Shiftgig’s Techweek Recap, Part 1

For the past two years, Shiftgig has partnered with Chicago Techweek, a week-long technology conference and festival. The Shiftgig team has a strong presence at the event, providing Specialists to run the event, as well as participating in the annual Growth Summit panel.

Held in the heart of downtown Chicago from June 19 – 23, TechWeek again brought together top executives from the Chicagoland area to network, exchange ideas, and participate in thought leadership panels about the ever-changing tech industry.

On the thought leadership side, Eddie Lou, CEO and co-founder of Shiftgig, spoke at Thursday’s Growth Summit. Eddie was part of a panel with three other Chicago startup CEOs: Justyn Howard (Sprout Social), Amanda Lannert (Jellyvision), and CJ Przybyl (Snapsheet).

The panel, moderated by Jamie Cosgrove (Salesforce), was a lively discussion that focused on, “Customer Acquisition for Enterprise.” Each panelist spoke about how their business works to acquire qualified leads, how their business model has grown as the company has grown, and also spoke directly to ways other companies can develop their sales teams with a proper go-to-market strategy.

Here, we detail a few of the key statements made by panel participants:

On client feedback

“There’s a giant difference — sometimes — between what [customers] say and what they do. It’s very important to get those social and anthropological insights into what they do. What are they spending money on? What are the priorities? We’ve made big feature bets based on what sounded like a good idea to a customers, but because it wasn’t prioritized…it did not get traction in the marketplace.” – Amanda Lannert, Jellyvision

On growing sales teams

“Our best hires come from referrals. Whether it’s from sales leadership or other people in the organization. We’re primarily looking for excellence in some fashion; whether it’s in a previous sales role, a successful athlete, or things like that. If you come in the door with all the answers you’re not going to do very well at Sprout. And just people that we want to work with.” – Justyn Howard, Sprout Social

On finding inspiration

“I get inspired by being here on stage and by fellow entrepreneurs in Chicago who are doing great stuff, and by my team at Shiftgig. I also get inspired by our Specialists. We have 30 of them working this [TechWeek] event, and 20,000 of them across the country doing great stuff for the 2,000 business we contract with. And when you listen their stories, it’s an awesome feeling to hear about the social impact we’re making as a business.” – Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

“We’re in a tough industry where you get beat up a lot, and there’s not always a lot of innovation. So we get inspired by the small wins of doing something that the general public or media might not find interesting, but we know we just made a huge impact to an insurance carrier that made their adjusters 6x more efficient from one little thing that we did. It’s what everyone’s aspiring for.” – CJ Przybyl, Snapsheet

On the Specialist side, this year’s TechWeek was again “powered” by Shiftgig. In the past, TechWeek had relied solely on volunteers for the event, and had issues with no-shows, customer service, and reliability. In the two years that TechWeek has partnered with Shiftgig, they claim the consistency of the workforce has vastly improved, thus creating a more efficient, well-run event. Watch a video about Shiftgig’s 2016 partnership with TechWeek.

After the Growth Summit, Eddie also participated in a Facebook Live event with NASDAQ. Lou spoke about the burgeoning Chicago tech scene, and how he appreciates the accolades the city is receiving for bolstering the tech industry in the Midwest. Watch the full video of Eddie here.

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