Every sales organization I talk to these days is ramping their Sales 2.0 technologies. It's a fun topic for a guy like me who loves sales and loves technology. The Sales 2.0 conference is coming up and they have done some studies on buyer behavior in the market, so I took the opportunity to interview Lisa Gschwandtner, the Editorial Director of Selling Power. Selling Power is a media cosponsor of the Sales 2.0 Conference.
Mike: What made you decide to create the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey?
Lisa: From the very first Sales 2.0 Conference in 2007, it was clear that Sales 2.0 could yield explosive gains in all kinds of areas. A simple e-signature or automated outbound dialing tool, for example, could collapse certain stages of your sales cycle from weeks to hours. At that point we were seeing a real revolutionary excitement about the potential of Sales 2.0 technology. And as early as 2009, we started to see companies like Brainshark implement an entire Sales 2.0 architecture to create growth in productivity and effectiveness in a variety of areas.
At this point in the evolution of Sales 2.0, we can now point to year-over-year patterns that tie Sales 2.0 usage to revenue results. We felt it was time to poll a generation of Sales 2.0 users and let the statistics tell the story of how Sales 2.0 influences success.
Mike: What are the biggest Sales 2.0 trends for 2013?
Lisa: Content marketing is a trend to watch. B2B companies have pushed themselves to establish online selling channels, implement inbound marketing automation solutions, and integrate social selling as part of their sales process. You need high-quality content to see real gains in these areas. Businesses are realizing they need to start acting like publishers if they want to use content to attract customers.
Another trend with staying power is the growth of inside sales teams. Moving from a field sales model to an inside model (or some blend) isn’t a new thing -- what’s startling is the rate at which this is happening. Online is where buyers live now, and expensive field reps just aren’t necessary for as many business models anymore, especially with so many Sales 2.0 tools (including video conferencing and screen-sharing tools) available to help us connect and collaborate online.
Any Sales 2.0 trend you see will stem from one root cause: buyers are controlling the sales cycle. Buyers and sellers have a different relationship these days. And you can choose to respond to that shift in many ways. The leadership challenge is where to put your focus. What technology do you need to adopt today, and what do you need by year-end? What’s the plan for implementing technology and adjusting your processes? This is why high-level executives come to the Sales 2.0 Conference. They get educated on what other sales leaders are doing, and they identify which trends and technologies would be the best to bring back home and implement.
Mike: What's the biggest change in the Sales 2.0 world from the time you started the conference to now?
Lisa: I would say more than change I see expansion. Since we started in San Francisco, we saw Boston emerge as the Silicon Valley of the east. And last year we took the Sales 2.0 Conference as far as London. The demand for Sales 2.0 solutions just keeps getting broader.
The technology solutions themselves are also expanding. More specifically, lots of smaller companies that were around when we first started out, like Jigsaw, have been absorbed into larger ecosystems. That means the market now has different expectations about how technology will or should work. They expect integration of highly tactical automated tools and solutions as part of their investment in a broad-base technology solution, like a CRM system.
Mike: I saw this number: "50% of sales organizations surveyed plan to increase spending on Sales 2.0 solutions in 2013" on a couple blog posts, it sounds as though sales people are getting ready to spend on technology.
Lisa: Yes, that stat is one of the initial numbers we were excited to release from the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey. B2B companies are absolutely primed to invest in Sales 2.0 technology this year. The survey also gave us intriguing information about who’s owning implementation and purchasing decisions internally. We’ll be sharing all of that with attendees at the Sales 2.0 Conference on April 8-9 in San Francisco
Mike:. What do you prefer red, yellow or green curry?
Lisa: I like my curry the way I like my Sales 2.0 logo. Red!
In the fourth of a series of Thought Leader interviews for MarketingSherpa's 6th Annual B2B Marketing Summit 2009
, we talk to Richard Fouts, research director at Gartner, Inc., an information technology research and advisory company. Fouts presented yesterday in Boston.
Mike: You're presenting on the use of social media in communications. (I'm assuming you are talking Marcom?) I've noticed lately that if you have the right media contacts connected with you on Twitter and Linkedin, you can almost get your word out through those channels as opposed to the standard techniques. Are traditional media outlets dying?
