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Unanswered Questions from Last Week’s Webinars

04 February 2010

Thanks to all who attended last week’s webinars.  We had great audience participation, but lots of questions went unanswered, so I want to respond to a few more great questions.  I’m doing an experiment by taking the extended Q&A session online. Let me know what you think!

If your question is still not addressed in this blog post, please feel free to re-post it in the comments section. Or if you prefer, contact me by e-mail or phone.

Q: What changes, if any, to the Sales 2.0 process would you suggest for companies choosing to use an independent sales agent approach to building a business development organization?

A: The same principles apply, whether you are building a virtual sales team or hiring staff. Develop a sales culture that includes a focused sales strategy, with aligned sales and marketing functions, as well as aligned sales channels. Consider phone/Web-based or inside selling to leverage and support face-to-face selling.  Define and measure a customer-centric sales process. Find open-minded, flexible, team-oriented sales people who are willing to try new things as the business climate and customer preferences change. And enable as much of the buying and selling process with technology as makes sense for your customers and your business.  Listen to Mike Mansbach’s story of CitrixOnline’s inside sales group or Dan Freund’s description of OracleDirect to hear how leading companies are implementing Sales 2.0.

Q: Could you describe the movement of Product Pitch to Trusted Adviser through implementation of Sales 2.0?

A trusted adviser does more than recite a list of product features and benefits that may not be relevant to a buyer.  He or she does research on prospects, their industries, their companies; anticipates their needs; and provides valuable and expert information. This research is more possible than ever before because of tools such as online search (e.g. Google, Yahoo!), social networking and Sales 2.0 technologies that deliver accurate and timely information to sales people.  Check out Chad Levitt’s story about building a million-dollar pipeline as an example.

Q: How do you avoid making sales people not feel distrusted and micromanaged when you measure every activity so closely?

A: The last thing we want to do is demotivate our sales people!  Read Brent Holloway’s excellent post on how he uses metrics in his sales environment to manage his reps in a positive, motivating way.  The prerequisite, of course, is having the right sales people on your team who are constantly striving to improve and optimize their sales approach and see measurement as a way to gauge their performance and learn from their peers.

Q: Moving from Sales 1.0 to Sales 2.0 involves technical skills/knowledge development. Any idea of what segments and sizes of companies are adapting and being successful and why?

A: At Phone Works, our consulting business, we work with early venture-backed start-ups, as well as multi-billion-dollar companies that are succeeding with sales transformation from Sales 1.0 to Sales 2.0. These companies are across industries, though we have seen the most innovation in the technology, green/clean energy, health-care and media segments. The most important prerequisites to success are a willingness to change, thirst for new knowledge, an open-minded attitude to try new approaches, an inability to settle with the status quo, and a willingness for look for new ideas and ask for help from experts outside the company.  The companies that are the most successful with Sales 2.0 have leadership that supports and embraces these core values.

You can  listen to recordings of my Web events — or share them with colleagues who couldn’t attend — with Dan Freund, VP and GM of OracleDirect, on “Inside Sales 2.0: What Practices and Technologies Produce Results”; and Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power and Mike Mansbach, GM and VP of Global Sales GM at CitrixOnline, on  “Sales 2.0, Actionable Strategies for Driving Sales and Increasing ROI”.