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?

4 thoughts on “Sales 2.0.: Are you on this bandwagon or falling off the scene?”

  1. Kathleen,

    Sales 2.0 means “a new way of selling” to me. I’m actually the person who coined the term 2.5 years ago.

    The catalyst for this “new way of selling” is the Internet. Initially the Internet gave us tools to change the way the buyer bought now we are starting to get tools that help us sellers sell.

    We’re really still all trying to agree on the exact definition of Sales 2.0. I personally believe it’s not just about technology but it’s about people, process and tools. I’ll be interested to see what you readers say.

    Nigel

  2. I agree with Nigel – it’s not just about the technology.

    Sales 2.0, to me, is about aligning to the new buying process.

    Relationships aren’t dead – it’s just that our customers/prospects are more focused on the value we can bring than on building relationships with us.

    Sales 2.0 means that the modern sales professional will “have to embrace all of the tools at their means in order to serve a very busy, very skeptical customer that is intolerant of [being *sold* to]” (Jeremy Miller, CPSA’s Contact Magazine – Vol. 12 No. 1, page 19).

    I definitely subscibe to the fact that Sales 2.0 is about being more (time/resource) effective in satisfying a huge and growing number of customers whose need to understand the value of your offering supercedes their need for a personal relationship with you.

  3. I agree with both of you. Sales 2.0 is a simplifed way in describing how sales professionals have to align their sales strategies and approaches with today’s technology marketplace.

  4. Nothing is new, but everything is new. Nothing is changing but everything is changing.

    Most of us can remember the door-to-door sales person, some even remember when a “cold call” meant showing up at a business and trying for a face to face meeting. Fast forward to cell phones so common the pay-phone is near extinct, add the web, and here we are.

    Now the issue is addressing the balance of technology to the task. Getting the right vertical aggregators, RSS feeds, and other technology so one is not overburdened by the hands being glued to the keyboard. Adding the rapid Web 2.0 evolution and mashup activity, it can be daunting.

    My research in Sales 2.0 is focused on finding this balance in such a way that it automates and propels in a productive way.

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