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.

We don’t just need more information – we need more information organized in a way that helps to get the job done faster

web 3.0 with BizSphere

The following is a collection of posts from around the blogosphere that make the case that we need to improve on how we organize the firehose of information every B2B enterprise aims at its sales reps (especially in times of web 2.0 / sales 2.0 / enterprise 2.0). BizSphere thinks that semantic search (web 3.0) and providing context in which you can filter down to what is relevant to you, are the approach to take to overcome information overload.

‘Winning in the New World of B2B Sales’ by Sham Sao, CMO InfoGroup’s OneSource:

“Before you can win over your prospects with your charming personality and deep knowledge of how to address their business needs, you need to first open the door by getting in contact with them and holding their attention long enough to get them hooked – or at least hooked enough to continue the conversation. Sure it’s true that effective sales professionals need to be persistent, knowledgeable and confident, self-motivated and good listeners. But these qualities alone are not enough.

They also need accurate information that helps them get to the right person and gives them something valuable to say right out of the gate.

In a recent B2B SalesPulse survey conducted by Infogroup’s OneSource, sales professionals responded that they are relying on business information significantly more today compared to a year ago. It confirms that business information is becoming more and more critical for B2B sales. Using accurate, timely business information is especially important for sales professionals today who are under pressure to raise their quotas while sales staffing and resources remain tightly constrained, or are even being cut.

While sales teams need to access every relevant piece of information they can get from every source they can tap, they don’t just need more information – they need more information organized in a way that helps them get their job done faster. When sales teams spend inordinate amounts of time browsing the web and searching for those tidbits to help them get into the right company or to make a compelling pitch, they spend less time selling. The key is making this information actionable so sales reps can spend more time selling and less time researching.

This includes information from Social Media sources. Respondents to OneSource’s B2B SalesPulse survey rated LinkedIn as the most useful social networking tool, followed by blogs, Facebook and Twitter in that order (and closely grouped together). LinkedIn also showed the most growth with 48 percent of respondents saying they are using it more now versus a year ago. Surprisingly enough, even though LinkedIn showed the most growth, nearly a third of respondents are still not using it. […]”

 

Sort of along these lines is the post ‘#6: Focus on Internal Sales Enablement and Cutting to the Chase’, from March 25, 2010:

“Keep the emphasis on quality of collateral and programs, not volume. By providing Sales with top-notch materials and in-depth brand knowledge, they’ll be better positioned to do their job successfully and bring in new business.

Some companies, as the Senior Director of Services Strategy at one large technology corporation points out, have implemented a whole playbook program – internal prospecting, packaging content together, streamlining messages – to deliver content succinctly.

Better organization of what is already out there makes it more usable and digestible in the field,” allowing Sales to get to the point quicker and, in turn, touch more prospects and generate more sales. […]”

I have not double checked the following numbers I found in the post ‘Sales people who research cost you big time!’:

“[…] So, what is the actual hourly value for a B2B salesperson? We’ve developed an excel calculator to help do the math. Let’s use a typical experienced B2B enterprise salesperson at a software company and apply these sample figures:

  • Annual compensation (at plan, or meeting quota): $200,000
  • Benefits Paid (20% of a 70K salary): $14,000
  • Annual Quota: $2 million
  • Include 2 weeks vacation and holidays

This salesperson’s true “hourly value” is $1,198!

For companies with higher quotas (I’ve seen annual quota’s as high as $14 million), this figure is even higher!

If you’d like to figure out your own salespeople’s hourly value, send me an email at silvia@industrygems.com and I will email you the calculator.

The next time you see your salespeople doing research, take interest. Using salespeople for anything other than selling, negatively affects your bottom-line. Find ways to remove those activities from their daily to-do list. It could be costing you over $1,000 an hour! Your sales people must focus on the thing they do best… selling!”

Buyer Enablement

On February 4, 2010, @3forward blogged the following (this URL does not exist anymore: 3forward.com/sales-leaders-blog/sales-2-0-may-put-you-out-of-business/)

“[…] recently hosted a brainstorming coffee meeting with a couple business owners considering dipping their toes into […] weekly blogging, modest social networking and establishing an entry level in-bound lead generation programs.  They could clearly envision the potential benefits once things were up and functioning, but still were not ready to pull the trigger on this overhaul to the way they have always sold.

