Four ways Gen Y is changing the B2B sales process

‘4 Ways Gen Y Is Changing the B-to-B Sales Process’ by Hallie Mummert, from July 21, 2010:

“As the older segment of Gen Y—the population segment generally defined as being born between 1980 and the early 2000s—takes on bigger roles in the buying process for their employers, B-to-B firms are challenged to adapt their selling strategies.

A survey of 300 managers up to age 35 was conducted last year by Chicago integrated marketing agency Colman Brohan Davis and research firm E-RM. The results indicated a “propensity for social and interactive communications,” the agency reported. In fact, only four out of the 13 tools that respondents indicated they use to research products and services are traditional media, and the agency noted that even their influence was waning. Use of social networks, on the other hand, had increased 152 percent year over year. […]”

 

Jill Konrath on Closing the Gap between Marketing & Sales

On July 21, 2010 manticoretechnology.com/blog/ posted ‘Thought Leadership Interview: Jill Konrath on Closing the Gap between Marketing and Sales’:

“[…] CD: What does marketing need to do to get salespeople to use the content they provide?

JK: Write good content. Most of what marketing produces today sucks. It’s self-serving tripe that highlights the company’s fabulous products, unique methodologies and state-of-the-art technologies. When sellers use this type of content, it trivializes them with customers. They’re seen as product-pushing peddlers who add little value to the sales process.

Educate the sales force. After an eternity of only getting crap from marketing, salespeople don’t have a clue how to use good content. They need to know how to follow up effectively on leads with content during the sales process.

Make it simple. Salespeople don’t have a lot of time. If it’s scattered across the website, it won’t be used. If it’s not intuitive, it won’t be used. Make it as much a no-brainer as possible.

CD: In SNAP Selling, you talk about the prospect’s three decisions. What are they and how do they related to content?

JK: Basically prospects make three primary decisions when it comes to dealing with salespeople.

Their 1st Decision is to “allow access” to them. Sellers may only want a small amount of their time, but today’s crazy-busy buyers are stingy with it. At this stage, salespeople could use content related to the value other firms have used from using the company’s offering. This supports their reason for getting together and increases their chances of setting up a meeting.

The prospect’s 2nd Decision is to “initiate change” – which is something they are loathe to do with everything else on their calendar. Sellers desperately need good content to help prospects determine if making a change would provide significant value for their organization. This could include case studies, white papers, podcasts, articles, analyst reports and more.

Finally, the prospect’s 3rd Decision is to “select resources.” At this phase, sellers need content that differentiates them from other vendors and supports the company’s strengths.

Please notice that I didn’t say brochures. They provide little value except at the very end of the sales process. In my opinion, fancy four-color glossies are a relic of the past – even though salespeople may still be clamoring for them. There are enough sales dinosaurs out there who haven’t yet realized that brochures create significant collateral damage and destroy more opportunities than they gain. […]”

 

An Enterprise 2.0

I just found the following graphic in the blog post ‘The hyper-social organization’ by Joachim Niemeier @JoachimNiemeier from June 29, 2010. I’m not sure who the author of the graphic is. When this is an Enterprise 2.0, then I can’t wait to see how an Enterprise 3.0 looks like (with everything being semantic).
Hyper social

Relating this to Sales Enablement, I would like to point to my post ‘Information Architecture?’.

Graphic from Dion Hinchcliffe but altered with regards to ‘Sales Enablement Application’ instead of ‘online community’.

Also of interest to you might be my posts ‘Constant loop of quantitative and qualitative feedback in a sales enablement portal’ and ‘Without a guiding context you can never be sure how a word used as a tag was meant’.

Reading list – July 9, 2010

All blog posts below were posted on July 9, 2010:

The Sales Force of the Future

More on Social Media and B2B Buying Cycles

How Knowledge Management Is Moving Away From the Repository as Goal
(video blog)

How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks

On Mar 24, 2010, on cmswire.com Len Rosen wrote: How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks:

“Are private social networks becoming entrenched in Enterprise 2.0 businesses with sophisticated sales forces? “We’re not there yet,” states Jennifer King, Director of Sales, Central Region for SAS Canada, the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. SAS is one of many software companies involved in complex solution selling. “Our sales teams are knowledgeable with many years of experience,” states King. “They are just getting their feet wet when it comes to understanding public social networks.”