Richard: It's not just marcom, rather all communications ... corporate communications, employee communications, PR, and investor communications. But to answer your question: If I had a dollar for every time someone predicted the death of traditional media -- for example, print -- I'd be rich. Michael, do you know the invention of the bicycle actually predicted the death of the book industry? Yes indeed, one view is that we'd all be riding our bicycles instead of reading books. There's no question that as dollars move toward electronic media, they move away from traditional media at the same pace. But things go in cycles. Amazon still sells plenty of books, and BW, Harvard Business Review, and the Economist still sell lots of magazines and journals (especially when they do special editions on things like social computing). I tell clients all the time, "There's a lot less noise in print right now ... and the rates are lower. So you'll actually get higher ROI in print today than you did before -- due to less noise, and less competition for eyeballs, at lower cost." Besides, we all know from experience that the best campaigns engage prospects over time, with multiple media. And from what I can see, traditional media outlets aren't dying, but they are adapting. Every television commercial for IBM tells you to go to their web site. The web site shows their TV ads ... or tells you to watch for their ad campaign on television, or to watch for them at an upcoming trade show. PR is being aggressive in its use of social media in their traditional reputation management services. Many events in the physical world, like meetups and house parties, start with Twitter. It's old media meets new media - not a question of what's surviving and what's dying - rather how things are evolving, converging, and maturing.
Mike: Blogging seems to be the communications platform of the future. In fact, our new site's press section will basically be a blog. Our focus with blogging, though, is to spread prolific content about demand gen and appointment setting
. It brings value to our readers and credits for SEO. Are there other benefits?
Richard: Sure, there are a range of benefits to blogging that inform all phases of what we at Gartner call the marketing activity cycle. New media and Web 2.0 are changing everything, but the fundamentals of marketing haven't changed. You still need to study and research the market, develop products, plan, execute, communicate, and evaluate. Blogging, like many social and professional interaction platforms, informs all of these phases, not just the communication phase. For example, blogs help us solicit input about new products ... and they help marketers and salespeople have conversations, not just engage in one-way messaging. Press sections today don't have mechanisms for people to respond to a press release, to ask questions. By making your press room a blog, you open up robust and informational conversations, not just one way messaging that ends in a vacuum. You're able to make more informed decisions. You reduce the guesswork because you know more .. and you know it faster.
Mike: What should we look out for when combining social media and communications?
Richard: Look out for "herding cats syndrome" because as a communications professional, you'll never herd all the cats who are wandering around the great social media chessboard. You need to accept the fact that you're relinquishing control, at least the kind you've become accustomed to. This is the toughest thing for communications people to hear. Their entire discipline has been turned upside down because they no longer create and shoot one-way messages to stakeholders. And they aren't the only originators of the message. Dell for example, woke up one day to a crisis situation due to an angry blogger named Jeff Jarvis, who lambasted Dell for its lousy customer service. Within hours, boatloads of consumers sympathetic to Jarvis' arguments posted comments on his blog as well as their own, creating a firestorm of negativity through the blogosphere. It took awhile, but Dell executives finally joined the online conversation and began to slowly rebuild the company's tarnished image. Dell learned a valuable lesson from this experience. It launched its own blog and put it to good use when another potential crisis erupted - that it nipped in the bud -- over a battery recall. Dell's chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, addressed the issue in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner and let customers freely comment. Later, Michael Dell launched IdeaStorm.com and begged customers to give his company advice (and he still gets plenty of it, which he welcomes with open arms). The proof is in the pudding: metrics show that Dell's customer service rating has risen significantly. So the message is, don't try to herd the cats -- become part of the movement. In some cases you may even feel like you're part of the chaos, part of the noise, but you need to just go with it. Let it play out. Transparency is everything these days, and if you fight it, you're done. PR people learned this long ago when they realized the words "no comment" would brew even more suspicion.
Mike: If you had just 5 minutes with someone and they asked you for the takeaways from your presentation, what would they be?
Richard: The chief takeaway is simple: Don't forget the fundamentals of marketing in your desire to understand social media and its game changing, revolutionary qualities. Sure, social media changes everything but there's no substitute for good marketing. You still need to respond to the gaps in the market and exploit your competitors' weaknesses. And social media can help. But you can't wait. You need to join the movement, make some mistakes, learn from them, and go on. This isn't one of those "wait and see" things where you think you can let other people make mistakes for you, then join in with the perfect plan. You need to experiment, you need to engage in the conversation, learn the beauty of crowdsourcing, tweeting, blogging, and listening to your Facebook fans, both the good and the bad. Customers don't want you to market to them, they want you to market with them.
Mike: OK, last question, the B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll
. Do you prefer red, yellow or green curry?
