Coveo Impact 2020, the Coveo Community event of the year, commences in just 128 days, 20 hours, and 16 minutes – but who’s counting? (Psst we are!

Although our time in the San Francisco sun is still a ways away, we are calling for speakers right now, and the deadline for submissions is just a week away (February 1). Speaking at Impact is such a valuable experience – trust us, we know a thing or two about exceptional experiences – and we don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy all it has to offer. 

If you’ve never been to Impact, you may be wondering what these sessions are like. If you have been to Impact and already have some interest, you may be worrying about what to say and how to shine. 

My point- I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so I sat down with our Director of Customer Advocacy, Ari Hoffman, to talk about everything that goes into and comes out of telling your Coveo story at Impact. 

What’s the focus of a Coveo Impact speaking session?

Coveo Impact is a customer conference…for customers. That means the stories that you will hear, whether it’s in service, workplace, or commerce, are about how Coveo customers successfully applied Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help automate their relevance transformation and better serve their own customers and business as a result. 

This main narrative usually includes two key talking points: 

1. ) The benefits of machine learning (ML): We often hear customers discuss how turning on machine learning took care of routine tasks and freed up their employees to do so much more within their roles. Even for those that knew this was possible, they never realized the true impact that it would have on their organization. 

2.) The value of Coveo CSMs: Another point that customers usually bring up is that our CSMs were vital to bringing business sense into their implementation. They talk about how our CSMs were able to help them identify key performance indicators and understand their significance in order to translate performance to business outcomes. 

Tell me what makes an exceptional Impact speaking session.

When it comes to digital transformation, no one gets it right the first time, which makes it absolutely essential that the presentation is authentic and real. Impact is an event centered around people learning from people, not companies learning from companies, so attendees should be able to understand and relate to the material being presented. That means that it’s not only important to share your success and failures with Coveo as a final product, but explore the steps that got you there and, most importantly, the order in which they were taken. 

My advice is that you should think about your presentation like baking a cake. Everyone is always able to tell you the vision for the cake- what it should look like and how good it should taste. They may even tell you what the ingredients are: 2 eggs, 3 cups of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and so on. However, what is always missing is the order in which you need to apply the ingredients and how. Maybe you need to whisk the milk while incorporating the eggs one by one, but not before you preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

The more you give into the operational side of your success (the way you applied things), the more the audience can get out of it. Remember, you are there to present, but you are also there to teach and learn. By being open, who knows, you may even invite comments and questions that could help you better bake your own cake. 

What are the benefits of speaking at Impact?

There are three main benefits: 

1.) A Sharpened Axe: Most of the time what you are doing and how you’re doing it remains in your own head. Presenting those insights externally forces you to programmatize it in ways that others will understand and gives you an opportunity to clarify your own message. There’s the classic story of the woodchopper who was too busy chopping wood to sharpen their axe. Speaking at Impact gives you the opportunity to stop and look at what you’re actually doing- to make sure your axe is, and remains, visibly sharp. 

2.) Visibility: There are two types of visibility that come from speaking at Impact: external and internal. Externally, you are making yourself known to others by helping them to learn. This creates opportunities for collaborative networking where you and organizations within and outside your industry can share major problems and helpful solutions. This also serves as a chance to remove blockers internally. It allows you to create assets that others can see and share to gain insight into what you and your team are working on- and why it’s valuable for the company. 

3.) Networking: Beyond making connections for your company, you can make connections for yourself. Getting to know other industry professionals and showing off your skillset is very good for professional growth. It’s really important to show off the caliber of growth you produce. 

Actually, there’s also a fourth benefit that I would like to add. It could actually be the most important of them all:

4.) Paying it forward: None of us have gotten to where we are without watching that webinar, reading that case study, or going to that presentation. Most of what we have learned has come from someone else, making it our duty to share our triumphs and failures so others can learn from us. It’s time to pay it forward and return the favor to those that need our help- to put on your cape and become a superhero who inspires the next league of champions.

How can a speaking session turn a customer from storyteller to Coveo Superhero? 

A central focus of what Coveo does is to break down the dichotomy between exceptional customer experiences and business growth, and help make them both possible. At the Impact Awards, we grant the designation of “superhero” to those that have demonstrated, through telling their story, that they’re well on their way to tackling the balance Coveo helps to provide (always in the pursuit of mastery). Our superheroes are the organizations that have proven that they’ve made the most of the tools that Coveo and other programmatic initiatives have to offer. 

Telling your story at Impact gives you the chance to prove yourself and join the upper echelons of the Coveo community – our superheroes. Are you ready? Be sure to keep an eye out for an additional opportunity to go down in Coveo history in our Hall of Heroes (if anyone asks, you didn’t hear about this from me)! 

What are you looking forward to the most? 

I’m looking forward to interviewing customers, hearing their stories, and helping them to share their journeys. I often tell our customers that I feel like a B2B sports agent. Their job is to play their hearts out on the court, and my job is to show them off, to make sure my players are more valuable out in the real world. As cheesy as that may seem, it’s true, and Impact is the perfect opportunity to help individual customers grow their personal brand value. 

Beyond making connections myself, I’m really excited to make connections between others too. Listening to customer stories at Impact lets me identify overlaps between industries and bring experts together to find their common ground. That’s where innovation happens, and I want nothing more than to be a part of it. I can’t wait for Impact!


Every superhero has a fascinating origin story to tell. Don’t miss the chance to share yours at Coveo Impact 2020!