Last week I read a blog post that boldly stated, “I don’t think that Sales 2.0 is about sales at all.”
Although the author has a lot of sales experience, he hasn’t formed a clear idea about what Sales 2.0 is and what it is not. Sales 2.0 isn’t a buzzword; it’s a professional discipline. It’s not a passing fad, but a massive shift in the sales culture. It’s not about sales or marketing tools, but about a business transformation that delivers better results.
As the old ways of selling are fading away, we need to educate salespeople and sales managers of the increased risk of becoming a victim of change. Sales 2.0 will play a vital role in the future of selling. I want to reassure those who have gone through the Dale Carnegie training and have followed Tom Hopkins, Dr. Denis Waitley, and Zig Ziglar that the core messages of that training are still valid and vital to winning. At the core of selling is the ability to create, expand, and enhance relationships, face-to-face and online.
The good news is that Sales 2.0 will not make B2B salespeople obsolete. It will make them a lot more productive and effective.
Sales 2.0 is the use of better sales practices enabled by technology to improve speed, collaboration, accountability, and customer engagement.
Let’s explore these attributes and examine the new possibilities for salespeople to excel with Sales 2.0 processes and technologies.
1. Sales 2.0 is about speed.
Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Harvey Mackay in NYC (soon to appear on SellingPower.com/video). Harvey told me that during every sales meeting, he takes off his watch and holds it up and says, “We one have one competitor, and this is it: time. Every day we are given 24 hours, and we have to choose how we use it. Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”
In the world of sports, the fastest runner wins. In the world of business, it’s no different. Getting more done in less time is a huge competitive advantage. Smart sales managers continually ask themselves, “How can we increase pipeline velocity? How can we speed up the sales process? How can we close more sales in fewer calls?”
Savvy sales operations managers look for technologies that are designed to increase the speed of inside sales. Here is one example: ConnectAndSell, an application that allows salespeople to select prospects from their Salesforce.com database and upload, let’s say, a list of 300 prospects that they want to call. On a typical day, a good salesperson may dial 100-140 numbers and have conversations with eight people. While the old process is based on consecutive dialing, ConnectAndSell technology is based on simultaneous dialing. Instead of dialing 30 numbers sequentially, the service dials these numbers simultaneously. The instant the prospect answers the phone, you will see his or her name on your Salesforce.com screen, and you begin the conversation. (There is no call delay to startle the prospect). The moment you talk, the dialing stops. You complete the call and hang up and complete the call record, and the simultaneous dialing starts again. The result: You can speak with eight prospects in an hour. (I have done it, and it works). Your productivity goes up 500 percent and your pipeline accelerates.
There are dozens of Sales 2.0 technologies that are designed to speed up the sales process. For example, Big Machines allows you to configure a complex quote and proposal within minutes, giving you back several hours. Inside View ' allows you to get greater company insight, as well as social information about your prospect. Again, salespeople spend less time searching and more time selling. Solutions like Marketo allow sales and marketing managers work in synch around lead management saving precious management time. Right90 accelerates forecasting and Xactly.com gives managers time and money back by eliminating compensation disputes and costly sales compensation mistakes. Kadient helps companies drive a consistent and proven process across the sales organization to accelerate sales.
2. Sales 2.0 is about collaboration.
There are three areas of collaboration. First, prospects collaborate and share information online through social media. Second, salespeople collaborate with one another(SAVO, Streetsmarts, iCentera, Kadient, Chatter) Third, salespeople collaborate with customers online and offline (Webex, GotToMeetings, On24 UnisFair).
The Internet allows all stakeholders in sales to collaborate more effectively, bridge distances, and cut travel costs.
Sales 2.0 innovations allow companies to harvest the collective intelligence of their sales teams and help the average sales performer deploy the most effective strategies and tactics used by top performers. For example, eight months ago, Polycom launched a new sales process that drives repeatability across its team of 700 salespeople. The solution: Kadient’s Sales Playbook.
I predict a tremendous surge in sales-collaboration technologies and processes in the next three years. Cisco has launched a game-changing collaboration solution called Cisco TelePresence, which allows people to meet around a virtual table and is many steps above video conferencing.
For anyone who wants to help promote collaboration within his or her company, read this great new book by former Harvard and INSEAD professor Morten Hansen, entitled Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.
UPDATE: To learn more about how Sales 2.0 processes and technologies can help accelerate your sales, join me at the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference on March 7-8 in San Francisco.