Richard: That's easy: Green
Another of the speakers at MarketingSherpa's 6th Annual B2B Marketing Summit 2009
is Aaron Dun, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ness Technologies
, a global IT services provider. This is the third in a series of Thought Leader Interviews for Marketing Sherpa.
Mike: Aaron, you're speaking at MarketingSherpa about "How to Build a Program -- When Every Dollar Counts Twice." It seems to not only be about the dollars, but about the resources. What would you share with those one-person marketing departments that are out there?
Aaron: Run, fast? Just kidding, of course. I think oftentimes the resource issue is wildly overlooked. You have to be realistic about what you can do with the team that you have available to you, whether it's 10 people or just one person. At a previous company, we expected to be able to knock out a regular set of campaigns in a given quarter, but instead it took all of our energy to roll out two. That was the effective maximum capability that we had and we need to acknowledge and plan for that.
As for specific advice, I would offer the following:
- Surround yourself with a great network of freelancers and partners. Have at least one go-to person for each discipline, cultivate them and bring them into your planning process as if they are on your team. If they have visibility into your strategy and can do consistent work for you, they will be that much more effective. The sad reality of the recent downturn is there are some fantastic resources working as freelancers or striking out on their own. (To be clear however, this isn't "good talent on sale!")
- Maximize everything you are doing. If you write a whitepaper, what are you going to do with it? Have a strategy to get the maximum value of that asset from posting it on your site, in your social communities, syndicating it out, etc.
- Be ruthless in your measurement. If you don't know if something is working or not, figure out how to measure it or stop doing it. (and yes, you CAN measure PR! )
Mike: Some companies are still acting as if they are in economic crisis mode. We're all doing more for less. What can a frugal marketer say or do for their management teams that can free up the much-needed budgets?
Aaron: Paralysis works both ways, unfortunately. But I think the answer lies in the maturity of the organization. If you have been running a strong program and have a good foundation, come to the table with a strong idea that takes advantage of either a market opportunity, a competitor's sudden weakness, or a unique opportunity that wasn't there before. Link the activity to a business outcome you have successfully driven before.
Conversely, if your marketing organization is less mature, you have to show how inaction is delaying opportunity. In this case, it takes a certain amount of time to ramp up the machine and turn marketing efforts into business opportunities. The longer you wait, the longer the payoff takes to kick in.
But the same rigor on metrics applies. Propose something as a Proof-of-Concept first. Rather than suggesting a three-webinar series for $100k, show how you negotiated a pilot for just $15k with an option for future campaigns and articulate the expected value and the steps you are going to take to achieve the goal. Most importantly though, pull the plug if it doesn't work. Willingness to walk away from an idea gone wrong will show that you will spend money wisely and can be trusted with the company's money.
Lastly, think like the CFO. The CFO has many choices for spending your budget. They can invest that money in marketing, or they can invest it in something else or the market. If you show that you can drive a business return with their investment in your budget, they will be more likely to invest more.
Mike: Social Media. It seems to be all the buzz. It also seems to be an inexpensive way to pull off some effective marketing. What are your thoughts here?
Aaron: Yes and no. If you have a consumer product, it's interesting of course. But on the B2B side the value prop is a bit less clear still. I wrote about this issue a bit on my blog. I was one of the early B2B brands advertising on LinkedIn when they launched their advertising platform. We were targeting senior marketing folks and their segmentation capability is pretty amazing. But you always have to ask yourself even if they are on the platform, are they there to engage with you? Or are they there for some other purpose?
You also need to consider your internal audience. It's not a stretch to say that many senior executives are not entirely clear on what social media can do for the organization. I have a hard enough time getting budget and bandwidth for the things I know are going to drive business, I am not sure that I want to hinge my program on the channel today.
But you clearly have to be in the game. Our strategy is to be fast followers. We are dabbling in our "20% innovation time" (to borrow Google's term) to build our presence and test. We are looking to use the channel to "get outside the four walls of our web site," so to speak. I personally went from 0 to 60 on Twitter in just 36 hours at a conference a few months ago; clearly others have as well. With that comes opportunity, but as a B2B service, we can afford to wait and see how things develop.
Mike: So, for a takeaway as it pertains to b2b demand gen, the ultimate goal is putting a prospect in the hands of a sales rep. What programs are you hot on right now? Inbound Marketing? Outbound Marketing? Qualified Lead Gen? Appointment Setting? Web Events? Social Media?
Aaron: This might sound a little strange but my answer is all of the above. While our campaigns tend to be led or focused on a particular tactic, we are trying to run truly "interactive campaigns" that encompass as many channels as possible around a particular theme. This year we set out to do just three themes. We have done single-threaded activities around meeting setting or email or web campaigns, but we prefer to mix together the right set of activities to achieve the desired result.
