Thursday, February 11, 2010

What the Heck is Sales 2.0 and Why you Should Care

I found this blog online today at Hubspot although it was written by Nigel Edelshain and edited by me. It speaks to exactly what we help our clients with!

I've got three young kids. My youngest is very little. I've noticed that when my kids go on play dates, they spend the first several minutes sizing up "the opposition" before they dive into play. Once they get going on the play portion of the event, they never look back. In fact, it's usually hard for them to hear me at all, which presents particular problems when it's time to leave.
Right now the inbound marketing movement and the Sales 2.0 movement are around 3 to 4 years old, and I believe we're sizing each other up rather like my kids, deciding whether it's OK to play together.
My prediction is we're about to get on like a "house on fire" and not want to go home. To me, inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 are natural playmates.

So what the heck is Sales 2.0 anyway?
Sales 2.0 is about sales people using Web 2.0 tools and social media to sell more effectively.
The inbound marketing movement has realized that traditional "interruption based" marketing is becoming less-and-less effective and that era is coming to an end. Similarly the Sales 2.0 movement has realized that "interruption based" selling is becoming less effective (particularly volume cold calling) and that era is coming to end too. (We sales people are slower to learn than marketers, as most innovation in the sales profession took place in the 1890's. So that era is certainly due to end.)

I have to admit I'm an inbound marketing "fan." But there are cases where inbound marketing is not enough on its own. In these cases, Sales 2.0 is going to be essential to small business owners and marketers. Some cases:
1. Target Accounts: If your business is about selling something expensive, you often have a finite target account list. Depending on how specialized the thing is you sell (usually equated with how expensive it is), then there may only be between a few hundred and a few dozen companies that want it and can afford it. In this scenario, you need a proactive approach to selling. Inbound marketing alone is not going to be enough.
I always imagine a sales rep in this scenario whose boss comes to him and says "how are we getting on penetrating GE" and the rep who loves inbound marketing too much says "we're waiting for them to hit our website and download a white paper".
2. After Inbound: So what happens after someone does download that white paper from your website (after they've been magnetically attracted by your inbound marketing)? You get in touch with them, right? If they fill in the right values in your Web forms, you get in touch with them fast. You may even call them.
When you call, you are suddenly in "outbound land." Sure, you have a bit more permission since the person hit your site and filled out a form, but usually you still have a lot of selling to do. So being smart about selling is still going to critical, otherwise you are going to blow your hard earned inbound lead with some ineffective "Sales 1.0" sales techniques.
3. Further down the Funnel: Whichever way the lead gets to you, sooner or later it's going to be the sales team's ball. There's a whole bunch of tools now that can make sales people smarter in the ways they progress deals to closure. All these tools fall under the Sales 2.0 mantel...but I'm not going to talk about them on this post.
I believe inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 are natural playmates. Inbound marketing has been conceived by marketers for marketers. Sales 2.0 has been conceived by sales people for sales people. Both have been catalyzed by the Internet and all the changes it has brought about in buyer behavior.
With a bit of luck, inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 together may even fix the infamous divide between marketing and sales departments. If that happens, we will truly never "want to go home".

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