Philippe RacinePhilippe Racine

June 26th, 202010 min read

Montréal, the fastest growing economy in Canada

Attracting new investment, business and talent to your city requires a global reach, especially in today’s rapidly evolving digital market. Cities have to engage in continuous infrastructure and investment projects while promoting and differentiating their brand internationally — all while facing stiff competition from other cities. Innovative city branding, promotion and incentive initiatives require next-generation digital tools to succeed, and that’s what Montréal International has been able to accomplish with Stent. It’s a model for every city looking to get the same international edge and world-class status.

Setting your city apart in a global market

When you promote your city, you’re competing with just about every other city. You’re not just selling a product — you’re selling a place to invest, work and study. New workers and students are also coming to live. Here’s where social selling with Stent can give you a leg up. Your city has its own unique lifestyle, demographics, culture, history and geography. Stent lets you create a true and vibrant brand for your city through sharing rich content on social networks while targeting the best (and the most) prospects. Through its innovative use of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge digital technologies, Stent maximizes the potential of your social selling initiatives, reaching the broadest audience of key potential investors, corporations, NGOs, workers and students. The Montréal International success story is just one example of how StentAI has done this.

The results with StentAI have been impressive and enabled us to raise our digital game to achieve an incredible return on investment from a brand new marketing initiative. Thank you to the team at Stent for being an essential part of Montreal International’s evolution on a daily basis!

— Cyrielle Bonola, Advisor — International Talent Attraction at Montréal International

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Stent: AI-powered social selling with human intuition

Stent is a social selling and lead generation platform that leverages the latest AI technologies to give users the information, insights and indicators they need to nurture their LinkedIn prospects, increase their presence and establish their branding.

Social selling is a modern sales strategy that leverages the reach of social media and their already-established (and continuously growing) user bases. By pushing rich and relevant content through these channels, organizations of all types and sizes can develop and continuously improve relationships. It’s a value-added approach, since the content itself can then take advantage of social network dynamics to create a self-sustaining circuit of sales materials across various platforms.

Montréal International at a glance

Founded in 1996, Montréal International (MI) is the city’s economic promotion agency, a non-profit public-private partnership financed by the private sector and the municipal, provincial and federal governments. MI’s results have been remarkable, including attracting $18 billion in direct foreign investment and contributing to the creation of 71,000 jobs. With the strongest economic growth of all major Canadian cities, Greater Montréal benefited from significant foreign investment due in no small part to MI’s vital role — and these unprecedented results show no signs of slowing down in the coming years. MI’s 2018 activity breaks down some truly impressive numbers for the third year in a row:

  • $2.7 billion contribution to the GDP, making up 17% of Québec’s economic growth

  • 123 million in federal tax revenue and $216 million in provincial tax revenue

  • $92 million in financial spin-offs for the Montréal Metropolitan Community

  • $2.474 billion in foreign direct investment, an increase of 22% since 2017

  • 6,474 jobs (up 88% since 2015) with an average annual salary of $77,129

  • 640 experienced and skilled foreign workers recruited

  • 63 set-up or expansion projects

Invest, work, study: Montréal International’s mandate

MI carries out its mandate through a focus on three key areas: invest, work and study. A major indicator of MI’s success is the breadth of sectors investing in Montréal. Information and communication technology made up 51.5% of foreign direct investment in 2018, with the visual effects, data center, artificial intelligence and video games sectors making up 35% of investments resulting from MI’s work. MI encourages investment through the promotion of Montréal’s existing talent pool, including its university students and workers in STEM fields, creation, and management and administration.

Every city’s businesses, whether new or established, rely on a steady stream of new workers from elsewhere. MI’s Talent Montréal initiative attracts skilled and experienced talent from around the world, including dedicated job postings and regular recruitment missions in Europe, the U.S., Latin America and the Maghreb. In 2018, MI undertook 14 recruitment missions, both sector-specific and multi-sector, in collaboration with 143 participating companies, a 142% increase since 2017 and a whopping 361% increase since just 2015. MI provided immigration-related support to 438 skilled foreign workers, up 16% since 2017, with an average annual salary of $83,000.

Skilled and experienced workers come from strong educational backgrounds. Montréal is ranked the #1 best student city in North America, and sixth in the Americas, with 35,000 international students every year. MI’s I choose Montréal initiative not only recruits international students but also encourages long-term residency through collaborations with educational institutions and school boards, and by providing job market and immigration support for students who have chosen to stay. In 2018 MI held 162 of its “Live, Work and Immigrate” activities and five promotion and recruitment sessions, with 14 participating educational institutions and research centers.