This has a couple of advantages. First it de-risks your efforts. If you run a meeting-setting campaign and you miss your target, you missed. But if you run an email campaign on a topic, back that up with a web event and layer in your meeting-setting effort against the respondents and previously warm contacts -- you then measure the campaign on the aggregate. If one area falters the others will pick it up. Surely, you need to measure the individual activities and understand any failures, but at least your whole campaign didn't tank.
Second, by committing a series of activities around a particular concept or theme, you can gain economies of scale around your efforts and tell a more complete story. Hosting a web event gives your telesales team another hook to the message, more punch to your web efforts, a boost for your syndication campaign, more assets to drive up SEO hits or run PPC campaigns against, etc. So while they take a bit more effort and at times, budget, when you have limited resources it's far better to multiply those any way you can.
Mike: Last question, it's the B2B Thought Leaders Curry Poll. Do you like Red, Green or Yellow Curry?
Aaron: Sorry to disappoint. As my daughter says, "Don't yuck my yum" so let's just say that Curry is not my favorite!
This past week was the first in a series of two great conferences, the MarketingSherpa's 6th Annual B2B Marketing Summit 2009 in San Francisco. Next week, Oct. 5 and 6, will be the Boston summit. Find me there and say hello.
We published the Top 20 tweets of each day of the conference here:
MarketingSherpa Marketing Summit, Top 20 Posts from Day 1
MarketingSherpa Marketing Summit, Top 20 Posts from Day 2
One of the speakers was Kim Albee, President of Genoo, a provider of online marketing tools. Her presentation about using LinkedIn successfully to generate leads was popular with the audience. Here is the second in a series of Thought Leader Interviews for MarketingSherpa.
Mike: Kim, I've been to four conferences since May and at all four the topic du jour was Social Media, so be ready for a great session! If you just had one slide to present, what would be on it?
Kim: I agree that social media has been the hot topic. We run a microsite, B2B Online Marketing Pros, for our B2B Online Marketing group on LinkedIn. We cover a different subject matter on the microsite every few months and social media garnered one of our best click-through rates for email sent to the group. If I had just one slide to present, it would talk about where social media fits in with all the marketing channels: Websites, blogs, and microsites, to podcasts, slideshare, video, email marketing, LinkedIn, Facebook, Public Relations, direct mail, and other efforts. They can all work together. The more you're out there and making friends in the social realm, the more you're able to get the word out to a broad audience. For example, we just launched Genoo into public release. We've been in beta for a little over a year, and we just announced it. We issued a press release, and we've gotten some great blog posts as well as Tweets - to both the blog posts, as well as the press release. When we looked at the statistics, we had 10 different people tweet about our launch to a total Twitter following of 40,013 people. Of those, about 10,471 are fairly well-targeted into our niche of B2B marketing. That's generated a good amount of traffic and leads.
Mike: I still wonder about b2b Facebook Fan Pages as a medium for generating leads, but I agree with you that twitter and LinkedIn are an incredible source.
As it pertains to a b2b company with big-ticket items and long sales cycles, what areas are you seeing some immediate value with from both an online community and a social media perspective?
Kim: When you've got a long sales cycle, you've got to keep building the relationship and trust with your leads by delivering them information they value - that means information that's relevant to them and explains the issues you can help them resolve. If you do good follow-up or lead nurturing, then studies show that you can keep and close more leads. No matter what technology you utilize -- Twitter, blogs, community participation, marketing automation tools, etc - if what you're saying is not relevant for your target audience, the technology won't make a difference. The technology is only an enabler - the content is the ticket. Having said that, I'm seeing a lot of value from using a combination of very targeted emails, including subscription-based emails, Twitter, and LinkedIn Answers and the blog community. If you have great content that people want to read, you can offer it via email and also use it on those other channels.
Mike: When it comes to demand generation, do you see social media at the top of the funnel, further down, or throughout?
Kim: I think social media can make a difference at the top of the funnel, but it can also be effective throughout. It can be used along with search engine optimization strategies to drive traffic to your site. If you already have leads and you're sending them relevant content, and they also see you actively out in the community they participate in, you can get a lot of traction in the trust-building department. And that can make a big difference - especially when there are buying committees. It just helps spread your reach and visibility.
Mike: Where does the human, outbound marketing effort come in? When do you switch from tweeting to appointment setting?