Their reasons for delay were the same objections many others have when considering these new tools and new model for selling.  Those being: time to learn both what to do and how to do it; concern they won’t have enough value-added content to make it work and the lack of internal resources to launch and manage the new operation.

What I’m afraid may not have sunk in during our talk is that not participating in this new customer engagement and acquisition model is conceding to a guaranteed demise. That some industries and segments are not as far along as others is the only thing saving some of these companies who fail to recognize or admit to what’s happening in the marketing and sales world.

Bottom line: the time is fast coming when you won’t be able to hire enough reps, make enough cold calls or push enough brochure-ware to keep your revenues above the breaking point.   As more and more buyers (business, consumer, small, large, etc.) move to ‘Buying Process 2.0’ every industry will eventually reach the stage where those suppliers not active, participating and engaged in the new marketplace will become irrelevant.

For more on what’s changing and the impact it’s having, here are a couple excellent blog posts by some other leaders in this movement that we follow.

Could Sales 2.0 Turn Your Company Into a Victim of Change?

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing No Longer Apply

 

Reflections on the Sales 2.0 conference 2010

Matthias Roebel from User Experience Design & Development company MING Labs posted the following reflections on the Sales 2.0 conference 2010:

“My head is still spinning after two days at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. It was great to see all the new ideas the various players in the Sales 2.0 market are constantly creating. The spirit of innovation is there, and it will help customers to address the Sales Effectiveness and Productivity challenges ahead of them.

Sales 2.0 conference

Gerhard Gschwandtner put it well in his opening remarks: The Internet is changing the world. It has already changed end customers’ purchasing behaviors significantly, but changes in the B2B world are and will be equally dramatic.

Also, the changes span the entire range from Lead Generation, where social media tools like LinkedIn or Facebook are playing bigger roles from day to day, to Sales Enablement, where sellers need to be enabled to have better informed and more relevant conversations with their clients despite the challenges of information overload. However, there’s more: Think about how Sales Compensation or Pipeline Management need to change in a more dynamic, flatter world. Or how (social) Marketing Automation methods could improve Lead Nurturing…

As exciting as all of these things are, as overwhelming they may appear to customers in the first place. However, waiting and observing is not an option. Companies have started to try out and adopt one or the other Sales 2.0 technology/methodology and they are seeing the benefits – as we could hear in the various panel discussions during the conference. Yes, the holistic picture of how the different pieces of the Sales 2.0 ecosystem are playing together still needs to be drawn – but you’ve got to start somewhere, if you don’t want to be left behind.

The next challenge, to quote Gerhard again, is moving from reactive to proactive in using the tools.”

Miles Austin (@milesaustin) from fillthefunnel.com posted the following observations and learning points from the first day:

“[…]

  1. No one can claim that WebTools are just gimmicks any more. Companies large and small are deploying tools in record numbers and they are getting results.
  2. When Gartner Research VP Michael Dunne is talking about tangible, measurable increases in sales revenue across the board you know this is no longer a fringe topic.  Then when the feedback on Twitter says that his was the best presentation of the day, you know you better start paying attention.
  3. To  hear customers and WebTool vendors alike stating as a matter of fact that they are using and recommending some of the very tools (Jigsaw) that were considered “evil” by some pundits.
  4. It is clear that with the mainstream acceptance of Sales 2.0 concepts, tool mania might become a problem.  The selection of the appropriate WebTool for the specific need will be more important than ever. Expertise and understanding is critical.
  5. Collaboration will be a significant focus.
  6. Mobile will be the primary access to the Tools.
  7. Social Media/Networking should be integrated into your sales process.
  8. An effective lead generation strategy is to educate. Customer will return if you have informed with integrity and transparency.
  9. Sales teams have higher quotas & fewer resources -have to increase sales efficiency to hit goals (thanks @OneSourceInfo)
  10. Functional silos and company hierarchies are breaking down. We need to be prepared.
  11. Gerhard Gschwandtner opened the conference with the following:  ”Business is a dance around value”.  Is your company at the dance?

