#ISAms The need to adapt to the changing automation market

Attendees of ISA’s 7th Marketing and Sales Summit learn that adapting to the changing automation marketplace is critical to meeting customer needs

Helping marketing and sales professionals in the automation and control marketplace adapt to the changing needs, expectations and behavior of marketplace decision-makers was the primary focus of the International Society of Automation’s (ISA’s) 7th Marketing and Sales Summit, held 15-17 August 2012 in Austin, Texas, USA. (See our own report – Social tweeting at marketing summit!)

The meeting was held at Austin’s legendary, historic Driskill Hotel

The theme of the meeting, “New Rules of Customer Engagement: Riding the Winds of Change,” drove home the message to attendees that they must embrace changing dynamics within the automation industry if they are to consistently satisfy customer demands and realize sales objectives.

The event showcased prominent marketing and sales experts who shared their tactics and strategies, and provided roadmaps toward achievable results. A particular emphasis was placed on moving away from “reactive selling” to “demand shaping,” a customer-centric approach that influences and aligns customers’ demands with organizations’ capabilities and strengths.

“The summit exceeded my expectations with its content, the enthusiasm and my personal takeaways,” said Catherine Andrews of Hile Controls of Alabama, which markets controls, instrumentation and valves for manufacturers in the factory and process automation fields.

Jane Lansing, Vice President of Marketing at Emerson Process, in the meeting’s opening keynote address, urged marketing and sales professionals in the automation field to bridge the communication gap with their prospects and customers.

“Things are shifting every day in business,” she noted. “Plant personnel are experiencing heavy knowledge loss as more seasoned employees are retiring. How do we help our customers face this loss? And how does it affect marketing and sales?”

She added that marketing and sales strategies need to adjust to how people today access and utilize the information they need.

“We have younger personnel emerging on the scene,” Lansing stated. “They do things differently, including the way they buy products, consult their peers and use social networks. They live off their smart phones. Old-style marketing and sales will not work with this new audience.”

Leading marketing professionals were on hand to answer many topical questions during the marketing tracks. Among them:
How do you change your advertising spending to better reach customers?
What are the best tools for creating customer communities?
What is the difference between a mobile app and a web-based app and why is it so important that I know?
How do Google’s latest algorithm updates affect my search optimization and PPC programs?

During the targeted sales tracks, experts addressed a range of timely questions, including:
How is your organization adapting to the speed of interactions on social networks?
What is the sales cloud and how does it support account management?
How can I influence customers’ perceptions of cost, value and benefits in complex sales?
How can I maintain a flexible position when countering a buyer’s negotiating moves?

Various break-out sessions and networking opportunities encouraged personalized interaction and facilitated a free-flowing exchange of ideas and insights.

The meeting was held at Austin’s legendary, historic Driskill Hotel, which was built in 1886 as the showplace of a cattle baron. Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the hotel provided attendees with convenient access to the city’s thriving, world-class music scene.

Event sponsors were ISA Management Division, Solutions Insight, Team Real World, Rubber Tree Systems, Telesian Technology and Emcien. Media sponsors included Automation.com, Automation World, CONTROL Magazine, InTech and Read-out Instrumentation Signpost.

ISA encourages all sales and marketing professionals within the automation field to attend next year’s 8th Marketing and Sales Summit, which will be held 11-13 September 2013 at the beautiful Astor Crowne Plaza hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

About Eoin Ó Riain

Sé Read-out iris uaithoibríoch, ionstraim agus stiúradh na hÉireann agus an "Signpost" a áit ar an idirlín! Read-out is Ireland's journal of automation, instrumentation and control and the Instrumentation Signpost is it's web presence.
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