Sales Enablement groups on LinkedIn etc

In “LinkedIn Groups-Where The Action Is” on fillthefunnel.com @MilesAustin recommends a few LinkedIn groups to join

“The real action on LinkedIn can be found within Groups.  If you want to increase the benefits and rewards of being a LinkedIn user, consider joining one of over 212,000  groups on LinkedIn.  These groups  typically are open to everyone, and are comprised of professionals that have a specific area of interest, experience, affiliation or goals.  There are Groups for Alumni associations, Community organizations, Industries, Professional Certifications, software programs and even geography.   These Groups are an effective way to develop connections with others in your profession or area of interest. […]

To find a group that interests you, the Groups Directory allows you to easily find the right group.
[…]

In my opinion, LinkedIn should be required for anyone participating in our Web 2.0 world .  If you want to break through to the real power of this, or any tool, you need to go deeper into its capabilities. Utilizing the power of Groups in LinkedIn will enhance your experience.

For SalesMakers, here is a short list of some of the Sales Groups that I belong to and recommend exploring and joining if you are so inclined:

  1. Sales Blogcast.com
  2. The Sales 2.0 Network
  3. Jigsaw User Group
  4. Selling to Big Companies
  5. Inside Sales Experts
  6. Friends of the Funnel

Join one of more of these groups, start one of your own, and most importantly jump in and contribute ideas, answer questions and share experiences. You will get out of this what you put into it.”

More groups on LinkedIn:

Sales Enablement Gurus

Sales Enablement Leader Exchange:

“Welcome to our LinkedIn Group dedicated to exchanging ideas about Sales Enablement.

What exactly is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the process of arming an organization’s sales force with access to the insight, experts, and information that will ultimately increase revenue. It is a term that has gained momentum in the last decade. It is often used to describe a variety of tools, processes and methodologies that are applied to enable a sales force, both direct and indirect. The terms “sales effectiveness” and “sales readiness” are sometime used interchangeably to denote Sales Enablement as well.

How can Sales 2.0 webinars, presentations and virtual conferences evolve beyond the 1.0 style?

In her blog post Making Webinars and Presentations Sales 2.0 Anneke Seley, author of The Sales 2.0 Book, says

“I’ve had many opportunities to participate in Web and speaking events on the topic of Sales 2.0. While I am grateful for the invitations to spread the important message of reinventing sales to achieve better results, something has been troubling me: the typical approach many of us take to presentations is best described as Sales 1.0. Sales 2.0 is about collaborative, two-way communication and sharing of ideas with prospects and customers. Sales 1.0 describes the traditional feature/benefit-oriented pitches or presentations that we often make in one direction – to our customer or audience – without engaging them and letting them tell us about themselves and their business objectives.

Isn’t the PowerPoint presentation the ultimate Sales 1.0 offender, whether given face-to-face or online? […]”

I could not agree more. Besides the fact that customers should be there as additional speakers and present their own case study I would even go further and say that as few people as possible should be in ‘listen only mode’. ‘In browser virtual worlds’ with 3D spatial audio like the Lenovo eLounge, where anybody can un-mute their avatar at any time or decide for their own audio stream who to mute (for example people on a bad connection), would be a great space for really 2.0-like webinars, presentations and virtual conferences that break the one-to-many pattern. @skribe wrote a review of former web.alive now Avayalive Engage, the technology used for the Lenovo eLounge.

Lenovo eLounge

[Disclosure: Until October 1, 2009, I used to work for the company behind web.alive]

As you can see in the comment below @skribe also did a video walk through of the Lenovo eLounge

Web 2.0 tools and Sales 2.0 tools

Via his comment on this blog Nigel Edelshain shed some light on the origin of the term ‘Sales 2.0’:

“The definition of Sales 2.0 is still being nailed down.

It all started 3 years ago with a personal story of my frustration with being in sales. The definition I put out there was a “new way of selling” to show my frustration with how we sell today (the lack of science, repeatability and what I call “investability”). Some more pragmatic folk have helped make a more actionable definition around using Web 2.0 tools but the discussion continues.

Even though the discussion continues on the exact definition of Sales 2.0 there is real ROI NOW in some of the Sales 2.0 tools and techniques out there. And this ROI is continuing to build.

I believe this is just early days in something that can have a significant impact on sales effectiveness.”

