Move over Web 2.0; there’s a new buzzword in town. It’s Sales 2.0.
Just as Web 2.0 was the next generation of the internet, Sales 2.0 is the next generation of sales performance.
From my perspective, Sales 2.0 is the utilization of the newest web marketing tools – blogs, viral marketing, social media sites, online surveys, email marketing campaigns, etc. – to prospect for customers in a non-intrusive manner by creating value and interest in your product or service offering.
Sales 2.0 doesn’t replace sales knowledge, skills or the fundamental characteristics a sales person must have to be successful. But it does change the game. You can be the best sales person on earth, but if you’re not up to speed on how to reach the marketplace in 2009, you’re doomed.
I wanted to hear what my colleagues had to say on the matter. So I asked my LinkedIn contacts what Sales 2.0 meant to them as sales professionals.
One respondent argued that Sales 2.0 is just another fancy word designed to sell more training and other materials, adding that “any good sales training firm is revamping their courseware now to create the consultative pros needed in the field. Yes, social networking, group participation, Twitter, LI, Facebook, WordPress and all of these items can have a place in sales, but this is not Sales 2.0. This is Web 2.0 enabling sales.”
With the internet lacking the kind of personalization that face time can bring, another respondent brought up this point: “I think the Web is more about marketing and perhaps interest generation than it is about selling, per se. The basics of sales are performed on terra firma, by real people, face to face.”
This is a strong point to consider. The internet provides a mass outreach that is far less personal. In sales, the focus should be on relationships. The internet is more about increasing the number of generic contacts in hopes that “something will stick.”
But Sales 2.0, when used properly, is capable of increasing sales – as long as you don’t view it as an easier way to sell to people. It’s more appropriately viewed as a tool to generate interest in your product. Once the interest is captured, it is your job to create a relationship with the prospect and, ultimately, sell them the product that best meets their needs.
That was echoed by another respondent who described Sales 2.0 as “the tight integration of the silos of sales and online marketing into a single process/workflow. It is the creation of a formal yet dynamic sales process tied to mutual benefit (for client and vendor) where the salesperson’s time is matched equally with the prospects requirement for information…Sales 2.0 is moving away from the adversarial view of the sales engagement, empowering salespeople to only engage in business relationships that are mutually beneficial (and have the ability to walk away when this doesn’t exist).”
Regardless of your sales platform, the underlying issue remains the same: the industry is changing, selling is changing and the approach to sales is changing. The way in which we deal with these changes is up to us—Sales 2.0 or not.
That’s my take. What does Sales 2.0 mean to you?