Nearly 150 sales and marketing professionals from four different countries descended upon San Antonio for the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Inc.’s seventh-annual Sales & Marketing Forum on Sept. 11.
“It’s been incredible to watch this event grow from 30 people four years ago to 150 today,” said JC Washbish, vice president of sales and marketing for the Alliance. “Our goal, as a program group headquarters, is to provide distinctive value to our shareholder owners and their teams. This is a unique chance to bring those folks together to make us all more competitive.”
The sales- and marketing-focused meeting at the Marriott Rivercenter has quickly grown in recent years as the Alliance continues to expand its class offerings and bring in new speakers. Representatives from across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Colombia flew into the Alamo City for this year’s Forum, the largest to date.
“As the automotive aftermarket changes, so do the educational opportunities,” said Mike Bonacci, a member of the Sales & Marketing Committee and director of marketing for Hahn Automotive. “This year’s Forum has developed into the most comprehensive and interactive learning platform to date. I’m looking forward to a great event.”
The three-day, action-packed meeting kicked off Wednesday morning with a Sales & Marketing Committee Meeting and a joint closed-door session with the Product Committee. In the afternoon, Alliance President and CEO John R. Washbish presented an update on the state of the Alliance, and Nathan Shipley, executive director of the NPD Group, discussed the state of the industry.
Alliance shareholder members also heard from 17 marketing channel partners during a high-speed “Power Hour” of presentations. The group closed out the day with five, five-minute presentations from Sales & Marketing Committee members and a reception and dinner at the Marriott Riverwalk.
During the remainder of the meeting, attendees will collaborate in interactive workshops, take classes from a plethora of internal and outside experts, network with marketing channel partners at a table display show, and more. They’ll finish the meeting with a hometown summit Friday featuring a Texas state senator.
“I’m excited about this year’s event and I’m proud of our shareholder support in getting so many salesmen and marketers to come to this event – the most-attended of any Forum we’ve ever done,” said Pat Winters, chairman of the Sales & Marketing Committee and vice president of sales and marketing for Warren Distributing. “The program vendors, guest speakers and keynote speakers offer something for everybody, enabling us all to go back to our businesses and sell more products through the knowledge that we’ve gained.”
The Sales & Marketing Forum comes on the heels of a three-day Product Committee meeting at the Marriott Rivercenter Sept. 9-11.