Kim: I don't think you ever stop social media when you start with the other. I'd recommend that for every new lead you get, you have a relevant follow-up sequence that provides valuable content that will help them. Pair that up with lead scoring and your definition of a "qualified" lead, and you will know when it's right to call them for an appointment. Tweeting, blogging, and other social media participation will continue, and if your leads are following you on any of them, it will only add to the value you provide to your leads. You'll approach it from a holistic viewpoint if you want to do it well. Social media is not a silver bullet for lead generation. In the world today, with all of the marketing avenues available, social is just part of the picture. Your competency to leverage the available options has got to be a lot more fluid. "Test" should be the mantra, so companies can figure out what works best for them. Whatever channels you choose, measure the response and test what your prospects are responding to.
Mike: People are bombarded with so many options. If you were to help someone in a small B2B business, what should they start with?
Kim: I would recommend that they start with their website and work outward from there. They need to have a website with great content that is a lead capture and follow-up machine. Then consider using a combination of some "warm" marketing like an email subscription with something to drive more leads, like either LinkedIn Answers, Groups, Twitter - or make friends with the bloggers that influence their target market. Then when they're comfortable with one of those, add another one.
Mike: Last question, the B2B Thought Leaders Curry Poll - do you prefer Red, Green or Yellow Curry?
Kim: For me it's Yellow for sure.
This week is MarketingSherpa's 6th Annual B2B Marketing Summit 2009 in San Francisco, to be repeated two weeks later in Boston. Both events are loaded with speakers and content, and I'm sure there will be tons of marketing goodness to share. I'll be at the Boston summit on Oct. 5 and 6, so if you are there, please introduce yourself. If not, you can follow the live tweets here.
As for other shows, Smashmouth Marketing enjoys delivering thought leader interviews with the speakers. Our first is with Emily Salus of CollabNet, a company that sells application lifecycle management software for distributed development teams. Emily is responsible for managing lead processing, lead scoring, nurture programs, and reporting metrics. She acts as the marketing operations liaison with the CollabNet sales team worldwide and contributes to messaging and content.
Mike: Emily, you're speaking at MarketingSherpa on the topic of Lead Scoring. Although there are lots of vendors out there that do automated lead scoring, what can you share with the folks that can't afford the enterprise-level solutions? What are some simple ways to do Lead Scoring?
Emily: If you don't have Lead Scoring but you've got a sales qualification team, you can implement a lot of the same ideas. First, regardless of what you're doing, you should make sure that Sales and Marketing agree on what a Sales Ready Lead is. If everyone agrees on this definition, you'll work together a lot better because you'll all be trying to get the same thing. Second, if you have a customer profile and certain activities you want them to do, your Sales qualification (or telemarketing or inside sales, depending on your organization) can still grade your leads based on profile (title, geography, industry, etc.) and activity before the leads ever go to a Sales Rep. You might have a matrix of high, medium, and low match-to-profile and high, medium, and low match-to-activity, so if someone's the right profile and the right activity level, your salespeople know they are hot leads.
Mike: As you know, Green Leads is in the business of outbound marketing. We find that our appointment setting results are far better in quality and quantity if we are doing lead scoring and lead nurturing. That said, should we be ignoring low lead scores or should we be working them at a different level?
Emily: Definitely, you need to nurture, regardless of score. If someone's at a low score now, maybe your solution isn't in their sights now. But in six months, it might be they have a new project or new role and if you're still in their minds, they could suddenly become your next opportunity. Imagine what would happen if you just let them go and your competitor didn't, and a short time later they needed a solution like yours. Do you want to be one of the companies they consider or not?
Mike: Some people believe a lead isn't a prospect until they score at a certain level. How do you measure prospects that have yet to be touched? In a pure outbound campaign we may just know their name, title, and company demographics?
Emily: As I mentioned earlier, there are both demographic and activity aspects to each lead's score. So if you have a list of leads with the perfect profile, they should be scored based on that. Then, if they respond to your emails and other offerings, they'll be scored for that. Together, those scores should give them high enough total scores to qualify to go to sales. Again, it's all about defining the Sales Ready Lead in cooperation with Sales. If you agree on a profile and you agree on the activities that a lead should participate in to qualify, then this combination should meet your "send to Sales" points threshold.
Mike: For people who won't be there to see your presentation, what will the top takeaways be?
Emily: Do what you have to do to make sure that Marketing and Sales are a single team with the same goals.
When you're going to implement lead scoring, make sure you test your proposed scoring values before you implement. You only get one chance to make a first impression with Sales when you implement.
