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I’ve Succumbed–I’m Talking About Sales 2.0

by David Brock on August 17th, 2010

I’ve always hated the term, Sales 2.0.  I don’t know what it means, to me it’s always a conversation about great new tools and software systems, but not really about selling.  But I’ve succumbed. 

On Tuesday, August 24, 1:00 PM EDT, Tom Scontras, VP of Marketing for Glance Networks and I are having a discussion:  Learn The 3 Keys To Making The Successful Shift to Sales 2.0!  It would be great to have you join us in the discussion–click the link to register:  Register.  We’ll be talking about Sales 2.0 — as much as the whole concept bothers me.

Why am I so bothered by Sales 2.0?  It may be a bunch of my own mental blocks.  To me if we are talking about Sales 2.0, it seems that we have mastered Sales 1.0—whatever that was.  Was it CRM, but then why do we talk about CRM 2.0?  I look at much of the current sales literature and writing, including my own, and we are talking about the same issues we were talking about when I first started selling:  How do we become customer focused?  How do we establish deep relationships with our customers?  How do we become trusted advisers?  How do we create differentiated value?  Why do people dislike sales people?  The list goes on…….  I’ve written before about the “Ground Hog Day” effect, sometimes I feel like I am reliving the same conversations about the same issues year after year.  We change the buzzwords to make it sound new, but we still are working on fundamentals about our profession.

I think one of my problems with the discussion about Sales 2.0 is the discussion is always about a tool—a great piece of software that improves our effectiveness and efficiency as sales professionals.  Often, it seems that by simply using one or several of these software packages, our results would immediately change for the better.  But then I think back to CRM–then presented by many as the panacea to developing and managing customer relationships and improving sales productivity.  I looked up “tool” in the dictionary.  One of the definitions that really struck me was, “a device that aids in accomplishing a task.”  Don’t get me wrong, we actually use a huge number of software tools.  I couldn’t imagine running my business without a CRM system.  We couldn’t manage our communications with customers, prospects, and the larger business community without powerful marketing tools.  I would never pick up the phone and call a customer without using some of the great research tools.  Collaboration, conferencing and related tools improve our productivity tremendously. 

However, these tools are aids to our business.  We’ve focused on the fundamentals of our business:  What are our cores strategies?  What do we want to stand for, how do we want to be perceived by our customers and prospects?  Who are our target customers?  How do we help them?  What sets us apart from other alternatives the customers may be considering?  What are our core processes?  Do they represent best practice, have we refined and updated them?  How do we measure ourselves to make sure we are performing at the highest levels possible.  The list goes on, but our focus is on the core strategies and processes in our business.  We choose tools that aid us in the execution of those strategies and processes.

What about Sales 2.0?  Some of the tools are old school tools–we use handwritten notes a lot.  Is something wrong, should we be abandoning that and tweeting the customers (Hmm, what if they aren’t on Twitter?).  The telephone (albeit a mobile) is critical to communicating–within our team and to customers and clients.  I suppose we should be abandoning voice communication and moving to texting.

Where does Sales 2.0 begin and end?  Did we do a good job on Sales 1.0  (what was it?)?  Should I just skip Sales 2.0 and move to Sales 3.0?

Join us in the webinar, I’m looking forward to discussing these issues with you!  Register.Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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4 Comments
  1. Dave,

    I agree with your concerns. I consider Sales 2.0 to be less about CRM / SFA tools and more about the way customers have changed their purchasing methodology due to information proliferation over the last 10 years. To me Sales 2.0 is how organizations and sales people need to adjust their marketing and sales processes to map to the way people and organizations buy today.

    To coin your thinking, a sales person wants to viciously disqualify sales opportunities that do not meet their sweet spot. With the ease of information that is available today, I believe prospects can be encouraged to self-select in or out during early stages of the buy cycle / sales process. If customers have access to information they need in a format that they want in the front end of the buy cycle / sales process then sales people can spend more time on winnable opportunities at the end of the sales cycle. To me, this is what Sales 2.0 is all about.

    Matthew Brine
    Vice President
    Fax and Document Distribution Group
    Open Text Corporation

    http://faxsolutions.opentext.com/ and http://www.futureoffax.com/

    • Matthew: It’s great to hear from you! Thanks for joining the conversation! Your comment is right on–I think too many miss the point, but Sales 2.0 is all about understanding how people and organizations are buying and effectively engaging them leveraging tools.

      I hope you can join us in the webinar next week, it would be great to continue the discussion in real time!

      Separately, I hope all is well, as always, it is a great pleasure to hear from you! Regards, Dave

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