By Sramana Mitra and guest author Sudhindra Chada
SM: With that context, define sales 2.0 for me. There are a lot of definitions floating around; what is yours?
DF: I honestly don’t have a definition. I have been in sales and marketing in the software industry for thirty years, and I believe if you lined up ten VPs of sales, you would get ten different definitions. My view of sales 2.0 – I think a friend who is the editor for Selling Power magazine, Gerhard Gschwandtner, is in agreement with this – I think it is marketing and sales 2.0. It is intersecting the sales and marketing processes embellished by a number of different technologies. It is where sales and marketing processes intersect with newer technologies, a lot of which are SaaS based.
SM: Let me throw back something at you and get your reaction. We came from an age where a sales person was very much a Rolodex-oriented person. If that sales person walked out, the Rolodex walked out with him or her. For the past ten to fifteen years that has shifted with the advent of CRM systems and salesforce automation. There is more of a Rolodex within the company, although there is a question mark about what happens to the relationships.
DF: Very much so.
SM: The second thing I notice is, there is more of a process of lead generation and lead qualification in what you just mentioned, sales and marketing fusing and becoming more efficient.
DF: As a component of that, yes.
SM: Tell me more about what your thoughts about what is changing on that front.
DF: So, it is similar to the way you presented it; I will present it just a little differently. In the years past, if people were interested in your company’s products, they would call that company on phone and tell the receptionist, I would like to find out more about your products and services. People would then be transferred to the sales department, which would control the flow of information to the customer. Now, fast forward to the present, we have the Internet. People don’t call and ask to talk to a sales person. They can go on the Internet and find all about your products, customers, pricing, and competitors. They can go to webinars and get white papers, and by the time they have made a decision to buy something or at least explore it ,when the sales person walks into the room, the committee may know much more about the product than even the sales person. So the world has changed from sales people controlling a sales process to a world where sales people are facilitating, which is different from controlling, the buying process. The buyer is in control of the process.
Now, getting back to the sales 2.0; in 2010 I see it happen on a quarterly basis, not even annually any more, the speed of change, sales people are being relegated to irrelevancy in their ability to build a pipeline. There is all the communication media that are available to sales people are live. A phone, a face-to-face contact, there are all kinds of filters and screenings. People do not have the time to answer the telemarketers calling them and saying, buy my stuff. So, while sales people and the marketing people have always been at odds with each other – many books and blogs have been written for sales and marketing people on how to work together and be productive – the need to do that, to work together, is becoming paramount in a company’s success. Sales and marketing really really need to work together now because without marketing, sales is dead. Sales is being pushed down in the buying process and marketing is picking up more of the responsibility to get information and start the conversation with the prospects about products and services. It’s an entirely different world of lead generation, nurturing, and scoring. In our own world, we touch a prospect seven to nine times before they raise their hands and say, I would like to talk to a sales person.