HubSpot Training Day at INBOUND17 is happening Monday, September 25. Perhaps you've already decided you'd like to go—if you can convince your boss that it should count as a business expense. But how do you do that?
The first step is to estimate how much money your company's going to have to pony up in order for you to go. Then you have to describe what your company will get out of sending you. And finally, you have to make the case that the cost of sending you outweights the value of the event.
Let's take these one step at a time.
When you're looking to go to a conference, there are a lot of costs you have to consider. The price of admission, yes, but you also have to think about transportation, lodging, and food. Some of these costs will vary from person to person, but here are some numbers that will help you estimate the cost when you're pitching this to your boss:
- Before June 30th: $499/session
- In July or August: $599/session
- In September: $699/session
HubSpot Training Day is in Boston, the day before INBOUND starts. If you live in the area, or if you'll be here for INBOUND, travel cost might not be something you need to worry about. But if you live far away and aren't planning on attending INBOUND, this section is for you.
You will want to fly into Boston Logan Airport (BOS), so I've pulled together a price list for round trip flights from various major airports. All prices shown below are for arriving the day before Training Day and leaving the day after. You might decide to do something else, but hopefully this gives you a starting point for price estimations.
- Atlanta - $119
- Baltimore - $118
- Charlotte - $239
- Chicago (ORD) - $162
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) - $149
- Denver - $376 (Save $100 by flying in Saturday instead of Sunday)
- Detroit (DTW) - $162
- Fort Lauderdale - $212
- Honolulu - $864
- Las Vegas - $418 (Save $120 by flying in Saturday instead of Sunday)
- Los Angeles - $308
- Miami - $311 (Save $100 by flying in Saturday instead of Sunday)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul - $337
- New York (JFK) - $122
- Newark - $122
- Orlando (MCO) - $168
- Philadelphia - $152
- Phoenix - $312
- Portland - $396
- Salt Lake City - $360
- San Diego - $320
- San Francisco - $358
- Seattle/Tacoma - $367
- Tampa - $186
- Washington, D.C. (DCA) - $168
(DISCLAIMER: These prices were pulled from fly.com on June 15th, 2017, and are subject to change)
(APOLOGY TO MY INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS: It's a big world with lots of airports, and exchange rates only further complicate things. I think any estimation I make on your behalf would probably be inaccurate and irrelevant, so I'm not making any.)
Once you have your flight arranged, you need to figure out ground transportation. Training Day is happening at The Westin Boston Waterfront, which is about three miles away from the airport.
You can reserve a round trip taxi on taxilegcabservice.com for $60. Uber or Lyft will run you about $20 each way ($40 total).
My personal recommendation would be to hop on the MBTA Silver Line. It's an accordion bus that comes by the airport terminals every five minutes. It's a thirteen-minute ride to the World Trade Center stop, which is a short walk from the Westin. And the best part is, the ride from the airport is totally free. The trip back will only cost you $2.75, but you'll need to buy a Charlie ticket from a kiosk at the station before you board (the buses don't accept cash or card, only tickets).
If you're staying for INBOUND, definitely check out the event's hotels page—it'll save you a ton of money. But if you're just coming for Training Day, here are some options.
For convenience, you aren't going to beat The Westin, since that's where Training Day is happening. Currently, the standard rate for that Sunday-Tuesday starts at $525/night, including taxes and fees. So if you stay two nights, that'd be $1,050.
Aloft Boston Seaport is only a three-minute walk from there and costs $388/night, including taxes and fees. So two nights there would be $776.
You aren't going to find lodging much cheaper than that, unless you wouldn't mind a commute, but then the transit costs would potentially outweigh the hotel savings. So I'd recommend sticking with one of these two options.
(As an aside, I did an Airbnb search of the area and found some price-savvy options, but now that I've shared them in a blog post, they're likely to go fast. So if that's your jam, act fast!)
Each training session will have a break with coffee and snacks provided, and each training room has a water bubbler to keep you hydrated. But you'll still need, ya know, actual meals.
The Westin has some restaurants in it, and its website has a handy listing of other restaurants in the area. Regardless of where you choose to go, I'd recommend budgeting at least $15/meal. (In reality, breakfasts can be gotten for less than $10, and dinners can be upwards of $20, but I'm shooting for averages here, since we're only estimating costs.)
Okay, now we're in a good spot to estimate the total cost. It'll look like this:
Admission + Transportation + Lodging + Food = Total Cost
So if you order your ticket in June, fly in from San Francisco, stay at the Westin for two nights, and buy five meals, here's your estimate:
$499 + $358 + $1,050 + ($15 x 5) = $1,982
If it was me, I'd round that to an even $2,000. There's your estimated cost.
So what do you get for that? Glad you asked!
