Sales 2.0.: Are you on this bandwagon or falling off the scene?

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?

Economic Stimulus for your Customers…

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All the talk has been about the Economic Stimulus Package - putting cash into the system.
Think of this idea in terms of your customers.  
1.      As a team, determine a number of ways you can put “cash” into your customers’ hands, i.e. (1) help them save money or (2) help them make more money.2.      Now that you have a list of ideas, how can you share these ideas with your customers? 3.      What is an action plan for each participant? 

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HOW DO YOUR LEAD GENERATION EFFORTS COMPARE?

 Our friends over at MaconRaine, LLC are benchmarking sales and marketing alignment. Do you think the recession will improve alignment by necessity? Macon Raine will produce a whitepaper that documents the results of the survey as well as follow-up interviews with some of the participants. Of course, everyone who participates gets a free copy of the whitepaper. Take the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=CK_2bY_2f1c0Eox3mMkCvt51CQ_3d_3d

The Secrets of Great Salespeople

Passion for the product, understanding early adopters, being trusted by the customer and more…

Find other qualities you should be looking for when recruiting a sales force at the INC.COM link: www.inc.com/keyword/mar09.

Naviga can look for these key qualities and more in prospective candidates for your sales team. www.navigaservices.com

Guiding Your Business to Top Talent!

Don’t let your words kill the deal

How we communicate can make or break a deal. It can win over a new client or turn off a prospect, leaving us with a deal undone. That is why we must always remember to be professional and captivating when communicating with clients and prospects, because life rarely offers us a do-over.

Sometimes, however, in our quest to be captivating, we wind up in “turn off” territory because our enthusiasm comes across as “salesy,” which can often translate into obnoxious or disingenuous. To keep that from happening, here are a few things to avoid:

  • Artificial niceties:  You may think that questions like “are you enjoying this weather” or “did you see that game” and sometimes even “how are you today” can help make a personal connection, but more often than not they come across as fake, especially when it’s a first-time meeting.
  • Buzz words:  You may really believe your software is an industry leading category killer disruptive solution featuring a robust graphical interface and open source interoperability leveraging leading-edge technology to deliver immediate ROI, but don’t say it. Even if it’s true, no one will believe it.
  • Acronyms and jargon: Almost as bad as buzz words is using verbiage that only someone who lives and breathes your business would understand. It makes anyone who isn’t as knowledgeable as you in the subject feel left out or, worse, stupid.
  • Adjective and adverb overkill:   A few descriptive words can bring a product to life; a few too many descriptive words will bury it – and make your prospect want to scream.
  • I or me:  The focus should be on your prospect and how you can help them, not on you. If you find yourself saying “I’d like to….” or “let me…” stop and rephrase to put the focus back where it belongs.

These are just a few pointers that I’ve come up with. Please share your thoughts on what we can avoid saying to ensure we don’t wind up killing the deal.

Cure your sales inefficiencies…

At http://www.salesmotivation.net/, Dr. Gary Jones has brought together an abundance of free, sales related motivational and informative resources. With well over 25 Tags offering insight on topics from “Handling Objections,” to “Sales Interviewing,” it seems like every topic is covered to assist you with a need you may have. Check it out, and see what it can provide for you.