[…]”

David Thompson‘s ‘Insights from the Sales 2.0 Conference’:

“[…] marketing really is all about Sales. The more of us who jump on this message, the better it is for customers. And that really was the vision of Sales 2.0 from the beginning. In fact, the Fall show will probably be called “Sales and Marketing 2.0″ As I said in my remarks at the first conference, “Sales 2.0″ is really “Buying 2.0.” On Amazon, there’s no difference between the marketing process and the sales process. It’s one seamless buying experience. And that’s what Sales 2.0 needs to aspire too. It’s truly gratifying to see our baby all grown up and embraced by so many new advocates. […]”

 

Jeb Brooks posted ‘Is Sales 2.0 More Than Technology?’, on 11 Mar 2010:

“I’m just back from the Sales 2.0 Conference. I went with the hope that it would give me a clear idea of what “Sales 2.0” is. Unfortunately, it’s still too new. Conference organizer and Selling Power Magazine founder, Gerhard Gschwander, put it well when he said that, “Sales 2.0 is not concrete; it’s agile. We need to build as we go.”

No one seems to have developed a clear, all-encompassing definition yet. Probably the best one belongs to Anneke Seley who wrote the book, Sales 2.0 says that it’s “a more efficient and effective way of selling for both salespeople and buyers that’s enabled by technology.”

I hope that, in time, we’ll understand “Sales 2.0” as more than just technology. I’d like to think of it as a version of sales where customers and salespeople are more closely aligned with each other due, in part, to technology. It will be a version of sales where trust will develop in a different way as a result of technology. In many ways this has already happened. For example, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles allow customers and salespeople to get to know each other before their first meeting. That’s technology supporting human connections.

As of today, most of what’s been hung on the “Sales 2.0” banner is enterprise software designed to gather data from salespeople and (occasionally) provide data to them.

Surely “Sales 2.0” is a more fundamental shift than just more data collection? Sales 2.0 has got to be about more than technology. Technology should support the sales effort, not hinder it. It should make it easier for salespeople and customers to connect. And too much sales-oriented technology stands between customers and salespeople rather than unites them. I have every confidence that sales and marketing automation are critical, but only if they serve to increase and maximize the time salespeople spend with their customers.

In fact, according to a report by Gartner Research (presented at the conference), actual customer contact time for inside salespeople tops out at about 40%, while field reps are lucky to spend between 18 and 20% of their time with prospects. The number is even lower – 10% – for complex sales (like airplanes and nuclear coolers). In a “Sales 2.0” world, those numbers should rise.

My point is that technology fails when it’s too cumbersome, creates extra work, or distracts from customer interaction in any way. Reporting is important, but salespeople must be allowed to build their customer relationships. Like excessive paperwork in “Sales 1.0,” burdensome software just gives excuses to poor performers and frustrates top performers.

However, when technology compliments customer interaction better, it becomes indispensable.

I’m enthusiastic about the future of sales because the interaction between customers and salespeople will become richer. My only fear is that too much software will distract from, rather than support, the sales effort.

Thoughts?”

Please leave your comments on the original post.

Bryan Wilson (@bryanmwilson) then commented:

“I completely agree with this! Sales 2.0 isn’t about getting cooler software that takes the relationship out of selling. It is about enabling more connections and relationships through the technology. The fundamentals of sales remain the same, there are just new ways of developing, nurturing and maintaining relationships in the digital age. One example I have is that of CRM or sales tracking software. There are many programs out there that have a TON of fields to fill out, awesome reports and all sorts of other “management” type features. However, top sales people HATE taking 2 hours of their day to fill out little boxes just so management has a cool report to look at. Our firm in particular uses ACT! for managing contacts. In my opinion, asking a “Sales 2.0″ person to use a program like ACT! is like asking a house builder to use a hammer to build an entire house. Sure, you can do it, and it will work. But isn’t using a nail gun and other power tools MUCH more effective? Why not use programs like HighRise from 37Signals, or some of the newer, less bloated “Web 2.0″ programs like BantamLive? These programs incorporate only the features needed and nothing else. They also incorporate some of this Sales 2.0 stuff like lead generation & development through Twitter & other social networking services.

Sales isn’t changing. Relationships and solution selling will always be here. The WAY in which relationships are being built is what is changing.

Social media changes the deal closing process

‘How the social media changes the deal closing process’ by Pat Kitano (@pkitano) from mediatransparent.com, on March 2, 2010.

