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What is Sales 2.0?
Sales 2.0 combines customer-focused processes with real-time Web 2.0 technologies to enhance the art and science of selling while creating customer value. Cloud Computing has brought huge computing power, massive storage capacity that’s delivered on demand to any browser 24/7. The important part: the job of collecting and distributing data is done in real time. The even more important part: we’ve entered a new era, called Real Time Business. The revolutionary side of Sales 2.0 technology is that it empowers your salespeople to conduct business in real time.
How many delays are built into your sales process?
Companies that have not taken advantage of real time Sales 2.0 solutions are hobbled by delays. Here are just a few examples of the obsolete sales processes that have been designed for the delay economy:
Cold calling – delays salespeople and prevents them from pursuing fresh opportunities in real time. Traditional telephone selling – salespeople are delayed by pressing dial buttons for hours spending little time with real live prospects. Traditional call preparation – salespeople are delayed by hunting for information in multiple data repositories, or delay other salespeople by soliciting their help finding information.
Real time technology kills processes that worked well in the delay economy. Here is a partial list.
The Cold Call is dead
Many sales organizations realize that a salesperson’s time should be spent creating value for their customers, not wasted by forcing salespeople to dial for dollars. Companies like InsideView, Hoovers, Salesgenie, Zoominfo, Jigsaw, Dow Jones and others offer salespeople the ability to find leads in real time, online. Some solution providers like InsideView are fully integrated with Social Media so that salespeople can leverage relevant, real time personal information about the prospect. Here is an interesting podcast by Sales 2.0 guru Nigel Edelshein: Don’t cold call – social call.
The traditional Sales Funnel is dead
Most companies create a step by step sales process for everyone to follow. While this process worked well in the delay economy, it no longer works in the real time economy. Mark Sellers, the author of the book The Funnel Principle says, “Create a buy-cycle funnel, a process that mirrors the steps buyers take in today’s business.” Another problem with the traditional sales funnel is that salespeople chronically misinterpret their chances of closing the sale. Example: Completed online demonstration: 75% probability. What if the prospect has used the time allocated for the demo to check emails? A better way to assess the buying potential is assess the sales potential based on real time feedback from the buyer. A quick survey emailed within minutes of the online demo can capture true buyer sentiments.
Sequential calling is dead
How many prospects do your inside salespeople reach during an eight-hour day? In the delay economy, salespeople create a call list for the day, and then dial one number at a time. Many times they call ten numbers in a row before they can reach one prospect. At the end of the day, they are worn out. They may have dialed 120 numbers and spoken to eight or ten prospects. A new Sales 2.0 technology called ConnectAndSell allows salespeople to upload their prospect file online. The service dials all numbers consecutively and the instant a prospect picks up the phone, the call is routed to the salesperson without delay – and all dialing stops instantly. Without time delay the prospects name appears on the screen, ready for a real time conversation. I wasn’t sure about the company’s claim of no time delay until I tried the service. I enjoyed speaking to 8 VP’s of Sales in one hour.
Delay in online lead follow up is dead
When customers visit your website and raise their hand. How quickly do you follow up on these leads? While most companies proudly say that they are following up the same day, they are oblivious to how many leads they fail to convert because by the time they reach the prospect, their minds are already a million miles away. Kellogg and MIT collaborated on a Lead Response Management Study that shows how the odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour. The study offers excellent insights as to the best times to call.
The sales pitch is dead
In the Real Time Economy customers want to hear about solutions that can create value within their unique business environment. We live in an age where co-creation rules. Customers don’t want to be talked at, they want to engage in an intelligent conversation with your company, and they will continue the conversation online on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. The traditional sales pitch has long lost its power. Smart companies offer their customers the opportunity to participate in micro-communities online. Instead of investing time pitching, they monitor the online conversations and instantly respond to emerging needs.
