AMSP Annual Conference 2014 Takeaways

amsp-napl-naqp-2014-annual-conferenceThis year, AMSP hosted our annual conference in Milwaukee.  We had a combination of cool, gorgeous weather and some rain that reminded me of being in Seattle.  The historic Pfister Hotel was a cool place to stay and provided some great rooms for the main speakers and breakout sessions.


Monday kicked off with an energizing speaker, David Horsager who spoke to us about Trust.  After doing years of research, David has discovered the enormous impact that trust has on business.  He talked to us about the 8 pillars of trust which include Clarity, Compassion, Character, Competence, Commitment, Connection, Contribution and Consistency.  For me, the few points that really stood out were:”Little things done consistently make the biggest difference.””Strong character means you do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done whether you feel like it or not.””Each night make a list of your top 5 things to do the next day and try to do them before 11am the next day.”

Next, we heard from a few speakers, including myself, Jeff Johnson and Ken McNerney who spoke about their transitions in this world of accelerating change.  The big takeaways for me were that we have to start making changes in our businesses.  We don’t all have to change in the same way, but it might make the most sense to start by asking your customers what their biggest problems and challenges are.  Then build new service offerings and solutions around those needs and pains.


On Tuesday, we kicked off the day with Bill Farquharson and John Foley, Jr. who talked to us about replacing our sales forces.  There were plenty of great takeaways, but a few highlights for me were making sure you’re incentivizing NEW business…higher commissions for the first year and low commissions for future years.  This will ensure the focus is on growth and finding new customers.  I also liked the comments and ideas around marketing working much closer with sales.  How can marketing provide content and nurturing to support sales people in their positions and he them be more successful?  And the biggest takeaway for me was finding salespeople that are diligent.  Bill told us that you’ll never have an unsuccessful diligent salesperson.  Find those people and train the sales skills and process.

From there, we split out into breakout sessions where attendees could continue learning about sales, heard about USPS Scorecard and Quality Reports or learn the inbound marketing methodology.

Eric Johnson of ALC led the afternoon sessions talking about big data and showed us a cool way UPS is using big data to become more efficient and save their customers money.  The afternoon wrapped up with more breakouts on leveraging LinkedIn for sales, growing young fulfillment operations and a continuation on big data.  The day ended with a tour of Pitney Bowes where they process over 80,000,000 pieces of mail every month.


Wednesday was an exciting morning hearing from the Postmaster General where we got some business updates on what the USPS is doing to move forward, grow and stay relevant.  Packages were one area he mentioned as being a source of growth.  Digital was also a big part of that discussion and it will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Following the Postmaster General were three breakouts on Succession Planning, Growth Opportunities in Large Format and Creating Content to Accelerate Revenue.  Mark Hahn of the NAPL moderated the Succession Planning panel and did a masterful job in pulling out the stories from Wes Powell, Tracey Cohen, and Steve Portrude.

In the afternoon, Scott Zimmer of Bridgeworks gave us some insight into the generation gap that we’re seeing in the workplace.  The big takeaways for baby boomers in working with millennials were:

  • Meaning is the new money for millennials.
  • Millennials want to know WHY.  Explain why they are doing something or how their job impacts the greater whole.
  • By 2020, 50% of the workforce will be millennials.

As for millennials like me, we need to remember that we should help boomers simplify things.  They have a lot on their plate, including spending an average of 21 hours per week caring for aging parents.

The final breakout sessions focused on getting out of “stall points” that could potential kill your business and taking a look at good, bad and ugly website designs.  Cary Coppolla covered what today’s best practices are in making sure your website stays up with current trends.

Wednesday evening wrapped up with an awesome Monte Carlo Style celebration dinner!  Dinner was excellent, there was a live band playing music and then some good old fashioned gambling where attendees could play poker, blackjack, craps and more.  The night ended with drawings for some excellent prizes including an iPad and some Amazon gift cards.


The final day closed with postal updates from Leo Raymond of the AMSP and Benjamin Cooper of Williams & Jensen.  Attendees enjoyed a sit down breakfast while hearing what the USPS plans to do and what we as members can do to support our industry.

Andy Paparozzi closed us out with his famous State of the Industry report.

All in all, the conference was a huge hit, there were some fantastic presentations, great content and a lot of networking opportunity. 

I wasn’t able to attend all the breakout sessions, so I would love to hear your comments on some of the sessions I didn’t cover extensively above.  Leave your comments below.

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