“The definition of online presence for a business is changing. Until recently, the online mission has been to drive traffic to the website. Search engines, along with specialty destination sites like Craigslist and eBay have been the hubs in the game of connecting two parties to a transaction. Businesses, local and corporate, developed blogs to attract this Google induced traffic. Engagement is logical, linear and direct – search, find, read, buy. An effective web/blog site, often a fast hard pitch, closes the deal.

The social media of course changes the way people search for business opportunity. The social media are essentially a set of  ”cloud” applications where engagement – the meeting of two parties to a transaction – starts with checking each other out through their online profile(s). The protocol of social media engagement is beginning to rule out the fast hard pitch, much to the chagrin of the hard sellers. Even the normal practice of pushing traffic to your web/blog site starts becoming obnoxious to those who find you on the social media but are not yet “in the market”.

Businesses now need to develop two-step online strategy to facilitate the eventual deal close. Opportunities will be increasingly sourced from the “cloud” of social media, particularly as Google and the search engines place more focus on real time search of Twitter (Yahoo/Twitter partnership) and Facebook feeds (Google indexing FB business pages). Once opportunities are identified, that’s when business parties focus on the blogs and websites, even LinkedIn, to study the marketing pitch and confirm the decision to do business.

All that promotional collateral that was once the marketing showcase providing the first interaction with a customer is now being scrutinized towards the end of the transaction decision process. Why? Social media engagement with the customer is becoming the criteria for the deal close. Once that test is passed, a cursory check of the website or blog is just due diligence.

I think this is why businesses are slowly weaning away from daily blog article writing. It’s more important for a business blog or website to be substantive and deliver a confident message that seals the deal. Quality becomes more impressive than quantity.

Besides being busy, this is one reason why I allocate more time developing opportunities on the cloud of social media over blog writing. And when I write a blog article now, I’m making sure it says something.”

 

How Registration Forms are Killing B2B Software Marketing

On January 13, 2010 Kim Cornwall Malseed wrote ‘How Registration Forms are Killing B2B Software Marketing’:

“I’ve been reminded once again of what a mistake it is for B2B software companies to force prospective customers to fill out a registration lead capture form in order to view their marketing content.

Over the past week I’ve been researching project management software solutions to better collaborate with clients on marketing and PR projects, and as I was perusing various vendor websites, again and again I was asked to submit my information and “pay” just to read case studies, white papers, watch videos or listen to podcasts so I can potentially buy their product.

Instead of generating leads, these registration forms turn away the very prospects that you need to educate and engage with. Like most busy professionals researching software, I want to have a very good sense that a solution will work for my specific needs before I want to risk being interrupted by phone calls, emails, and direct mailings from people I don’t care to hear from.

That means removing the barriers to your marketing content in order for prospects to learn more about your software and see you as a trustworthy source, which compels them to contact you and willingly engage with your company. This is far more likely to result in a sale than not generating leads at all, or generating low quality leads because they’re still in the research phase of the sales cycle and probably don’t want to talk with you yet.

Survey Says: 75% IT Pros Won’t Register for White Papers

In an interview on the Savvy B2B Marketing blog with Jay Hallberg, VP of Marketing of networking monitoring software provider Spiceworks, he discussed results of a survey of users of their IT white paper community. (And yes, I do find it ironic that they are making people register for survey results report)

The survey found:

  • More than 75% of IT professionals DON’T sign up for white papers requiring registration
  • IT pros want to reach out to the vendor on their terms via their preferred channel, e.g. phone, email, or chat. Prospects don’t want the vendor to contact them. Period. If they want more information or to talk to a rep after they download a paper, they will contact that vendor.
  • Some IT vendors offer “free” white papers but require registration. If the vendor requires contact information, the white paper is far from free.
  • When vendors remove the registration wall, downloads go way up. One white paper that was offered without registration was downloaded 500 times in 3 days.

Lead Capture Forms Make Social Media Sharing Ineffective

One of the project management software vendors I checked out was recommended by someone on LinkedIn who provided a link to a white paper. Unfortunately, the link led to a registration form to download the white paper, which I didn’t do because I didn’t know enough about the vendor or solution yet. If the link had led directly to the white paper itself (or page from which I could download without ‘paying’) then I could quickly and easily have found out if I wanted to contact the vendor and engage with them. If I found the white paper helpful, I would have shared it with others via Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media venues as I know other marketing pros that need similar solutions.

By putting up barriers to your content, you’re missing out on effectively using social media to generate leads.