So, what are the Web 2.0 tools and Sales 2.0 tools one has to check out?
In his blog post Don’t Become A Sales Dinosaur: Interview with Jill Konrath Chad Levitt from New Sales Economy.com got some answers from Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies and the Selling to Big Companies blog:

Jill Konrath: “Blogging, combined with my e-newsletter which has 20,000+ subscribers, has been my biggest way of establishing thought leadership in my market space. My goal is to become ubiquitous. Right now, my blog is syndicated by a number of other sites. I’ve also done a ton of webinars in the past few years. These are typically sponsored by an organization that’s selling to the same people I’m trying to reach, so it’s a real win-win to have my expertise marketed to their database.

“I’m also experimenting with several other social media vehicles right now. I have a Facebook page. I set up a Ning community for women sales experts. I have two LinkedIn groups too. I’m learning what it takes to lead a “Tribe”. I’m using Twitter as a way to deliver snippets of information and to share resources.

I’ve done a number of podcasts – but for other people to post on their website. I want to do my own, but there’s only so much time in the day. I’m also gearing up to do lots more videos so I can have a bigger presence on YouTube. I even did a Internet TV program a few weeks ago. […]”

Jill Konrath: “I started blogging 4 years ago. Since it’s only one of my many thought leadership initiatives, it’s difficult to determine which of my corporate clients have come through that door.

What I can tell you is that anybody who looks at my blog is convinced that I know my stuff! They can read my articles, listen to podcasts, sign up for some of my free webinars. It’s a great way to test my expertise before hiring me.”

Jill Konrath: “Sales 2.0 technologies make me drool – literally. From the moment I saw Jigsaw five years ago, I was hooked. The sheer amount of information that’s available today is amazing. Savvy sellers can leverage Sales 2.0 to get themselves in front of the right people at the right time with the right message – ultimately shortening their sales cycles, creating demand and differentiating themselves from competitors.

Here’s what sellers can do to get started.

  • For finding names, researching individuals, making connections, I love LinkedIn, Jigsaw, ZoomInfo, Netprospex, & Hoovers. I recently discovered Xobni too and was really impressed.
  • To leverage business intelligence, my favorites today are InsideView – which alerts you to user-selected trigger events; Genius – which allows you to know if a prospect opened your email, read it, forwarded to others and more.
  • To increase sales productivity, sellers can also use GoToMeeting or Webex to initiate conversations, demonstrate services, review proposals and more.”

[…]
Jill Konrath: “Be smart about sales. Each contact you have with a prospective client should be treated as the most important meeting in the world. That’s why it’s imperative to do your homework in researching the company and the individuals. It’s the price of admission.

But, you also need to leverage the information you learn in terms of creating customer-focused messaging, insightful questions, provocative statements, and spot-on presentations. Plan your meetings in advance, then review what you’ve created from the customer’s perspective. If it’s not relevant or tied to an urgent priority, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Plus, you’re killing your credibility. […]”

Sr. Field Marketing Manager – Sales Enablement, Global Online Display

Title: Sr. Field Marketing Manager – Sales Enablement, Global Online Display

Start Date: ASAP
Location: Seattle, WA
Date Posted: 3/14/2009

Description
As a member of the newly formed Global Online Display Advertising group, the Sr. Field Marketing Manager will be part of building a world class marketing organization from the ground up. We are seeking a seasoned marketing professional who can develop the functional departments needed to launch our online display advertising business to the digital advertising world. The Sr. Field Marketing Manager will oversee a team of individual contributors and report into to the Director of Business Management and Yield for Global Online Display Advertising.

This role will require a solid background in media sales, experience in sales enablement and building out best practices relating to sales effectiveness, as well as the ability to influence and work collaboratively across sales, operations and product development teams.

Specific functions are as follows:

Go-to-market — a core responsibility of the Trade Marketing team will be to deploy ad products to the sales team via scalable and efficient communication channels. Go-to-market involves the preparation of highly effective sales tools, ensuring a seamless sales process, communicating to offices throughout the world, education of product information to the entire organization, and the development of case studies to influence future sales.

Field Marketing — develop an effective event presence at major advertising industry and category events. The presence must deliver measurable results in terms of leads, brand awareness, client touch points, etc.