If you haven't already, figure out which specific training you want to take. You can see full descriptions of each training on the official website, but here's a quick list of class names for you to peruse and share:
- Introducing the Inbound Methodology to Your Business
- Aligning Sales and Marketing for Business Growth
- Creating a Framework for a Content Strategy
- Developing an Inbound Email Strategy
- Nurturing Your Leads in HubSpot
- Maximizing Revenue with HubSpot CRM
- Building a Brand with Social Media
- Improving Your Lead Generation Efforts with Conversion Rate Optimization
As you look at the different options, you'll probably gravitate towards the ones that are most interesting to you. And that's fine, but you should also keep in mind your company's needs. For you as the attendee, there will be a ton of value in the experience and your personal takeaways, but the real business value of Training Day is what you bring back to the team.
We've been putting a lot of thought into how to make Training Day as valuable as possible, not just for the attendees, but also for the companies they're visiting us from. To that end, we have a couple of things your boss might be interested in:
Have you ever taken a class and became totally amped about what you learned, only to discover that you can't figure out how to apply it to your real life situation afterward?
Training Day will not be like that.
Training Day classes are jam-packed with activities to help you apply what you're learning. You'll be working with fellow attendees, as well as TAs and the course instructor, to develop strategies and plans specific to your business. And each class has its own customized workbook to help you capture what you learn, so when you get back to your team, you'll be able to tell them what you learned and how to use it to address your company's current needs.
The Resources Page
In addition to the workbook, you'll also be given access to a resources page that will have the slides from the training as well as other helpful materials selected by your instructor.
Having the slides will make it easy for you to review the things you learned and share them with your team. And the additional resources will help you continue learning. Even though these trainings are three and a half hours long, we can't cram in everything we'd like to. The resources page will give you a jumping-off point to dive deeper into the things we couldn't dig into.
So as you're positioning the (e.g.) $2,000 expense to your boss, be sure to mention that you're going to come back with tons of ideas for the team and clear next steps for implementing them.
And that brings us to the final step:
I'm going to give you some tips for pitching this idea, and I'm going to format it as an email template. But the same principles apply if you have this conversation in person or via Slack or by any other means. You know your boss better than I do. Choose the venue that you think will be most productive for this conversation.
Before you begin...
First, if you haven't already, head over to the HubSpot Training Day website and figure out which training will be best for you and your company. Also, take note of the time the training occurs and its "What You'll Learn" bullet points.
Then run through those cost estimations and adjust them for your specific situation. If you need to fly out from an airport that isn't listed, do a quick Google search for round trip flights from your airport to BOS around September 25th. Keep in mind, if you have an afternoon session, you might be able to fly in that morning; if you have a morning session, you might be able to fly out that afternoon. Figure out what dates will work best for you, and then figure out how many nights you'll be staying in a hotel and how many meals you'll need. Drop all of that into the equation and figure out an estimate, and then round up to the nearest number ending in zero (or, if possible, a couple of zeros).
Putting It All Together
Even if you're going to have this conversation in real-time (in person, over Slack, etc.), I recommend at least outlining the major points you need to touch on. There are a lot of different ways you could do that, but here's a version based on an old-fashioned persuasion technique called Monroe's Motivated Sequence. (You can read the Wikipedia article if you want some details about it.)
The idea is that you want to start out with something your boss cares about—preferably, a large goal or initiative your whole team (or, better yet, your whole company) is pursuing. Then point out a problem close to you that Training Day will help solve. Position Training Day as the solution, and be sure to help your boss visualize all the good things that will come out of sending you to training day. And finally, ask for some kind of immediate action.
So let's say you're a marketer who works at a company that has a goal to double its customer base by 2020. Looking at the Training Day offerings, you see a lot of things that would probably help, but maybe "Improving Your Lead Generation Efforts with Conversion Rate Optimization" catches your eye because lead gen and conversion rate is in your wheelhouse and you know for a fact that your company is struggling in this area.
Here's an email you might send to your boss (who I can only assume is named Alfonzo).
If I'm being honest, this email is a little long for my taste, but I wanted to show you what Monroe's Motivated Sequence looks like when it's all together in one place. If you have the conversation in person with your boss, your end of it should probably go something like that. (And you should have the logisitcs and pricing printed on a page that you're holding in your hand, ready to show it if asked.)
If you do decide to send this as an email, though, I would probably divide it in half. First, send the beginning two paragraphs and then end with, "I've got a proposition for how we can fix this. When can we meet to discuss?" Next, either save the rest of the email for an in-person meeting, or if your boss responds, "What's your proposition?" send your reply with the second half of the email.
For your convenience, here are those two emails in template form:
So there you have it: Everything you need to know in order to get your boss to send you to Training Day.