ReachForce Increases eBook Clickthroughs by 1600%

In a recent test by the marketing team of lead generation software provider ReachForce, they removed the registration form from an eBook they had created, and sent an email to a targeted list promoting the eBook, making sure to highlight that there was no registration required. Clickthroughs to the eBook increased by 1600%, and because ReachForce’s sales team could track who was clicking through, they were still collecting highly valuable information about prospects.

Registration Has Its Time and Place

Lead capture forms are effective and needed for some aspects of marketing, such as requiring prospects to sign up to receive a newsletter or attend an event, as you need their email address to send the content or event information. It is a good idea to offer a ‘bonus’ content piece such as an article, case study, video, etc. that the subscriber receives immediately in order to boost subscription rates, so in this case a registration form is appropriate.

One way to effectively use registration forms is embedding them into your content or placing a lead capture form on the same web page as your content, so prospects can contact your company if they wish, but can still view and share your content without contacting you.

Increase Lead Generation by Creating Quality Content

If you’re continuously creating high-quality content that educates and engages (and entertains in appropriate cases) your prospective customers, instead of an uninvited pest, you’ll be seen as a welcome guest who they look forward to hearing from.”

Harsh words about Sales 2.0

The following quotes have not been written by myself. I found these different statements regarding Sales 2.0 in discussions on LinkedIn. I’m leaving out the names of the people who wrote them as I didn’t ask for their permission to put them on a blog.

The first one actually was in response to me saying that the emergence of what is called “Sales 2.0” (which puts the buyer in the driver’s seat) does not really help to fix the broken relationship between Marketing and Sales but maybe having both departments report to the same person would:

“I did not know what Sales 2.0 was so I read the below on some website:

Sales 2.0 brings together customer-focused methodologies and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science. Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance.

OK, That does not address the relationship between sales and marketing.

As far as Sales 2.0 goes, I think I’ll stick to making friends, helping others, and providing as much value as possible. It’s simple and it WORKS.”

The following two quotes were responding to someone’s question what Sales 2.0 really is:

“Sales 2.0 is many things. It is a book written by people with big company experience who do not really understand the needs of medium size companies. It is the justification for marketers who like to say “Cold Calling is Dead” (because they don’t actually understand how it works or have never been provided with the right service). Finally, it is an umbrella under which otherwise rational marketing executives exist while they pacify senior management with apparently low-cost solutions that provide output that is far inferior to more appropriate, more expensive solutions.

Some years ago, and issue of ZD Market Intelligence contained the following quote: “Many tech marketing departments are mere arrays of disparate tasks and uncoordinated contractors. These firms ignore the basics, like positioning statements. Many of these groups deceive themselves because either they have won some award for a tiny part of the marketing mix, or, not thanks to their efforts, the company’s overall success in the market to which they sell is increasing.” Harsh words. True words.

The more things change the more things stay the same.”

Next person, same discussion:

“Sales 2.0 reflects the seachange of how today’s customer wants to be approached and sold to. Cold calling is totally dead. It is an utter waste of time. Research, social media cred, word of mouth, learning seminars, etc are way better use of mktg and sales dollar. Example… 4 months ago, I was cold calling businesses trying to get info, contact info, and then get past the screening. Hours and hours, days and days. I switched to specific strategies on LinkedIn and Facebook, and I made contact immediately — within hours, with total strangers. Sales 2.0 is becoming the de facto way to do business.”

Sales Enablement bloggers on Knowledge and Context

On December 1, 2009 Matthias Roebel from MING Labs wrote the following post entitled “It is time to think about creating an enterprise context”:

“Hang on a second! Could the following be happening? By implementing an enterprise social network a company is solving all its Sales Enablement Challenges? Well, I doubt it.

No question, it is extremely important for every company to leverage the social networking and interaction technologies available today. They actually might encourage employees to share knowledge and to connect with each other more easily. However, if a social networking strategy is implemented without addressing some fundamental content management and communications problems within the enterprise, it won’t be successful in the long run.

“Facebook doesn’t have your friends. It has facts about your friends. Google is at its best when it gives you links to links, not the information itself,” says Seth Godin in his recent blog post “Getting Meta“. Technology can just be an enabler, not the solution to existing fundamental problems – social software makes no exception here.