SAS in many ways is an Enterprise 2.0 business. But it is still getting its head around the tools of social networking. King states, “We have invested in a lot of communication tools including email, bulletin boards, internal chat, blogs, and SharePoint for document sharing. But we have yet to embrace social networking internally.”

At Avnet, an international distributor of electronics, computing and storage products, and a company that is embracing Enterprise 2.0, Charlie Babb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing states, “the answer to every single sales challenge we face already exists somewhere in our company.” Babb recognizes that mining that information is critical to sales success. He asks, “How do we go get it? How do we synthesize it? How do we improve it? How to we get it out to the field? How do we update it?”

SAS and Avnet have been using technology to support sales for many years. They along with many other companies have embraced today’s CRMs, software tools that are great at capturing lead demographics and tracking sales cycles. Knowledge sharing tends to be vertical, that is, sales managers can see what is occurring through report roll ups usually to some kind of dashboard. But CRMs are inherently clumsy when it comes to cross-fertilizing knowledge from one member of a sales team to another.

When Social Networks Interact with Sales DNA

Think about the social networking experience on a public platform like Facebook. Information can be shared in many conversations whether you create a discussion, post something to your wall, or respond to someone else’s posting, view a friend’s video, write your own blog or comment on a friend’s blog. Now translate this functionality into a sales department. Are sales people willing to be a friend to others? When I entered sales 37 years ago it was clear to me right from the start that I was in competition with every other sales person in my company. This competition was company fostered. Rewards were never given for sharing. Every year the best of us survived the “cut” to continue selling. The worst of us got “pink slipped.” Knowledge sharing was not in our sales DNA. But every sales manager wants answers to the questions that Charlie Babb posed, and one way of fulfilling that goal is through the deployment of a private social network.

Two years ago I was approached by a company here in Canada that had 400 locations coast-to-coast, a central office in Winnipeg, and regional offices in all 10 provinces and the 3 territories. The sales force was 4,000 strong. Imagine creating a network for knowledge sharing and cross-fertilization of ideas for such a distributed army of individuals, many of them working from home offices with their only connection electronic using the phone and Internet.

I sat down with the VP of sales and asked him what were the challenges within his organization. One was harvesting the knowledge that existed within the staff. Another was spreading the knowledge wealth. A third was retaining staff. The company had web resources, email and other means of electronic communications but they didn’t have a social network. The company had a tradition of rewarding peak performers, not just for sales success but also for attaining levels of certification based on taking company-sponsored programs.

This is the perfect scenario for deploying a private social network framework with all of its communication attributes. enableconsultants.com Enable Consultants, a Toronto-based software developer, encounters many of these types of companies. Faith Exeter, President, remarks, “Organizations need a way to harvest collective wisdom that is friendly, informative, engaging and fun, and serves to meet revenue and other business objectives.” Enable builds many different types of private social networks, each meeting particular industry or market niche requirements. “We find when we talk to marketing people, who tend to be younger and digital natives, they immediately grasp the value inherent in implementing social networks inside the firewall.”

However, Exeter goes on to state, “getting sales departments to buy-in takes considerably greater effort largely because they tend to rely on past experience as their model. And experienced sales people tend to be digital immigrants, not as savvy or accustomed to social networking and its uses.”

In an Enable sales social network every sales person has a profile, a personal calendar, a bulletin board for receiving short messages, a blog, a place to store documents, a place to upload videos and pictures, chat, and receive and send email. Every sales person can be partnered with a team. Interaction is encouraged and rewarded through a point system with points given for online participation and group interaction. Knowledgeable sales people acts as content experts and through sharing information with knowledge seekers receive rewards.