Besides investment, commerce, employment and education, MI also attracts NGOs and other international organizations to establish themselves in Montréal. Already home to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association, the International Business Aviation Council, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the World Anti-Doping Agency, among countless others, Montréal’s cosmopolitan urban setting and quality of life makes it the ideal headquarters. In 2018, MI helped attract a new international organization, while supporting three retention and expansion projects and undertaking over 190 strategic initiatives with 38 others already in Montréal.

MI’s mandate is to sell an entire city to the entire world, but success in any type of business still comes down to establishing and nurturing relationships between people. MI’s biggest challenge in recent years has been to simplify their outreach by targeting the right contacts — companies, investors, workers, students and more — and looked to Stent to boost its social selling efforts and reach a wider audience.

Social selling with Stent

Stent helps organizations grow their businesses and business professionals boost their careers by providing a structured and efficient tool to grow their networks through social selling backed by intelligent automation. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2016 report, social selling tools are now the most widely-used sales technology, in use by over 70% of sales professionals. Ninety percent of the top salespeople use social selling tools, compared to 71% overall, and Millennials — the up-and-coming workforce of today and business leaders of tomorrow — are 33% more likely to use social selling.

Stent calculates a user’s LinkedIn Social Selling Index and assists them by monitoring their (and their network’s) LinkedIn activities and locating areas for potential growth. Stent’s AI provides the insights users need and delivers all of the best prospects. From the hottest startups to industry giants, from the brightest students to the top scientists — Stent helps users and organizations reach and nurture not just any audience but the right one, and at just the right time.

Stent monitors what’s going on in users’ LinkedIn networks, sorts through the noise and gives them the best and most relevant information they need when they need it — or even before they need it. Stent complements and augments users’ own unique business intuitions with suggestions they can actually use and that actually work. They can even create their own specific social selling campaigns, then let Stent’s intelligent automation and digital intuition take over in order to deliver the best and most qualified leads right to them.

With Stent, organizations can transform their employees into true brand ambassadors with trusted voices. Account managers can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find relevant second-level qualified contacts matching a target audience. All the while, they’re growing their networks and using Stent to publish relevant content. Personalized nurturing messages are sent to all prospects, inviting them to click on a link to an article, introducing them to a new product through a webinar, or any other relevant initiatives companies developed to interact with their audiences.

Montréal International relies heavily on digital platforms to promote the region. To fully extend MI’s global reach, a bold and innovative social media strategy was imperative. Websites, blogs and social media accounts aren’t enough. Content needs to be pushed constantly with the goal of locating, targeting and nurturing prospects, whether it’s a foreign worker or student, an NGO, a major corporation or a hot tech startup.

MI’s Stent implementation has played a major role in their recent and continued success. The MI website received 630,000 page views in 2018 (an increase of 15% since 2017) with 300,000 unique visitors (up 13% since 2018). Maintaining contact with prospects is crucial, which is why 10,000 new subscribers to MI’s newsletter (up 30% since 2017) has been among the drivers of MI’s continued growth. Its social media presence also grew significantly, with 17,500 followers on LinkedIn (up 58%) and 11,500 on Twitter (up 34%), with its YouTube content receiving 2,700 hours of viewing — an increase of 192%!


A next-generation platform powered by AI

The Stent app is available for iOS and Android, and features a unique, proactive and responsive cognitive language assistant for your social selling activities. Stent collects essential business data not just on the people and organizations in your LinkedIn network but also how they interact with your social selling activities.

Stent is more than another social selling platform and AI assistant — it’s the nexus where data-driven digital intelligence meets human business intuition. Stent gives you the right information and insights, ensuring real results from your social selling campaigns. The Stent AI assistant reaches out to you with relevant information, such as when people in your network change titles or companies. Stent’s data intelligence provides live tracking of who opened your message, who reacted and how, who commented and what they said, who clicked on the included links, who visited your profile, who connected or refused to connect with you, along with countless other insights. Everything is available via an intuitive dashboard with clear and relevant analysis, and all data can easily be transferred to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Stent calculates lead scores for every contact, with the best ones automatically sent to a CRM for a follow-up call to action. Every lead’s full LinkedIn journey is included, so that you’ll have all the relevant data to assign each one to the proper sales manager.

Stent and Montreal International: A model of social selling success

Stent has played an important and indispensable role in Montréal International’s remarkable and impressive results in recent years, along with other major clients in telecommunications, information technology and financial sectors. It’s an innovative digital tool creatively conceived and developed to help organizations of all types and sizes and in all areas take their social selling strategies to the next level — and beyond.

Are you looking to promote your city on the global stage? Find out more about how Stent can transform your social selling initiatives and create a dynamic brand to attract investment, business, workers and students worldwide. Contact us today at for more information about this case study.

Article written by Philippe Racine with the support of Alexandre Valembois and Peter Nicoll.