Make sure you know how you're going to quantify and measure the value that Lead Scoring brings. Down the road this is going to be how you justify keeping the Lead Scoring service, your improvements of numbers and quality of leads sent to sales and the programs you implement to create demand. If you can show how an extra $10K investment in Q2 is going to mean the company exceeds its closed/won target in Q4 by an additional $50K, you've justified your budget and your position.
Mike: Last question, the B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll -- do you like Red, Green or Yellow curry?
Emily: None of the above (allergies). Make mine a tandoori!
IDC has been putting out great materials recently with their Sales Advisory Service. Lee Levitt is the Program Director for the service and is speaking with sales leaders, clients, and prospects constantly. I'm looking forward to hearing a more detailed presentation this week at the Sales 2.0 Conference
Mike: You recently released some research on Sales Enablement. Tell us about how Sales 2.0 is empowering sales professionals today?
Lee: From my perspective, Sales 2.0 is not about technology. It's about improving the capabilities of the seller and the organization behind the seller. Technology is just one of the components of improved sales productivity. The primary component is improved processes. With a healthy focus on what works and what needs improving in the sales organization, executives can identify the processes that must be improved. Then and only then should technology be brought in to ensure that those processes scale.
We have identified a number of "choke points" in the selling process, mostly in the area of access to information and time spent on activities that (should) support the selling effort. Sales people spend way too much time searching for information, giving up and creating sales assets on their own (assets that typically exist elsewhere in the organization). Do we really want people who earn $150 an hour creating PowerPoint presentations from scratch or searching Hoovers for basic company information about their prospects?
Sales 2.0 empowers sales people with simple, efficient access to information about customers and prospects already in context, usable from the start. Pulling this information together, analyzing it, cleaning it, ensuring that it is relevant -- these activities should be done by a centralized group and then provided to the sales person or team at the right time -- just before a call planning session.
Mike: Another critical activity right now is demand gen. We all know that b2b demand gen
has shifted dramatically in this 2.0 world. Where do you see outbound marketing and inbound marketing impacting the top line in the next 12 months?
Lee: Marketing activities must seek to answer the questions posed by the prospect or customer: "Why are you sitting in my office now? What do you know about my business that has earned you the privilege of 30 minutes of my calendar? What experiences do you bring with you that are particularly relevant to the critical business issues faced by my company today?" All marketing activity must either directly or indirectly support the conversations that ensue from these questions.
Mike: We recently completed a study that showed that with b2b appointments, a third of C/VP execs delegated down
. Do you see the sales process becoming more of a buying process where the prospects are dictating how we sell?
Lee: I'd look at the issue the other way. Sales people have always been trained to sell up (Selling to VITO), and they've overshot their goal. A senior level executive will take a meeting with a rep who brings value to the table. If they aren't prepared to have that value discussion, they'll be pushed back down the organization, or as our research shows, thrown out. Reps must work their way up the organization, conducting research, building an understanding of the challenges of the organization, and matching their company's capabilities with the needs of the organization. In this manner, they earn the right to talk with the senior executive.
Mike: What will you be talking about at the conference? Can we have a sneak peek?
Lee: Sure. It's all about pipeline hygiene -- efficiency and effectiveness of "co-creating" value with the prospect or customer. Selling is dead. The best salespeople today don't sell, they consult. They're on the same side of the table as their prospect and they're working together to create value. This takes deep understanding of the customer's environment and challenges, and skills that many salespeople don't have today. It also takes a different set of metrics to gauge the success of the engagement - metrics that most organizations don't track.
Mike: Last question, the B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll
. Time for the real "research"...red, green, or yellow curry?
Lee: Yellow, of course!
When I first met Nigel Edelshain at the Sales 2.0 Conference
back in SFO a couple years ago, I was totally impressed with the fact that his company, Sales 2.0 LLC
and Green Leads
are competitors and yet we hit it off in just 5 minutes. No presumptions--just Sales 2.0 goodness. Since, Nigel and I have had long conversations about our businesses and the industry in general. I look forward to hearing what he has to say next week.
Mike: Having coined the phrase "Sales 2.0", and speaking at the Sales 2.0 Conference events, what changes have you seen in the past 2 years since all the "movement" started gaining momentum?
Nigel: For the first year 2006-2007 I was just talking to myself. The biggest change has come in 2009. I've noticed a lot more conversation with actual sales organizations about the impact Sales 2.0 can have for them. I have a strong feeling that we will see exponential adoption of Sales 2.0 in 2010 (and starting this fall). Despite the economic malaise (or maybe even partly because of it) Sales 2.0 has really started to show up on the Radar of real world sales and marketing executives this year.