Sales 2.0: The Rise of Social Capital

The adoption of social networking in sales organizations has recently been given a new name, S2.0 or Sales 2.0. The implementation of a private sales social network changes communication. Company sales knowledge gets quickly disbursed. When a knowledgeable sales person answers a question the information is not only read by the person asking the question but is captured for all letting other sales people view the results or enter key search words to see the answer and other answers of similar relevance.

In a sales social network answers can come from unlikely sources. Employees who may be quiet in a meeting may feel empowered when in a virtual space, sharing knowledge that is uniquely held. These are the hidden gems within your organization that a social networking application can mine.

Insights from known knowledge workers can be flagged by the application with automatic system alerts going company wide whenever they post something new. Instructional videos can be posted online, accessible anytime, anywhere. Sales departments can build best practices wikis, or industry-specific documentation shareable company-wide. The knowledge shared internally can be made available to externally, giving selected customers and prospects access to important information to help them make buying decisions. Postings can go mobile as well making any cell phone a knowledge resource.

For companies who have sales teams that are multi-generational, facilitating communications using the media that is most comfortable represents a real challenge. Baby Boomers get email. Digital natives, those in their 20s and early 30s, use instant messaging, texting and social networks. For young workers email is communication for old people. Social networking and all its many communication tools is where it’s at.

In the Miller Heiman report, “Megatrends That Will Impact The Way We Manage Sales Organizations,” it states:

“today’s young social networkers are tomorrow’s salespeople. Having grown up with social networking, they’re likely to continue relying on this way of communicating and collaborating throughout their careers.”

The report refers to the collective value that social networking provides as “social capital,” almost as important to an organization as intellectual capital. They conclude, “Organizations with rich social capital enjoy access to venture capital and financing, improved organizational learning, the power of word-of-mouth marketing, the ability to create strategic alliances, and the resources to defend against hostile takeovers.”

About the Author

Len Rosen is a Toronto-based consultant working with companies on the use of technology to enhance small business productivity. He has a particular interest in the business application of social media and social networks. Len has been at it for 36 years. He is a contributing author to a number of web sites and publishes his own small business technology blog.

Does The Enterprise 2.0 Emperor Have No Clothes?

On June 15, 2010 Sandy Kemsley wrote

Does The Enterprise 2.0 Emperor Have No Clothes?

“[…] I’m not saying that standalone Enterprise 2.0 initiatives have jumped the shark, but there’s only so much rah-rah about enterprise collaboration that I can take before I fall back on three thoughts:

  1. Collaboration is already going on in enterprises, and always has: all that Enterprise 2.0 does is give us some nicer tools for doing what we’ve already been doing via word of mouth, email, and other methods.
  2. Collaboration is just not that interesting if it doesn’t directly impact the core business processes.
  3. The millennials are not going to save us.

People collaborate inside enterprises when they care about what they do…

[…]
To wrap it up: enterprise collaboration is good when it has a business purpose, and anyone can do it.”

Reading List – July 12, 2010

On July 12, 2010, my favorite marketing blogger April Dunford (@aprildunford) wrote the post ‘Vertical Marketing 101’ at her blog rocketwatcher.com:

“[…]

Sales Enablement – It isn’t enough to have your marketing content go deep in a segment if leads get handed over to a sales force that can’t talk the talk. Marketers will need to figure out how best to train their field forces so that they have a deep understanding of the specific environment, pains, use cases and users in that segment. Many companies have people with this expertise (either in product management, product marketing, field engineering or professional services) but often there is no process to package up that information for it to be consumed not just by customers in marketing materials, but also by the sales force.  Some things I’ve done before to try to accomplish this include:

  • Deal analysis and discussion – this can be done as a document or a presentation to the field but the idea is to document in detail the steps of a specific deal from prospect to close including evaluation criteria, deal committee, the evaluation process and how negotiations took place.  I’ve found this works best when it’s a sales rep or field engineer presenting directly to the other reps (rather than having marketing do the talking).
  • Regulations/Issues/language training – marketing can create sales training materials that pertain to a particular industry regulation or business problem. This training can be delivered in online or over the phone (hint: if you create materials and merely email them out to your sales force they WILL be ignored.  I’ve tracked the open rate on emails I’ve sent to my own sales teams, trust me it wasn’t pretty) as long as it’s done live. Don’t be afraid to repeat this training and make sure you determine how a new rep that comes on board will get trained.  I also like to publish a glossary of industry-specific terms that folks in the field should know in order to talk credibly to prospects.
  • Customer presentations and Q and A’s – Get a customer to attend your regular sales call and/or your sales meetings to talk about a specific set of problems and let everyone in the room ask a lot of questions.  I once had a CIO come and speak to my sales team about why she chose a competing product to illustrate how some of our sales tactics were not hitting the mark.
  • Whiteboard training materials – People define this in different ways but I would call this anything you can do to help sales do more visual storytelling around your products and solutions.  Marketing can create a set of easy to understand diagrams and graphics that sales can use in a discussion with a prospect using a whiteboard, flip chart or on the back of a napkin.

[…]”

Also on July 12, 2010, Sharon Little wrote a great blog post on Sales Enablement at her blog:

“[…] Sales Enablement appears to be a real thing. Ten years from now we’re all going to be able to say that we were pioneers. […] Joe Galvin of Sirius Decisions […] is a passionate thought leader in the area of sales enablement and arguably years ahead of the rest of us when it comes to seeing what’s possible. […]

  • Evolving Requirements – The knowledge required to be a salesperson in today’s environment is constantly changing. Acquisitions, product enhancements, and competitive threats all contribute to a constantly changing environment. At some point, it is too hard to keep up, so many salespeople will stop trying and simply stick with what they already know. A real challenge when you’re acquiring new companies or introducing new products.
  • Digestibility – Marketing becomes so intent on getting their message to the Field, that in order to capture mindshare, they create more content and repeat it in various forms. The Field is in “content overload” and they lose their ability to digest it all.
  • Sophisticated Buyers – Thanks to the ready availability of information, buyers know a lot more than they used to when contacting sales for the first time. When they are ready to engage, they expect an informed, knowledgeable salesperson. Sales needs to be able to meet them where they are if an effective meeting is going to take place.
  • Measuring Productivity is Key– More calls of higher quality is the goal. Drive towards delivering more active opportunities, increased conversions, and higher close rates.  Revenue performance is relative, but tied to too many external variables.

What Does a Sales Executive Think About Sales Enablement?

If you’re lucky it’s just now hitting their radar. They want their teams “enabled”, but what does that mean? This is the challenge before you – to help the sales executives at your company to see sales enablement as mission critical. And you’re going to have to define it for them. What is it? How is it different?  How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?  And what about funding?

What is the Vision?

When all is said and done, what are you building?  The goal is a robust, flexible, innovative enablement strategy that takes into account your company’s goals and objectives, growth strategy and culture.  Equally important is a plan that is modern, scalable and integrated. Enablement encompasses training, communication, leadership, motivation, and development.  Integration among these components is key to enablement.

The real goal is to enable sales to have customer conversations that are relevant and even revolutionary for the customer while ultimately being financially impactful to your business.

Translation, Packaging and Gate-Keeping

As a sales enablement professional, you play a very unique role. Essentially, you sit at the intersection point between Marketing and Sales.  It may not feel like the safest place to be, but try to think of it as an adventure.  The whole company wants to get to the sales team. For sales enablement to work, they have to go through you.  It’s your job to represent their interests in a responsible, effective manner and package information in a way the field can use it, and deliver it to a customer.

Milestones

Sales enablement utopia is not going to happen overnight.  It’s going to take awhile, probably longer than you would like; so pace yourself.  And since this is unchartered territory, how do you know if you’re heading in the right direction?