Training — development of an on-going training program to educate new sales staff on navigating the organization, positioning the offering to the marketplace, selling skills and product information. These programs must deliver top-notch sales staff and constantly address the ever changing challenges of the digital advertising industry.

Research — to achieve thought leadership, the research function of Trade Marketing should assemble research tools in order to win business from the advertising community. This involves competitive intelligence, advertising effectiveness studies, synthesizing of syndicated research, and membership to research organizations.

Public Relations — Trade Marketing will be responsible for positioning our online advertising business to the trade publications to drive positive buzz and interest amongst the advertising community. This may include the placement of ad buys, response to inquiries from the media, press releases during notable events, and act as the liaison to Amazon Corporate on external communication efforts.

Brand Management — creation of a new brand to achieve recognition in the marketplace. This involves the development of the brand, collateral standardization, messaging, and brand principles.

Qualifications
Our ideal candidate will have:

  • Deep knowledge of the advertising community
  • Financial and budget management skills
  • An ability to manage and negotiate with vendors
  • An understanding of online media fundamentals (how media is bought and sold, pricing models, optimization and targeting)
  • Channel marketing and event management experience
  • An ability to drive performance metrics which can deliver a positive ROI
  • Solid presentation skills to win stakeholder approval
  • 7-10 years marketing, relationship marketing or online marketing preferably in a recognized consumer or technology organization/brand
  • MBA or equivalent experience

 

Sales 2.0?

I have been looking for a good definition of Sales 2.0 for while now. The following definitely helps to understand what it is not. Brandon from salesteamtools.com wrote a great post entitled The Wrong Definition of Sales 2.0 on January 6, 2009:

 

On August 18, 2009 I found this definition of Sales 2.0 from blog.bridgegroupinc.com/blog/:

“Sales 2.0 is an approach not a sales process. It requires you to transform your business from one that is focused on selling to one that is focused on letting the market buy from you.

Sales 2.0 requires a change in mindset. It requires focus on buyer personas, lead nurturing, content development, social networking, web 2.0 tools, etc.”

I have been looking for a good definition of Sales 2.0 for while now. The following definitely helps to understand what it is not. Brandon from salesteamtools.com wrote a great post entitled The Wrong Definition of Sales 2.0 on January 6, 2009:

“There’s been a new term making the rounds the last couple years: “Sales 2.0.” But as with anything “2.0,” a few are leading the charge to innovate, while others are jumping on the bandwagon simply to use the term.

The sad thing is, while some of the latter group carry solid sales training credentials, they would have you believe that teaching 2.0 means regurgitating the same advice given over the last 45 years.

Here’s a call out to sales authors to use Sales 2.0 and mean it. If 2.0 refers to the “new version” or “next generation” or “next evolution” or “new approach” for doing something, then it can never be about reissuing a message that’s been taught for years.

Sales 2.0 is not “ask more questions.”
Sales 2.0 is not “sell yourself.”
Sales 2.0 is not “sell benefits, not features.”
Sales 2.0 is not “be unique.”
Sales 2.0 is not “don’t sell on price.”
Sales 2.0 is not “be sharp on the phone.”

Sales has always been about those things. The fact that it’s more important today than 5, 10, or 20 years ago, doesn’t suddenly make it innovative or insightful advice. Those are sales principles, they’re certainly not innovative techniques or approaches. […]

If you want to tell people to stick to certain sales principles, I’m on board, if you want to call that advice Sales 2.0, you’re branding it inaccurately.

SalesForce.com is Sales 2.0. Beyond the idea of online prospect management, the applications that have been built onto SalesForce are unreal.

Jigsaw is Sales 2.0. It’s an innovative approach to getting the names and contact info you need to get deals going.

PipelineDeals and BatchBook are Sales 2.0. They’re multiple progressions beyond Act! and Goldmine in terms of ease of use, speed to use, and sharing capabilities.

Landslide is Sales 2.0. It’s a whole new approach to sales rep planning and organization.

The Selling to Big Companies approach is Sales 2.0. Jill teaches a way to sell to executives that most salespeople aren’t aware of, and didn’t do 15 years ago.

SalesGenius is Sales 2.0. It takes us beyond phone communications, beyond email communications, to email communications that provide us with follow-through data on customers and prospects.

The Never Cold Call approach is Sales 2.0. Frank gets it, that decision-makers have more distractions and incoming messages now than ever. His self-marketing approach gets you through despite that.

