Sales trainers embrace the 2.0 era!

Yesterday (May 9, 2009), I spoke to someone who said he doesn’t care about this new thing called ‘Twitter’ and he doesn’t want to take the time to find out what it is. I’m going to let Karl Goldfield speak. I found his rant from July 19, 2008 via Seamus Whittington Crawford’s post from Sunday, May 10, 2009:

Karl goes on a rant about technology and sales training. Here is my favorite part of his (unedited) challenge to sales trainers:

If you are not tweeting your blog posts and sending newsletters to keep your mind trust strong in the frontal lobe of your prospects and customers; if you are not joining groups and connecting on Linked In or E-cademy, Facebook or Plaxo; if you are not using Jigsaw or Salesconx to find your the top level prospects; if you do not set up google alerts and research news aggregators for trigger events; if you do not use Genius or Leadlander, then Landslide or another Process driven tool to manage your lead cultivation, what on earth are you doing?

[…] if you are not using VOIP and SAAS, or this whole paragraph is in a new language, get off the soap box and go back to the classroom. It is time to learn a new game, then teach others. Go, now, get moving!

I love it! Karl is absolutely right. Sales trainers who procrastinate, waiting for their clients to drag them into the Sales 2.0 era are going to lose any competitive edge they might currently have. Sales trainers need to understand, embrace, and integrate sales-enablement and learning technologies into their IP (intellectual property) and the delivery of their IP.

The new relationship between technology and sales effectiveness:

I speak with sales trainers every day. Too many tell me that they don’t get involved with technology for any number of reasons. Most of them aren’t explanations, they’re excuses.
Sales trainers: Do you want to be considered a leader by your clients and the sales training industry? Join the companies that are already there. Prove, with auditable performance metrics, that your approach, process, tools, content, etc., either integrating with, or leveraging, relevant Sales 2.0/Web 2.0 technology, enables your clients to achieve their sales performance goals and objectives, whether that be more sales, higher contract values, shorter selling cycles, or all three. […]”

important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll

On February 25, 2009 Sameer (@sameerpatel) from pretzellogic.org wrote a great blog post with some important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll:

  • “Media watching is not a sport for sales reps. Feed them the good stuff & they’ll consume it.
  • Data/Intelligence extraction over collaboration. “Give to Get” doesn’t fly with most sales reps.
  • Good reps know exactly which 8.75 data types help them bust quotas. No more, no less.
  • In spite of the above, don’t expect them to dig for it. They’d rather use the time to cold call a lead.
  • Sales often ignore a lot of what marketing might offer or recommend.
  • They don’t personalize portals & intranets.
  • They rather search than browse; they want answers, not search results. (ok, who doesn’t!)
  • CRM apps often morph into reporting mechanisms that sales reps are mandated to use.
  • Pre-sales engineers (in the case of High Tech) often do most of labor intensive tasks in the sales cycle (assembling proposal components, finding SMEs and references, etc).

[…]

Here’s the beginnings of a framework to identify what works for a sales organization at large organizations:

An information management architecture that can surface the good stuff as well as support a 90% consumption / 10% contribution model.

Traditional collaborative systems and social networks are built to enable…well, collaboration and being social. As a sales rep what I need is aggregation around news and information (person, customer, prospect, industry news) relevant to my customers that show up in SalesForce or HighRise. User and topical tags help me drill deeper and find authorities or stories on topics that can help me engage a new lead, up sell a customer, build a more compelling proposed solution, or deflect a customer satisfaction train wreck that’s about to hit. The kicker is that I shouldn’t need to browse too much or worse, contribute to be able to extract.

Augmenting or if necessary, even by-passing some of the traditional marketing qualification processes by providing a direct contextual lens into prospect and customer activity

New qualified opportunities are just as likely to show up on these social platforms as they are via traditional marketing programs such as events, email and webinars. Based on accounts I manage or territorial prospects, as stated by my CRM system, dynamically assemble a direct, real-time view into customer and lead activity. Examples are customer activity on support and developer forums, prospects commenting about specific products on blogs, or lead activity on LinkedIn, Techmeme and Satisfaction that might help me spark a conversation.
Federated, persistent search that folds social discovery into SFA/CRM processes and technologies, thereby enrichening the data available at each step of the sales cycle
For instance, say I’m in the proposal creation phase of the sales cycle: Let me look up preset searches and tags on specific content sources (e.g. specific wiki spaces where SMEs hang out, highly rated solution white papers, links to relevant online demos that everyone’s raving about) so I’m putting my best foot forward.

A push architecture so the critical intelligence can find the sales rep (not the other way around)

I’m not going to keep revisiting content sources (blogs, wikis, forums) to see if there’s anything new that I might care about. Make it easy for me to filter and subscribe to specific events on blogs, support and community forums, wikis etc., (e.g. a new white paper emerges or my customer comments on a blog) via Email, RSS, SMS, IM. Let the information find me.

