The term "Sales 2.0" isn't new. It was coined by Nigel Edelshain, CEO of Sales 2.0 (LLC), back in 2006. According to Edelshain, "Sales 2.0 is about sales people using Web 2.0 tools and social media to sell more effectively." The premise is that consumers and markets have been changing dramatically during the past five years, and the traditional methods of sales and marketing are no longer valid.
At the core of this alleged consumer revolution is the idea that people are no longer willing to accept "interruption based" tactics, such as cold calls, bulk mail and e-mail, and TV advertising. Instead, they want to build relationships with "reps" and learn more about your products and services before they buy. To do this, "smarketers" reach out to people via blogs, webinars and social media to attract people in the door and start a conversation, i.e. add them to their sales funnel. Sales people are encouraged to use the same online methods to establish trust and credibility as they ease people down the funnel, transforming them into loyal customers.
Is this really so different from what we were doing before Sales 2.0? Clearly, we are having to shift gears when it comes to marketing. That referendum is over. People do not want to be overwhelmed with marketing messages, preferring instead to research and buy online. But when it comes to convincing a lead to become a customer, there is still an essential role for the sales rep. Especially in B2B sales, where the product or service is often expensive and complicated, much personal nurturing of the customer-rep relationship is required prior to closing. In short, nothing in the software world has stepped forward as an effective alternative to the real conversations that lead to a handshake when the deal is struck.
The job of the talented salesman is not threatened, but sales professionals can learn from Marketing 2.0 and enhance their pipelines with Sales 2.0 tools, in particular:
- Tracking, managing, assessing and reporting leads and account activities using CRM software
- Reaching out to both current and potential customers using social media tools
- Aligning marketing, sales and customer service channels to voice a consistent message and rapid response to customer feedback
- Building a personal brand to reach new markets and build relationships