Duplicating information gathering is dead
In the delay economy salespeople called each other. “Hey, I need help with writing a proposal for the Energy Industry, do you have a template?” In the Real Time Economy salespeople go online and instantly find the information they need to satisfy customer requests. Sales Enablement technologies are designed to solve the common problem of having each salesperson go on a wild goose chase searching for information that other salespeople have already used previously with great success. Here is a list of companies that can help your sales organization capture and distribute the tribal knowledge of your sales team in real time: SAVO, Kadient, Streetsmarts, n-tara, iCentera, Avitage, SVA BizSphere and GroupSwim.
Typing call reports is dead
In the delay economy salespeople visited four or five clients per day; took notes on each call and at the end of the day they sat in their hotel room, eating pizza, watching TV, while transcribing their notes into Salesforce.com. In the real time economy, salespeople use http://www.ribbit.com. After each call they call Ribbit and their voice is converted to text which flows instantly into the appropriate record in Salesforce.com. Ribbit also converts voice mail messages into text so that salespeople can respond quickly without wasting time to listen to a long message. No time wasted transcribing by hand. Another real time call report service is available from Voice2Insight.
Management by hunches is dead
Protected by the forgiving environment of a delay economy, sales managers make decisions based on hunches. “Ok, let’s hire this rep; I have a good feeling about him/her.” Or, “The leads we get from marketing are useless. We need to generate our own leads.” Today, Sales 2.0 empowered sales leaders rely on real time analytics such as Business Objects, Birst, or Right90. Real time analytics give sales managers instant insight into their sales pipeline including lead conversion ratios, time to close and closing ratios by lead source. When it comes to hiring new sales talents, world class sales organizations use online assessment tools to sort out the best candidates from the existing pool of candidates. Companies like www.hrchally.com and www.caliperonline.com. Sales managers can save time by focusing their attention on pre-screened candidates and avoid costly hiring mistakes.
Calculating sales commissions by spreadsheets is dead
Managing sales commissions by XL spreadsheets leads to frequent disputes between salespeople and sales managers. Since the commission information is not available in real time, salespeople engage in shadow accounting, which wastes a lot of their time. Solutions like www.xactly.com take the guesswork out of calculating sales commissions. The moment a sale is made, the salesperson gets credited for the sale and the information is available online – in real time. What’s great about Xactly is when salespeople hit a performance goal; they can instantly browse for the corresponding incentive awards, select their prize and instantly get their award shipped. No delay between high performance and high rewards.
Sales and Marketing Silos are dead
In the time delay economy, sales and marketing were divided into silos. Marketing generated sales leads and tossed them over the dividing wall. Salespeople responded in unison: “These leads are worthless!” The results: real opportunities vanished. Genius.com blurs the dividing line between sales and marketing and allows seamless integration. Sales 2.0 solutions like Genius.com offer marketing automation, lead tracking, lead nurturing, lead scoring, email marketing, landing page tracking, real time website promotions and more. Other solutions are offered by Eloqua, Marketo and Manticore.
Live Sales Meetings will slowly vanish
Earlier this year, Mary Kay Cosmetics broadcast its first live satellite education event. In past years over 30,000 Mary Kay representatives flew to Dallas for a live event. This year, Splash Media LP, an Emmy Award winning video training and Communications Company located in Dallas broadcast the live training event to over 30,000 Mary Kay representatives who followed the live broadcast sitting in over 150 Cinemark, AMC and Regal movie theaters across the country. Leading companies with large sales forces like Cisco and Oracle (each employ over 10,000 salespeople) have decided to replace their live sales meetings with virtual training meetings this year. SAP followed suit. If these events prove effective, chances are that virtual meetings will become the wave of the future.
The above list is by no means complete. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Three years ago, there were only about 60 Sales 2.0 solutions, today there are over 1,200. I would like to get your feedback so we can help other companies move from the delay economy to conducting business in real time.
Questions: How has your sales organization adapted Sales 2.0 technologies? Compare the old process with the new process. What are the lessons you learned? What were the results you enjoyed?
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