The ability to broadcast a question and receive an answer

Sales reps want answers. Search functionality provides results; people, however, provide answers. The ability to ask questions to groups of relevant people and quickly crowd source the best solution or identify experts that can credibly address a solution is imperative. This needs to be both open ended as well as around an existing topic (a bookmark, link, comment, video, etc.)
There’s certainly other technologies or components to consider when trying to conceptualize how Sales can benefit from an Enterprise 2.0 enabled world. For instance, ESME is designed to let globally disparate users easily huddle around tasks at hand and the recently announced lifestreaming capabilites from Yammer is trying to bring Friendfeed-like capabilites to the enterprise. […]”

 

Twitter the lead generation tool

Adam Green (@140dev) commented the following on this Techcrunch post on April 24th, 2009:

“There may be millions of people on Twitter, but if you know how to do the right Google search, you can pick out exactly the people you want to reach. It is an amazing lead generation tool. All you have to do is look for the right patterns in user bios. for example to find all the lawyers, you can search for:

(intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

I’ve written up this complete procedure for creating Google Alerts based on these searches on my blog:

The great thing about doing this with Google Alerts is that you will be notified as soon as a new bio is created or edited with your keywords. This lets you follow people when they have a new account, which is when they are most likely to follow back.

So in time Twitter bios will be a directory for millions of professionals. It is so light weight that it may replace Facebook for people’s “home page” online. Best of all, it doesn’t insist on your current sexual preference and marital status. I’m sure a lot of professionals are not that interested in publicly announcing their preferences in hooking up.

The advertising implications of knowing the bios of millions of people and being able to deliver selective “follow lists” will be huge. Right now Twitter auto-follows celebrities when you create an account. I’d rather auto-follow potential customers.”

Adam Green’s (@140dev) blog post:

“Twitter search tools are everywhere now, and most of them are much faster than Google Alerts, but they focus on the text of a tweet. If you are looking for marketing contacts to follow, chasing every use of a keyword in tweets is casting a very wide net, and can waste a lot of time. For example, just because someone uses the word lawyer in a tweet doesn’t mean that they work in the legal profession. If you want to develop a quality list of contacts through Twitter, you are better off trying to find people who use your keywords in their username or bio.

That’s where Google Alerts comes in. If you build the right query, you’ll be notified every time a new Twitter account is created by someone who wants to tell the world they are closely associated with your keywords. The nice part of this approach is that you will discover new users as they create their accounts, which is when they are most likely to follow you back. We’ll work this procedure out step by step using legal contacts as an example. The information we are looking for is on a user’s Twitter profile page. If you look at the profile page for the user @legaltwitt you’ll see that the user name is in the title.

Example Twitter Bio

We can create a Google Alert for exactly the pattern of a profile page. This will keep us from getting alerts where the keyword just happens to be in a tweet:

intitle:”legal * on twitter” site:twitter.com

This query can be expanded to match other keywords in usernames, such as lawyer:

(intitle:”legal * on twitter” OR intitle:”lawyer * on twitter”) site:twitter.com

The next area of the page we want to match is the bio. There are two possibilities. The keywords can come right after the word bio. This is matched by:

(intext:”bio legal” OR intext:”bio lawyer”) site:twitter.com

The other case is when there are words between bio and the target keyword, which can be found with this pattern:

(intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

We can put all of these matches together in a single search:

(intitle:”legal * on twitter” OR intitle:”lawyer * on twitter” OR intext:”bio legal” OR intext:”bio lawyer” OR intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

[…]”

I just tried
(intext:”bio * sales enablement” OR intext:”bio * sales 2.0″) site:twitter.com works great!

Finding Sales Enablement information – Why content management systems are silos

finding sales enablement information

“Stop the information overload, before it stops you. Innovative, web 3.0 knowledge management methods and technologies from BizSphere help you to regain control over your content and let’s you find the information you need, when you needed.

Finding what you’re looking for can be a problem at times. Have you ever gone to the DVD store to find a particular movie by your favorite director, but spent way too much time looking for it? The DVDs in the store are all very nicely arranged, alphabetically, by genre. But what you need is a way of searching across the store for only the movies by your director — arranged just for you in one nice orderly rack. Searching across different categories can be tedious. Just like when you’re looking for a certain document in your enterprise environment. Why is that? Because in folder-based content management systems, authors can upload the same physical file into one physical folder at a time. Folders become silos, content management systems become silo farms. Hard to search, and organized in arbitrary ways. According to IDC’s Sales Advisory Practice, sales reps typically spend more than five hours a week looking for information. If they could save just half that, they’d have more time to talk to customers. Think how much more revenue they could generate. Thats why we created BizSphere. Our innovative platform lets you look at content the way you want to. Instead of being organized in a one-dimensional folder structure, content is tagged multi-dimensionally. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. Some people in the enterprise, the Information Architects, are defining a variety of tagging dimensions, so called taxonomies. All uploaded content lives within these taxonomies. The platform does not replace existing content management systems. Instead, its a layer on top of them to make your content accessible easily. Now you can browse and filter all content based on your current needs. Saving your time, your money, and your nerves.”

Nortel had been using this since 2006. It helps especially when you have a B2B sales force in many different countries. Marketing employees are empowered (after a quick training anyone can post content) to enable sales people with the right messaging. No more country specific intranet sites where you need to drill down from scratch with many mouse clicks whenever the kind of information or the product you are looking for changes. Here the tagging and the search engine, that always helps me within the first ten search results, save a lot of mouse clicks.

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. […]”