The X2 Sales System is Sales 2.0. Jeff Hardesty teaches a cutting-edge prospecting system, backed up by data, feedback, and killer software, to schedule more appointments.

It may sound cliche, but Seth Godin is Sales 2.0.

Referrals via LinkedIn are Sales 2.0. The tool simply didn’t exist 10 years ago in any practical form.

Webinars and screencasts are Sales 2.0. There may be good ones and bad ones, but they introduce a new way to demonstrate your product or service and close the deal from thousands of miles away.

Brent Holloway gets Sales 2.0.

Sales 2.0 is about about new approaches to getting sales results. Sometimes they’re techniques, other times they’re tools. They’re not principles — those are timeless. And it’s never about saying the same things as sales trainers from a decade ago.”

 

Content Landscape – feature rich web application for Sales Enablement

The videos below by Moritz Stefaner (his blog), a recognized expert on interface design, visualization, statistics and data mining, show how he applied his ‘Elastic Lists’ (Example 1, Example 2) to Sales Enablement resources. The result is called ‘Content Landscape’ and has been developed by the Sales Enablement vendor BizSphere.

From http://moritz.stefaner.eu/projects/content-landscape/

“Content Landscape is a feature rich web application for searching and browsing digital resources in the enterprise. It facilitates not only content access, but also the understanding of resource distributions. […]

A regional marketing manager for a product group wants to retrieve resources only for his specific region and product, restricted to marketing materials. Other users may be interested in the latest news across all areas, or material only related to contract preparation. […]

The browsing mode allows to select multiple filter settings in flat (’Content Area’, ’Sales Step’, ’Media type’), hierarchical (’Region’, ’Offering’ and ’Resource type’) and numerical facets (’Rating’ and ’Date created’). […] Understanding resource production, use and distribution across departments, regions, and product groups is one of the core challenges of knowledge management in the enterprise.

’What are the most downloaded contents?’, ’do the presentation materials for a given product cover all important sales regions?’, ’what parts of my resource collection are growing? and which are declining?’ are typical questions in this area. […]”

Definition of Sales Enablement and Conversation Enablement

Definition of Sales Enablement

This blog follows IDC‘s Michael Gerard’s definition of Sales Enablement as posted on his blog ‘Musings on the Science and Art of Selling’:

“The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward”

John Neeson also has an excellent definition:

“Channel and Sales Enablement. Provide sales (direct and channel) the tools that will give them access to the knowledge assets that support in-process sales pursuits. Foster sharing of information on a two-way basis as information learned in the field can be used to tune, refresh, and continuously improve the knowledge base. […] focusing on “searchability and findability” of information.”

Definition of Conversation Enablement

Building on Michael Gerard’s definition of Sales Enablement, Conversation Enablement can be defined as:

The delivery of the right knowledge(=information provided in context) in the right format
and the right questions to ask (“Conversations are about discovery”)
to the right person at the right time and in the right place
necessary to move a specific conversation forward.

Without sales enablement, there are inefficient processes, communication flows, and more required rework

Brian Lambert posted “Sales 2.0 impact on Sales Process, Sales Enablement, Sales Development”

From July 15, 2008:

“[…] As more knowledge is provided to buyers through the Internet, opinion sites, and more research oriented sites, the power-shift from the seller to the buyer will certainly continue as international competition increases creating new and emerging markets for many industries.

The changing landscape of the sales environment is not only found in the buyer-seller relationship, it’s also found within the sales team. Turnover continues to be high and the talent shortage continues to create challenges for even the best and most-reputable sales teams. Sales managers sit at a critical junction point between sales execution and sales strategy — yet many are not provided resources, tools, and (perhaps most importantly) the time necessary to ratchet performance over the long term. To compound the issues, the system’s approach required to address unique customer challenges, respond to the competitive landscape, and create an agile, responsive sales organization involves more people than just the sales manager and sales team. It requires the alignment of sales development and training efforts as well as Sales Enablement and operational execution. […]

Sales Process Execution (SPE) requires the complete alignment of company resources to facilitate a responsive and agile customer relationship.  Without sales process execution, there are no sales. SPE is enabled by Sales 2.0 largely through CRM, SFA, Knowledge Management Tools, and customer-driven communications such as knowledge bases and wikis. […]