Enablement 1.0

  • Establish a Leadership Platform – Your executive team is key to enablement success.  People crave leadership and enablement cannot happen unless your enablement efforts are aligned to leadership objectives.
  • Cleanup Communications – Everyone communicates, right?  Exactly.  And everyone in your company wants to communicate with your sales team.  It all becomes white noise very quickly.  Streamline and up-level your field communications.  The focus needs to be on the audience.  Remove vanity projects.
  • Invest in Technology – Technology plays a significant role in enablement.  Some combination of audio, video, HTML, Sharepoint, etc. will factor into your enablement strategy.  It should be flexible and provide options to support the message and the audience.  Invest in foundational technology early and make sure that it is flexible enough to meet your needs over time.
  • Emphasize On Boarding – If there is one aspect of training that is critical, it’s getting new hires ramped up and productive quickly.
  • Solidify a Sales Methodology – Which one doesn’t matter.  Pick one, stick with it and reinforce it.  Most of your reps have a favorite – pick that one.  Don’t over invest, but be consistent and commit.
  • Align with Kickoff – Kickoff should be a year long experience.  Use Kickoff to set the stage for the year and reinforce the objectives throughout the year.

Enablement 2.0

  • Specialize by Audience – The Field is more than Sales, right? It includes technical teams, channel folks and more. Their needs are unique from Sales.
  • Line Managers – Target them as your extended enablement team. Through them you reach the sales team.  They want to help their teams and do the right thing.  Help them, help you.
  • Content Strategy – This is where less is more, governance and a “bill of materials” comes into play.  It’s also the point where you need to move beyond the subject matter experts creating their own strategy for content to a uniform, consistent approach that is consumable for Sales.
  • Mobile – Your salespeople live on their iPhones and Blackberries, some are even toting around iPads.  Emphasize mobile access for all of your deliverables.
  • Video – Video is becoming huge and it needs to be simpler than it has in the past.  Get your leaders and experts camera-ready and figure out how to use a flipcam and edit on your laptop.
  • Be Prescriptive – Bucket enablement into what they must know, extra credit and on demand. Be clear that’s what you’re doing. They will appreciate it.
  • Differentiate Between Global and Local – What needs to happen at headquarters versus what is better executed in region?  Define it and facilitate strong relationships with the regional teams.  They are critical to your success.

[…]”

Job opening – Product Marketing Manager (including Sales Enablement)

Old! Outdated!

PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER – US/EUROPE

Employer: Colibria

The fast-growing and highly competitive SIP application server market (Specifically for Presence, Next Gen messaging and Group list/address book for SIP/IMS, Broadband-Cable-wireless – 3G/4G/Wimax/LTE) represents a key strategic opportunity for Colibria. The Sales & Marketing team focuses on Value Creation, Sales Enablement and Business Development. We’re looking for a talented individual to strengthen this team in the role of Product Marketing Manager.

The Product Marketing Manager has an intimate knowledge and understanding of the SIP application server Market (Broadband, Cable, Wireless), with a view to creating and communicating a superior value proposition for the market in general and specific key partners and customers in particular. The Product Marketing Manager focuses on the positioning of our Products through outbound messaging and promotion. He/She is a key resource for the Sales & Marketing Team.

The Product Marketing Manager is responsible for:

  • Value identification: Gain and maintain intimate knowledge and understanding of the SIP application server Market and Stakeholders to identify high level market requirements and Business Objectives/Perceived Value. Activities include Market Segmentation, Competitive Monitoring and Analysis.
  • Value Creation: Provide support to Management/Product Management in driving new and superior solutions, through identification and suggestion of opportunities in the market. Involvement in the Product Management Business Case Cycle in a supporting and challenging capacity. Develop Go-To-Market Strategy with relevant stakeholders.
  • Value Communication: Develop product positioning and messaging that differentiates the Colibria products in the market. In cooperation with the marketing manager, conceive & develop innovative marketing strategies, programs and assets that drive demand and influence the market. Communicate and represent the value proposition of the Colibria products internally as well as externally with partners and customers and other important stakeholders within the SIP application server market.
  • Sales Enablement: Develop and deploy strategies and tools to support the frontline sales force (direct & indirect) in achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency. Act as a Knowledge Centre within Colibria, including Pre-sales support. Sales Training & Assessment. Sales Tools & Planning Tools and Best Practices: White Papers, Presentations & Proposal Templates, Diagnostic Tools, Strategic Market Plans, Partner and distributor focused communication plans, etc.

