The text below is Key Takeways from the Chicago Sales 2.0 Conference posted by Todd Kasper (CEO / Co-founder at Precallpro.com) on Thursday, September 17, 2009:
“In essence, Sales 2.0 combines customer-focused processes with Web 2.0 productivity technologies to enhance the art and science of selling while creating customer value.” Gerhard Gschwandtner
“[…] According to Gerhard Gschwandtner, Publisher of Selling Power, “Sales 2.0 is the chicken soup for the recessionary economy.” […]
#1: It’s a conversation economy
As information becomes easier for customers to get, the sales function’s role becomes less about providing information and more about having conversations with customers. We all know that customers are changing the way that they prefer to buy, but sales organizations have not been as quick to change the way that they sell.
Customers (especially for complex sales) want to co-create with the sales professional solutions that meet their needs. This means that sales professionals need to ask more open-ended questions, do a better job of listening, and get the absolute most possible return out of each client interaction.
This also means that sales professionals need to have better leads, qualify opportunities earlier, and do a better job preparing for the time they actually get to spend with a customer. (An IDC study discussed at the conference revealed only 1 out of 6 sales professionals were “extremely prepared” for an initial meeting with a customer, and 57% were either NOT or only somewhat prepared!)
#2: Lack of Sales and Marketing cooperation on demand generation is inexcusable
The days of Sales and Marketing pointing the lead quality finger at each other need to be over. Companies need to begin to realize the efficiencies that come from sales and marketing alignment (especially in today’s economic environment). Actually disqualifying leads is as important (if not more important) than qualifying them, due to the vast amount of time and resources that can be saved at later (and more time-intensive) stages of the sales cycle.
Kevin Hooper, VP, Technology Solutions Group at Hewlitt-Packard, spoke about giving the Marketing folks in his group at HP a share of the sales quota. What ensued was an instant alignment of interests between Sales and Marketing. Isn’t this how it should be? (For more on this, read Mike Damphousse’s Smashmouth Marketing interview with Mr. Hooper on sales and marketing alignment.)
One emerging trend to look for is the increasing use of predictive analytics to optimize sales and marketing resource allocation. This technology allows the right lead to be placed in front of the right sales rep at the right time. IncentAlign is doing some very interesting work in this space, especially around lead scoring and optimized lead routing.
#3: Social media enables better conversations
The good news is that if we are evolving into a conversation economy, social media is a major engine that allows sellers to engage customers in conversations at a much earlier point in the sales cycle (or to conduct better due diligence at later stages!).
According to Kevin Popovic of Ideahaus, the beauty of social media is these conversations can now be started with the customer where he/she is right now, and on his/her terms.
Pull strategies are proving to be significantly more effective than push strategies, and for more, please see Kevin Popovic’s Social Networking in a Sales 2.0 World presentation.
Social media isn’t just for teenagers and college students – it is a power toolbox that allows sales organizations to have better interactions with customers throughout the sales cycle. For more on the conference’s social media panel, read Gerhard Gschwandtner’s The Sales 2.0 Movement Accelerated in Chicago – Part II.”
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