants and needs and trying to see how you can help one another.

After having the pleasure of attending CRMC on behalf of the Allant Group it was clear to me that the goal from attending is not to gain the spotlight, it is to help your company as well as others Stay Ahead.

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