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 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.
“As the automotive aftermarket changes, so do the educational opportunities,” said Mike Bonacci, a member of the sales and 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.”
The three-day action-packed meeting kicked off Wednesday morning with a sales and marketing committee meeting and a joint closed-door session with the product committee.
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 day closed out with five five-minute presentations from sales and marketing committee members and a reception and dinner at the Marriott Riverwalk.
During the remainder of the meeting, attendees collaborated in interactive workshops, taking classes from a plethora of internal and outside experts, and networking with marketing channel partners at a table display show.
Pat Winters, chairman of the sales and marketing committee and vice president of sales and marketing for Warren Distributing, said the program vendors, guest speakers, and keynote speakers offered something for everybody, enabling them all to go back to their businesses and sell more products.