Companies are emerging from their mid-year planning meetings having evaluated their sales performance for the first half of the year, and sales managers are resetting priorities for the third and fourth quarters. In Phone Works’ consulting work with large and small companies across industries, we are observing some trends.
Here are the top four Sales 2.0 initiatives we’re seeing for the second half of 2010:
1. Closer Analysis of Sales Cycle Metrics and Conversions
Sales 2.0 managers are realizing that measuring only revenue is not enough if they really want to improve sales performance. They are defining, measuring and analyzing sales cycle steps — based on how their buyers buy — and they’re getting a better grip on forecasts, and well as a clearer understanding of where both their teams and individual reps need help.
2. Alignment of Sales and Marketing
Whether they call it “closed loop,” “demand to close” or “click to cash,” Sales 2.0 leaders are attempting to work more closely with their marketing peers to integrate the functions. Their goals are to agree on the best-qualified prospect profiles, engage the right buyers, track and measure the results and ROI of lead generation marketing programs, and determine hand-off processes from marketing to sales — and vice versa, if a buyer isn’t ready to make a purchasing decision and is better served through a lead nurturing program.
3. Scrutiny of Technology ROI
Amid all the promise of Sales 2.0 technologies, many Sales 2.0 companies are getting smarter about determining the impact of technology on their sales results. In some cases, managers who previously implemented systems in hopes of a quick fix are now revisiting adoption and rollout plans and analyzing their sales processes to see where technology can accelerate or improve their sales. By establishing before and after metrics, Sales 2.0 managers can better justify what can be substantial investments in time and money associated with new technology purchases.
4. Creative New Ways to Engage Prospects
It is getting increasingly difficult to get the attention of our overworked, overstimulated buyers, who are being bombarded by marketing campaigns and sales calls in multiple media. We know personal, timely messages that are relevant to our prospects are the only ones getting through, but even these carefully crafted e-mails or voice mails can be lost in sheer volume of messages in the average business decision maker’s inbox. Sales 2.0 professionals are experimenting by sending personal notes by snail mail; including videos in e-mail; posting comments on prospects’ blogs; reaching out via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — anything to stand out from the crowd and get a response.
Have you redefined your sales priorities? What are YOUR key initiatives for the second half of 2010?