The Kiwi Landing Pad is the first stop for NZ companies expanding in the US. Every 6 months, the Kiwi Landing Pad team bring across brilliant US sales and marketing minds to share their knowledge with the NZ startup and tech community. This week I attended their third event series and as usual it delivered a full day of valuable insights, memorable anecdotes and relaxed networking.

The number of notebook pages I fill are a great indicator of how much knowledge I take away from an event. I managed to fill a whole six pages at this #NZSMJ!

The event was hosted by KLP founder John Holt (JH) and Global Community Manager Sian Simpson (SS). The panelists were:

Session 1: Sales


Key takeaways:

  • Sales is the lifeblood of any company (JH)
  • You can engineer yourself out a lot of problems, but not a lack of sales (AP)
  • People often look for big markets with problems to solve, but companies will also pay large amounts of money for problems that cut deep. The depth of pain felt is more important than the size of the market (DB)
  • Don’t stop doing something because it won’t scale, worry about that when you do grow (SP)
  • You can build the best thing in the world, it means nothing if you can’t sell it (SS)
  • If you’re not using the product yourself, how the fuck can you make it better? (SP)
  • Eat your own dog food – or even better drink your own champagne! (AP)
  • Practice talking about your self, pitching is key (SS)
  • Technical founded companies in APAC massively under-invest in business roles (DB)
  • People are not assets and don’t follow the Pareto Rules, one great sales person might bring in 90% of your sales (DB)
  • Even the best salespeople are rejected 75% of the time (NC)

Session 2: Marketing


Key takeaways:

  • If you can’t market yourself, you can’t market anything else (SP)
  • Be results orientated when you pitch (AP)
  • Numbers speak louder than adjectives (NC)
  • Win at marketing by letting your customers tell you stories (SS)
  • Your network = your net worth (SP)
  • Site license pricing are better than per seat as they encourage greater adoption and more product use (meaning more feedback) (DB)
  • Personal touches like handwritten notes make lasting impressions (DB)
  • What’s your unfair advantage? Work that out and use it! (JH)
  • Get above the noise by telling your unique story (JH)

Session 3: Product


Key takeaways:

  • Lack of ideas don’t hold teams back, ability to execute is the hard part (NC)
  • Product managers speak for the users (AP)
  • Great PMs are great communicators (NC)
  • PMs are burdened with the responsibility of getting it right (NC)
  • You have to find ways to keep people motivated while also saying no (and killing their dreams!) (NC)
  •  It’s your job to say no, but not burn bridges

In this session the panel also shared the importance of asking for introductions in the right way, especially leading into events:

  • Create a tailored list of the people you want to meet at each event
  • Send an email to people who may be able to introduce you to them (eg the Kiwi Landing Pad team!)
  • State who you want to meet, what you want to talk about and why you want to meet them
  • Make it easy for someone to connect you, do the hard work for them so they can “cut and paste”

Session 4: Q&A


Key takeaways:

  • Tradeshows had mixed reviews from the panel on value – agreed to talk to other attendees to judge value
  • Book meetings ahead of attending an event (DB)
  • Partnerships – especially in early stage can take a lot of effort with little/no results (JH)
  • Sales emails should be 75% useful content, 25% sales content (DB)
  • When you kill a feature – do it quickly and use data to justify, it can be hard for moral
  • Customer feedback should be treated as suggestions, PMs have to decide what is important (NC)
  • Learn what is core to your product and use that to priortise feedback and ideas (NC)

Also check out Daniel’s blog posts:

Session 5: Social Media


Key takeaways:

  • Linkedin is underused for thought leadership, #1 lead generation for (SP)
  • Leverage your networks and ask for help (SS) – eg ask connections to share posts or relevant news to help boost it at first
  • Where does your community hangout? Narrow niches are better for targeting and relevancy (SP)
  • Micro-communities don’t get as much love from brands (SP)
  • Don’t be afraid to use first impressions to learn more about your potential customer (SP uses Instagram photos on business cards, the photo people choose tell her about their interests)
  • The only brand you have to live with forever is YOU (SP)

Session 6: Final thoughts


If you’re feeling FOMO from missing out, don’t worry the #NSMJ will be back in 6 months, and in the meantime check out the Kiwi Landing Pad’s blogs and webinars. Benjamin Tan also shared a number of great resources from the panelists at the Christchurch session.

I’ll be sharing more insights from Kiwi Landing Pad next week when I interview Global Community Manager Sian Simpson on the Tech Marketer podcast. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes or our email newsletter to get the episode as soon as it’s released.


Posted by Nicole Williams

I'm a marketing geek with a passion for tech. Previously, I was the marketing manager for SilverStripe (open source CMS and cloud PaaS) Currently, podcaster and blogger for and founder of Wellington Marketing meetup. Currently exploring Europe and living the dream! I'm always up for a chat about marketing and I love sharing my experiences so that others don't have to learn the hard way.


  1. Great article that. I will be passing along this post; it sure will help people (and myself) trying to continue working out the kinks in their business. Thanks again.
    Richard Benchimol
    Leads Indeed



  2. […] and US expansion, However, for now, you can get the recap from Nicole (CMO at SilverStripe) here. She has the best notes and writes a blog post every single jam without fail […]



  3. […] was back in New Zealand to run the popular Sales and Marketing Jam series. As always, I found the event highly valuable and it was great to pick Sian’s brain further […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s