After Oracle, Anneke started telesales at a company called Neuron Data. For people who do not recognize it, they were in the Expert Systems area, so when people say you cannot sell complex technology over the phone, she points to Neuron Data and says “if you can sell expert systems without a field sales visit, you can sell anything”. Neuron Date did a third of the revenues via Telesales. After that, she started her consulting company, Phone Works.
SM: What was the philosophy of Phone Works when you put it together?
AS: The philosophy of Phone Works was, essentially, to teach people internally how to build a sales process and look at their sales strategy and apply appropriate sales behaviors. I talk about people, process and technology a lot. It is important for companies to understand what fits their market, what fits their customers, and what fits their products best.
SM: I want to spend a lot of time talking about methodology and the thought leadership you have provided to the industry for the past 12 years. To start, however, how would you describe Sales 2.0? It’s a buzz word that’s been floating around lately …
AS: It is an emerging marketing term following on the popularity of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, and Community 2.0. These days everything has a version 2.0, and I have heard there is 3.0 and 4.0 emerging now. Sales 2.0 is a buzz word for innovative sales techniques which is driven by web 2.0 technologies. The people who are starting to define it, and it is still being defined today, are talking about technology and the ever changing buying preferences on the part of the customer. The customer is educating him or herself through communities, through blogs and through websites, and not just going to a vendor for information. We are talking a lot about measurable sales process, and having visibility into what is going on.
SM: But Anneke, successful companies have always worried about measurable sales processes. That’s not Sales 2.0, that should be Sales 101.
AS: Yes, but it has become a lot more popular with the advent of on-demand licensing models, as well as with the increase in initiatives to get into small businesses. Of course there are a lot of large companies which have been using some of these innovative techniques for 10, sometimes 20, years now. It is increasingly accepted, and there is a very large cultural and people component to the willingness to try new things in sales.
For many years, people thought of sales as sort of a magical thing; I have a sales rep and he has a superman cape – he goes out there and he knows everybody in the field …
SM: It is all about the Rolodex and not the process.
AS: Exactly! There was not a lot of measurement and accountability because you had the magical superman in the field.