Profile

You are a visionary and result-oriented Team Player with established interpersonal abilities. You have superior analytical skills, and are able to formulate clear objectives and effectively utilize existing resources to achieve deadlines. You are a team player with a passion for excellence, and a pro-active, dedicated and fast learner.
You hold a Masters degree in marketing or engineering and minimum 5 years proven experience in senior marketing, business development or product management roles in Telco-Next Gen. You have a strong customer focus, proven track record in outward communication and are skilled in market research and competitive analysis. An understanding of the modern SIP application server environment (Presence, Next Gen messaging, converged address book etc.) is a strong asset.

You are willing to travel up to 30% of your time.

Location: US or Europe

Reading List – June / July 2010

Blog post by IDC: You’re Spending Too Much Time in Front of Prospects

CIOs to Vendors: Get to Know My Business

5 STEPS FOR SELLING TO B2B CUSTOMER 2.0

Blog post by Forrester: Do Your Value Propositions “Go To Eleven”?

5 tips for building your digital profile

Podcast with Dave Stein

Job opening – Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement: Adobe Systems

Old! Outdated!

Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement: Adobe Systems

Location: San Jose, CA

Position Type: Full-Time, Employee

Experience: 5-10 Years Experience

Company Name: Adobe Systems

Job Category: Management/Executive; Technology

Position: Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement
Business Segment: Product Marketing
Location: Americas-USW-San Jose

“Description: […]

Position Summary

This position leads the CSBU’s Sales and Partner Enablement team, whose mission is to define and deliver the right tools, messaging and training to Sales & Partners, in order to drive revenue. Sales enablement is a relatively new function for the CSBU, and the Group Manager is responsible for establishing the long term vision for the department, and for translating that vision into actionable plans in order to continue to build on the success of our “V1” and take it to the next level. In this role, you will manage a team of 3 permanent employees and 2 contractors, and you will also work closely with Campaign Marketing, Product Marketing, Global Market Research, Field Marketing, Sales, and Sales Operations.

Responsibilities

  • Completing qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to set priorities, identify opportunities for increasing revenues, design new programs, and complete quarterly business reviews.
  • Crafting relevant messaging for direct sales force, channel sales, & ecosystem partners
  • Generating sales tools and marketing assets, such as presentations, sales solution cards, white papers, contributed articles, and website content
  • Developing and delivering training to direct sales force and channel sales worldwide
  • Creating a scalable ecosystem and processes and programs- and manage existing influencer programs worldwide
  • Maintaining relationships with our many stakeholders in Field Marketing and Sales in order to ensure that we have a strong feedback loop so we can optimize our programs
  • Hiring a contractor to manage the development of sales references, marketing references and customer stories/business ROIs – and refine CS5 Sales Messaging based on feedback from the Field as well as buyer research.
  • Refining channel certification programs, developing new hire and continuing education curriculum for direct sales – and creating a Direct Sales certification program
  • Partnering with Sales Operations to train Product Marketing Managers on Sales messaging methodology, and create processes to create CS 5.5 messaging with greater PMM involvement
  • Working cross-functionally to ensure the necessary infrastructure to support an evolving Solution Partner program in order to ensure our success in Digital Publishing, Advertising, and other verticals.

Requirements

We are looking for an ambitious and results-oriented individual who enjoys change management – a strategic leader with outstanding communication skills, high initiative, and strong influencing skills.
Work Experience.

Most successful candidates will have 7-10 years of related experience, including at least 3 years managing others.
(3-5 years experience in marketing to Media & Entertainment, product design, or other creatively-driven enterprises is a strong advantage.)

This is a high visibility position so poise, leadership ability, and excellent communications skills are essential.
We are looking for a demonstrated ability to drive significant change within large organizations, including excellent influence and project management skills.

The successful candidate will have a highly collaborative work style including experience working cross-organizationally and across geographies, aligning multiple stakeholders and teams.

[…] Adobe has more than 4,700 employees in the United States and is headquartered in San Jose, California, with other office locations nationwide.”