Why is that? Just imagine an international school, where students from all over the world are gathering. All of them are speaking different mother tongues – a lingua franca like English is missing however. Now offer to this crowd of students the possibility to network. What you’ll see happening is them networking within their language silos. Just like on Facebook or LinkedIn: Nobody is having friends he can’t communicate with – like in the real world.

Finding a common language

So, in order to make collaboration and knowledge exchange strategies sustainable and successful a common language within the enterprise needs to be established – a lingua franca, an enterprise context. If this is not happening, Sales and Marketing, Communications and Delivery will keep on misunderstanding each other causing a lot of inefficiencies for the company. And they will keep on producing more and more information without actually creating a knowledge base for the company – the social content additionally created by the masses, even would come on top of this information pile.

You may think: This sounds pretty philosophical and far from reality? Let me proof to you the opposite with two examples. The first example is related to the incredible number of different namings for the same type of document. Take a brochure: It may be called brochure or flyer or customer deliverable or, or, or… I’ve seen companies with 500+ different labels for in fact just over 70 types for content items.

The second example is related to the offerings of a company. Times are changing quickly and so are the names of products and solutions. It’s quite normal in an enterprise, that some people are still speaking about a product using its older name while others are using the new name or an abbreviation – such differences are another source for misunderstandings.

“Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity,” Seth Godin also states in “Getting Meta”. And exactly this opportunity enterprises need to explore, if they really want to become serious about a sustainable knowledge strategy for their Sales and Delivery, their Marketing and Communications departments. To overcome their existing challenges in the area of Sales Enablement they need to start creating information about information, in other words: meta data. Organizing this meta data in a controlled framework means setting up a commonly agreed on enterprise context, which describes the macro and the micro structures of the companies in a simple, but effective manner.

Once set up, the company’s knowledge base can grow steadily and even socially without causing additional information overload. Marketing can produce content right on target, and Sales reliably receives the information they need to lead valuable conversations with their customers.”

 

On November 22, 2009 Scott Santucci from blogs.forrester.com/tech_sales_enablement/ wrote the following in his post “It’s Been A While, Why — And What’s Going On With Sales Enablement These Days?”:

“[…] Too often people are focused on very tactical, short-term things to boost sales or improve skills, but a year later have very little to show for that effort. Why?

Enterprise selling is complex, and that complexity creates a paradox […] where making things simple for customers and sales requires you to confront the fact that you have a variety of people in your company who each carry different perspectives of who your customers are; and what needs to be done to solve them.

Declaring you need better sales people (or smarter sales people), or focusing on more activity (more leads, more calls); misses the point entirely.

Your customers have access to more information now […] than they have ever had before in the history of mankind. Preparing your sales people with more product knowledge is not suitable today as you are arming your field with the vary information customers can get themselves.

Buyer/seller relationships are stratifying right before our eyes into a new caste systems of strategic, value-added vendors on the one end; and undifferentiated, commodity-type suppliers on the other. Addressing this issue requires a fundamentally different way to go-to-market than we have had in the past and it means we’ve got to confront the mismatch in our business unit construct and product-centric view points with the new selling model of actually co-creating value with customers and focusing on helping those customers drive business outcomes.

[…] you would be very surprised at the number of your competitors who are building strategic programs right now to address these exact issues. The trick is to first understand this is a holistic problem, and then break it down into a set of manageable projects where you can “fix the plane while it’s flying”.”

 

In response to Scott’s blog post Ken Knickerbocker wrote the following on December 1, 2009:

“Scott stated “you have a variety of people in your company who each carry different perspectives of who your customers are; and what needs to be done to [help] them.”

So true. In your presentation Scott you refer to this as blind men describing an elephant challenge. All the blind men see the elephant differently depending on which part of the animal they happen to be touching.

[…] I’ve begun calling it the Mexico Dilemma. How one defines Mexico is largely dependent on where in Mexico they’ve visited. […]

So it is within any sales system. To someone tasked with ramping new sales people, knowledge management is an essential element in helping new recruits find the material and best practices needed to make a c-level call or position the company’s wide portfolio of products and services in the first meeting with that executive. But the Chief Sales Officer, with a singular focus on closing deals and meeting quarterly objectives, objectives the CFO and Wall Street are counting on, may not place the same emphasis on knowledge management. Instead knowledge management becomes just another SG&A line item to that CSO, one that is easily paired back in tough economic times.”