Mike: You and I are in the high level lead generation and appointment setting business
. We talk all the time and consider ourselves co-opetition versus competition. Do you think that single nuance between vendors is "sales 2.0?"
Nigel: I don't think this is specifically Sales 2.0, but I do think such cooperation tends to come about when you are changing the world a bit. Sales 2.0 is a massive project. To me it's about changing the sales profession (period). It's about taking the way we sell to a whole new place. That's a huge undertaking. Such an undertaking is not something I could take on on my own nor could anyone else in the "sales improvement industry." Therefore most people have realized that they need to work together to make this big change happen. I think that's what you and I have figured out (plus you're a good bloke anyway).
Mike: Your ebook Don't Cold Call Social Call
is a fantastic example of how outbound marketing has shifted by using social media and working smarter, yet we still see the traditional 200 dial per day call center environments. Do you think those folks are missing the boat?
Nigel: Yes. My thought is NOT that the telephone is going away but that it's not the only communication medium now and that we need to become expert at "multimedia prospecting" as I call it. B2B buyers have already moved into an environment where they are increasingly hard to reach by phone.
Mike, you've written some great pieces recently about combining inbound and outbound marketing
(aka prospecting). I believe you're spot on with this focus. I'm a huge fan of Hubspot, David Meerman Scott, and Chris Brogan. The inbound marketing movement is "the brother of Sales 2.0" in my view. Companies that I see succeeding in the future (especially in the high-end professional selling arena) will be experts at combining lots of media, both inbound and outbound.
Yes, it will be more complex than making 200 smiles-and-dials a day but that's humans for you - we always raise the bar on each other - that's called competition.
Mike: If you were having lunch with the VP of Marketing and the VP of Sales from a high level b2b company, what three bullets would you share with them that are 2.0 oriented?
Nigel: 1) Learn about Sales 2.0 NOW. It's a competitive advantage. One or more of your competitors will use Sales 2.0 in 2010. Your call where you want to be on this - leader or follower?
2) Look at how Sales 2.0 can affect your lead generation
and prospecting. This is the MOST BROKEN part of nearly all B2B sales forces. It's a massive bottleneck. Sales 2.0 has amazing potential to help you here. You have the chance to dominate.
3) Sales 2.0 will absolutely drive marketing and sales functions closer together. The sales-marketing divide has to go. You guys should act on it NOW - not wait for it to hit you from behind.
Mike: Last question, the B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll
. At this lunch, would you order red, green, or yellow curry?
Nigel: Lamb Madras, white rice, a naan and a Taj Mahal, please. Indian every time. So brown curry for me. Indian food is my favorite of all cuisines in the world. Can someone recommend a good Indian downtown Chicago?
Kevin Hooper of Hewlett Packard will be speaking next week at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Chicago. Kevin joined the HP team as Vice President of the U.S. Commercial Business Segment in 2007. As a member of the US Technology Solution Group's senior leadership team, Mr. Hooper has driven HP's transformational agenda to achieve the growth goals assigned to the Commercial space, which represents a $150 billion market for HP.
Kevin's insights into Sales 2.0 are unique in that they are from the user perspective.
Mike: You've been in the front lines of sales at IBM for 10 years and now HP and have led sales organizations for years. What shifts do you see recently that you can truly attribute to 2.0 thinking?
Kevin: The biggest shift I've seen is in the use of data and tools. Don't get me wrong, sales leaders have run forecast calls and pipeline calls for years, discussing deals and working on progression. The difference is now we have a lexicon, a way of describing opportunities and where they are in the progression of the sales cycle in a consistent manner. This leads to the ability to aggregate those opportunities and know how many have been qualified, how long that took, how long they sat at the qualification stage before moving forward and what actions we took to move those opportunities forward. A small change in the focus on a group of opportunities at a particular stage can make a big difference.
Mike: Has HP implemented any specific tools or strategies to improve sales effectiveness and tracking, sales enablement and in general, make your field force more productive?
Kevin: We've used a combination of training and operational process and more importantly linked the two. Let me explain. We use a specific knowledge elicitation technique for conducting conversations with customers. It's proved very effective. But more importantly, my mangers use this same technique when inspecting the sales reps pipeline and key opportunities.
We rolled the same technique out to all of our business partners as part of HP's Learning and Development function so we're ALL speaking the same language. It's really about effective communication.