Sales Enablement improves sales capacity of the firm overall. Without sales enablement, there are inefficient processes, communication flows, and more required rework. While Sales Process Execution is mostly focused on the external relationships and buyer-seller interface, Sales Enablement (SE) is mostly concerned with the internal efficiency of the company.  SE initiatives are most impacting when optimizing existing work flow, processes, and administrative tasks.  The goal of SE therefore becomes is to “substitute” as much of the sales team member’s work as possible. By providing adequate task substitution as a primary goal of Sales Enablement,  sales teams are more free to spend time with customers. Sales Enablement in Sales 2.0 is largely the world of large-scale CRM tools, company intranet tools, and peer-to-peer sharing tools. There is more room for Sales 2.0 to support the internal working of the organization especially on critical inter-departmental communication and alignment. […]

Sales 2.0 tools can help organizations synchronize to individual buying organizations while freeing up sales team members from routine administrative tasks. […]”

Alignment of sales and marketing organizations

Over at her blog “MarketSense” Pamela Hudadoff wrote about Success in a Sales 2.0 World – a Marketing Viewpoint. Alignment of sales and marketing organizations is one of two aspects of Sales 2.0 that she believes are essential for marketing’s success in today’s web-based business climate:

“[…] Alignment of sales and marketing organizations.

The customer’s buying process crosses the boundaries that exist between marketing and sales organizations. Sure, there are problems of transferring information about the customer from one organization to another. But more important is the creation of a seamless buying experience that builds persuasive momentum from the first customer touch. That seamless buying experience can only be achieved when marketing and sales tackle the design and implementation of the buying experience together. […]”

Conversation Enablement – Presentations are about delivery. Conversations are about discovery.

Mark S. Bonchek took the time to answer some questions I had asked as comments on his blog post “Can We Talk?”.

Here are his answers as published in his blog post “Conversation Enablement” from February 3, 2009:

“Commenting on my earlier post “Can We Talk”, Paul agreed that “conversation enablement is the way to go” and asked some great questions.  They were so good that I’m going to use them as the structure for this post.  Hopefully they will spark further comments … and perhaps a conversation.”

Who is a thought leader in that space?

“I actually haven’t seen many thought leaders on real conversation enablement in sales situations.  There are a number of thought leaders on conversational marketing, but they don’t really address what happens one-on-one with a buyer, nor how to enable conversations that a buyer has internally with stakeholders.  Some of the sales training companies like The Complex Sale or Executive Conversation cover the conversational dimension of selling, but they tend to focus on sales skills, not what needs to happen to enable the conversation. […]”

Where can I find an approach for Conversation Enablement that works?

“Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a systematic approach yet for conversation enablement.  Or at least I haven’t found one.  I think one of our companies, Truman Company, knows as much about it as anyone, but it isn’t yet systematized.  Perhaps we should start a stub on Wikipedia?”

Are we talking wikinomics and opening up of enterprise social networks to our customers to get the voice of the customer in our organization?

“I think this could be considered in a broader definition of conversation enablement.  In some sense, even the scripts used in call centers could be considered conversation enablement — whatever helps employees hold productive conversations with customers and buyers.”

Or are we talking about our internal sales enablement application having more web2.0 components and providing the sales force with more food for thought for better conversations?

“This is where my interest has been:  in B2B settings, enabling better conversations among sales people about how to sell, enabling conversation among customers, and enabling better conversations by sales people with customers.”

Should the conversation with the customer happen online more often and face to face less often to leverage the collective conversation skills of more of my employees?

“It depends on the level of the customer in their organization.  As you move up into the managerial and executive ranks, you need to have a much greater focus on face-to-face.”

Or are we looking for more dynamic client presentations that can be generated customized by audience, industry vertical, type of meeting, country, etc…?

“This is necessary but not sufficient.  And it leads to my main point.  A conversation is not a presentation, no matter how customized it might be.  A presentation can help to provide context and be a catalyst for a conversation.  But it is not a conversation.  In a presentation, you know where you are going.  In a conversation, you don’t.  Presentations are about delivery. Conversations are about discovery.

We are having a conversation about conversation enablement because I don’t know the answers. If I did, I could just give a presentation.  But for now, we’ll need to discover the answer together in the context of a conversation.”