Perspective on Conferences By Dylan Misslin

The AFPM Conference in Austin last year was my first conference since I started my career in PSM and I loved it.  Barely a year out of school, I was hungry for more knowledge in the Process Safety world and AFPM delivered.  Besides my personal development, conferences are fun!  It’s a break from the normal routine and a chance to cut loose a bit in a different city.

However, despite spending four years in sales during my time in college, I was not focused on identifying potential opportunities to help Provenance grow.  Sure, I networked a bit at lunch and talked up ARTS to a gentleman from Flint Hills Resources.  He was interested enough that it led to a pretty serious discussion with our Sales Department.  But that lead sort of fell into my lap and I was never focused on listening for new opportunities throughout the conference.   That lack of awareness was a disservice to myself and the organization that paid for my trip.

Now fast forward to the present.  Currently, I’m writing this spot on a plane bound for St. Louis to present ARTS to a major pharmaceutical company we met at AIChE.  How did we get this opportunity?  It was simply a focus on listening for opportunities, a fantastic presentation by Sara Tzaperas and Srihari Maganti that demonstrated our expertise, and some persistent follow up.  All told we hauled in 14 leads that showed at least moderate interest in our services and held some level of influence in our company.  Additionally we added another 14 contacts that could someday lead to a sale if we stay in touch.  Contacts made include some big names including CP Chem, Kinder Morgan, Mallinckrodt, Marathon, Michelin, and Corning.

These conferences provide the opportunities that Provenance needs to continue to grow.  Yes, conferences expand your knowledge and are fun to attend.  But let us never forget that Provenance has the expectation that we identify three (3) potential business opportunities at each conference.  Here are some tips:

  1. Help the sales teams work the booth at peak times.
  2. Listen for questions/discussions at break-out sessions that we can answer/join and offer our expertise.
  3. Don’t group with other Provenance folks at lunches and breakfast. Sit at different tables and make some new friends.

Finally and maybe most importantly, we need to focus on providing Provenance expertise at these conferences by presenting topics.  As I mentioned, Sara and Srihari did an outstanding job presenting at AIChE and they got some great questions.  Thank you both!  Though the presentation did not generate a lead in itself, it did lend us credibility at the booth and we discussed their presentation with numerous other leads.  However, at this particular conference Smith & Burgess gave three (3) presentations.  We cannot let them gain more exposure than us at these conferences.  We need more presentations!  Please present a topic at the next conference you attend!

-Dylan Misslin