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Sales 2.0 Conference: The Real-Time Economy

Gerhard Gschwandtner, (@gerhard20) the founder and CEO of Personal Selling Power, Inc. kicked off the Sales 2.0 conference to a full house with opening remarks focused on how much selling is changing.

He credited 7 trends for driving this shift in the way buyers choose to buy:

  1. Conversation Economy - buyers want to talk to each other, not necessarily you.
  2. Transactional Selling - will disappear and migrate to the web resulting in 2 - 3 million salespeople losing their jobs (Gerhard prediction).
  3. Co-Creation - buyers want to be involved
  4. Shifting Definition of Selling - Be what the customer wants you to be.
  5. More Science - Total Quality Management: Gerhard questioned whether or not the science was taking over the art of selling.
  6. Customers Create Companies - we need to learn more from our customers to shape our companies into those they want to do business with.
  7. Sales 2.0 - Gerhard called this "chicken soup for the recessionary economy."

So what drives all this? Increasing access to real-time information and collaboration with people like them--none of which was pervasive just a few years ago.

People can buy songs instantly, get anywhere easily using GPS, and share their thoughts on Twitter. The danger for sales organizations is caused by the "dead ideas" that companies still embrace in their market approaches. Gerhard's list includes:

  • cold calling
  • relying on the traditional sales funnel methodology
  • manual sequential calling
  • lead response delays
  • using sales pitches
  • reinventing sales information
  • relying on commission spreadsheets
  • typing call reports
  • waiting for signatures

David Thompson, CEO of Genius.com, (@david_genius) stepped up to talk about what defines Sales 2.0. In a nutshell, Sales 2.0 requires the shift to customer-focused processes, enabled by Web 2.0 productivity technology that work together to create and sustain customer-perceived value.

Sales 2.0 is about the alignment, collaboration and acceleration that results from embracing the buyer's perspective and needs in your company's go-to-market approach. "Timeliness is everything."

Sales organizations are in the midst of a metamorphosis that requires them to adjust and adopt to continuous change. Obviously, the old ways aren't producing the results needed to drive sustainable growth for most companies. Customers won't allow themselves to be boxed in to buying the way you want to sell. Instead, we must focus on breaking the box wide open to help customers choose to buy in the way that works for them.

Yes, easier said than done. This said, some companies are taking on the challenges of their evolving markets and they're reaping some pretty incredible results. To give you a taste of what's possible, some of the results presented in case studies include:

  • 12% increase in pipeline with an ROI of 321% by using salesforce.com as a hub
  • 75% of new income in 2009 associated with Connect & Sell campaign reciprocity
  • Marketing assumes responsibility for 15% of sales quota
  • 71% of pipeline attributed to marketing-generated leads

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Coming up is my review of Lee Levitt's (IDC) Keynote...stay tuned

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More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.