Mike: If you were to be sitting on an airplane next to another VP of Sales and having a conversation, what few tips would you share with him that might lead to their exceeding their numbers in the short term?
Kevin: Focus on your pipeline and set some tough expectations about your forecast. When my team forecasts an opportunity to me, I trust them. It is then my job to open up new opportunities and remove obstacles. Its really about the "At Bats".
Mike: Agreed. A good sales person needs face-to-face time with a prospect. A C/VP level appointment kick starts the process. Where do you see demand gen programs shifting to better serve your team?
Kevin: One of the major changes I'm seeing is demand gen people taking responsibility of a revenue number. In HP our marketing team feels responsible for delivering revenue, not just sales ready leads. A lead has to be progressed and closed. If the person generating it is paid on its closure, the quality increases dramatically and that's what we're seeing.
Mike: You're speaking at the upcoming Sales 2.0 conference in Chicago, what sort of message will you be delivering?
Kevin: A short one hopefully...seriously, I'll be sharing a couple of best practices, and taking some questions. What I do isn't rocket science, but it is about execution, follow through, commitment, and accountability.
Mike: Many of us have been saying this for a while. Sales 2.0 is really just using communications, information, and technology to enhance long term sales best practices. Sounds like it will be a great session. The last question will sound odd, but every interview on my blog finishes with the B2B Marketing Thought leaders Curry Poll. Do you prefer Red, Green or Yellow curry?
Kevin: I'm English, so frankly, I don't care what color it is as long as it is very, very hot!
With he upcoming Sales 2.0 conference in Chicago September 10th, it's time again to provide a few pre-show interviews.
David Thompson, CEO of Genius.com was one of the early leaders of the Sales 2.0 movement and recently co-authored Sales 2.0 For Dummies.
Mike: David, what is the hot topic of the upcoming conference? Will Social Media dominate the discussions again?
David: Social Media is taking the world by storm. There are 275 million blogs and 43 million LinkedIn users. Each day there are 1.9 million Tweets and as the New York Times recently posited, Twitter early adopters are adults and not their kids. The question is how can B2B Sales and Marketing organizations take advantage of the social media revolution to better engage with their customers and close more deals? In the Sales 2.0 Conference panel I’m moderating, “Social Networking in a Sales 2.0 World”, social media experts and practitioners will describe what’s in it for sales and how they can make the most of conversations in the clouds.
Mike: I recently interviewed Joe Galvin of SiriusDecisions on the topic of Sales and Marketing Alignment and his feeling is that it's one of the barriers companies need to overcome to succeed. What are your thoughts there?
David: Sales and Marketing Alignment continues to be a hot topic. In the current economic climate everyone is being asked to do more with less—and so there’s increased focus on getting previously silo’d departments working from the same playbook so they can be more efficient, more productive and ultimately more results focused. The panel on “Customer Engagement Strategies” will highlight how Information Builders and others are aligning their sales and marketing departments for greater revenue success.
Mike: Demand gen marketers work hard to generate sales leads, how is Sales 2.0 impacting the effectiveness of sales reps and lead management?
David: And, not surprisingly, everyone is looking for better ways to manage their pipeline. And while most want to move prospects through the funnel faster the true test is actually not velocity but surfacing sales ready leads and handing them off to sales in a timely fashion for right time engagement. Recent studies from MIT/Kellogg point out that a salesperson’s ability to connect with a prospect drops precipitously in only five after a website visit is concluded. The conference will highlight users who are using Sales 2.0 technologies to help salespeople engage in timely conversations, pursue better opportunities and eliminate time chasing after unprofitable prospects.
Mike: Last question, the B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll: red, green or yellow curry? Which do you prefer?
David: Yellow thai curry with chicken and potato!
Whenever I interview B2B Marketing Thought Leaders, I ask what their favorite curry is. It's become sort of an informal survey.
It started one night with Craig Rosenberg of The Funnelholic as we ate Thai food and imbibed several hoppy beers in San Francisco. As a matter of fact, it was the night before the first Sales 2.0 conference, so maybe it was meant to be.
"So last question...what is your preference, green, red or yellow curry?"
The B2B Thought Leader Interviews & Results:
Craig Rosenberg, The Funnelholic--Green
Mike Damphousse, Green Leads--Green
Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group --Red
Pam O'niel, BreakingPoint--Red
Gerhard Gschwandtner, Selling Power--Yellow
David Thompson, Genius.com--Yellow
Anneke Seley, Phoneworks --other
Joe Galvin, Sirius Decisions--other