Start with Sales 2.0 and improve your business results
Geplaatst op 31 oktober 2016 door Ronald Swensson

Driven by an explosion of new web applications and changing customer buying preferences, Sales 2.0 is finally starting to wake up to reality - Nigel Edelshain created the concept already in 2006 (..) What is sales 2.0 and is there a sales 1.0? If so, what is the difference? And is one more effective or efficient than the other? And how to start with Sales 2.0? 

The increase of web technology has changed the way many (not all) of us connect, engage and interact with a clear impact on information sharing, collaboration, and commerce. The buzzword ‘Sales 2.0’ generally refers to the use of that technology in the context of selling goods and services and ‘Sales 1.0’, another buzzword, refers to the use of more ‘traditional’ methods in Sales. 

I will come straight to the point; it is not accurate to say - like many do - that Sales 2.0 is more effective or efficient than Sales 1.0. For example, if I sell building heating systems and I want an appointment with a prospect who is planning a new head office nearby, in Sales 2.0 I have to wait till he is downloading our whitepaper on Heat Building Solutions, in Sales 1.0 I make a cold call ;-) But, we all have realized that traditional ‘interruption based’ marketing has become less-and-less effective. Likewise, we are learning that ‘interruption based’ selling has become less effective. Buyers are beginning to live online and they are the ones in control of your sales cycle. They have, in essence, taken control of the purchase process. 

Today’s digital environment has given your customers a new way to buy. They’re armed with ammunition from Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, the websites of you and your competitors and a multitude of other online resources. A shift has developed between the buyer and seller creating the movement from Sales 1.0 to Sales 2.0. Research from Google and CEB titled The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing provides new insight into buyer behavior. Customers reported to being nearly 60 percent through the sales process before engaging a sales rep, regardless of price point. So 60 percent of the sales process just disappeared! 

What are B2B buyers doing before talking to sales? They are surfing corporate websites to identify and qualify vendors. They are engaging peers in social media to learn more about potential solutions and providers. And they are reading, listening to and watching free digital content that is available to them at the click of a mouse. So the sales team is no longer the sole source or gatekeeper of information. 

Moving an organization from a Sales 1.0 culture to a Sales 2.0 culture is not for the faint of heart...it goes far beyond implementing new technology. It involves the whole organization embracing the paradigm shift to the new digital reality, where the customer now holds the power in the buy/sell relationship. But… companies who are building a Sales 2.0 culture will experience that they close more deals, close deals faster with less cost of sale, know what is coming down the pipeline, generate more revenue at lower costs and create and sustain a higher level of customer loyalty. So start changing now! 

How to start? 
Higher search rankings: Be more active or pay Google ;-) Optimize your website, produce excellent linkable and shareable content and keep user experience in mind so that it ranks higher in Google's search engine. 
Social networking: In the past, salespeople found it difficult to locate the appropriate contact at a target company. But many now use LinkedIn to find the right people to talk and also many companies have their own LinkedIn page. 
Sales leads: According to industry research, one-third of all salespeople are still stuck in the Sales 1.0 model and cold calling hard to generate leads. Smart companies nurture prospects. How? Contact my smart friends at Klantenfabriek, they know how. 
Webinars, blogs and whitepapers: By hosting web events, write blogs or provide downloadable and shareable whitepapers, sales and marketing professionals reach many more prospects at a fraction of the cost. 
Live collaboration: Technologies such as Cisco WebEx, Adobe Connect, Idiligo and even Skype and Google+ Hangouts, allow sales reps to make engaging, interactive sales presentations over the Internet, rather than traveling long distances for face-to-face meetings. By cutting out travel time and expense, sales reps boost productivity and greatly lower selling costs. 
Personalized contact and tracking: Web 2.0 revolutionized lead generation. Sales 2.0 tools such as Genius, Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot and SharpSpring personalize direct-contact e-mails and let reps know how individual prospects respond - whether they opened the e-mail, clicked to the website, or visited certain web pages. Instead of calling every prospect after a targeted e-mail blast, reps will call only those prospects that have read their e-mail, visited their website, or downloaded their whitepaper. That’s a huge time savings. A range of other tools - such as Oracle Eloqua, Vertical Response and Get Response - also produce higher-quality leads through targeted e-marketing campaigns. These technologies create tighter integration between sales and marketing teams. 
More intelligent CRM: Organizations can incorporate many of the Sales 2.0 tools and applications with on-demand CRM systems such as Salesforce, Pipedrive and Infusionsoft. Marketing and prospect data can be smoothly imported, making CRM more powerful and indispensable than ever.
Management analytics: Tools such as Qlik, Geckoboard or Klipfolio allow sales managers to create meaningful dashboards that help them diagnose sales performance issues before they turn into real problems. 

Conclusion 
Sales 2.0 enabled businesses leverage technology to connect with prospects and enhance relationships, thereby increasing sales and profits and distancing themselves from their competition. The new world of Sales 2.0 offers greater opportunities to the technology-savvy sales executive, where cold calls are a thing mostly of the past. Now, salespeople pursue real opportunities and connect with prospects faster - co-creating more integrated, value-driven solutions - and the sales process is a mirror image of the buying process. But… never forget that selling has always been about relationships. The adage ‘nothing takes the place of face-to-face contact’ will still survive and sales people still need skills to successful cold call that company that is planning a new head office nearby!