I attended two fantastic sessions at the Sales 2.0 Conference on Tuesday, the first was the Sales 2.0 Training panel discussion and the second was the Social Networking & Sales presentation.
I went to the Sales 2.0 Training session prepared to hear about how sales training will go extinct in this virtual and social era but was pleasantly surprised with the discussion. Sharon Little, Director of Global Field Communications for vmware shared how she addresses training from a Sales 2.0 perspective. She explained how customers are different, salespeople have more tools, they must upgrade their skills and sell in a fragile economy. She shared that large global sales kick-offs with her company are no longer feasible not only because of our economy but also because it is difficult to get everyone in one place. Instead her company conducts Quarterly Business Reviews by region. She also presented a wholistic approach to training and believes training must be aligned with the way salespeople want to learn. There must be a good assortment of video content, audio content, information that is easily digested and delivered just in time.
When asked how she measured training ROI, she said “it’s hard to measure something that is so subjective…it’s not black and white like measuring leads..you need to measure it on a gut level.” This is an answer from someone who watches, listens and pays attention to her sales organization- I appreciate her insight on this.
Then Gerhard asked the audience the big question: “Is selling a science or an art and what is the percentage?” Many answers and opinions came out of this but my favorite was: the part of selling that is a science is when you provide tools, processes, methodologies, systems to do the job. The part that is an art is the skill development, the sales instinct and the managers who coach and mentor their teams. Success in sales requires 50/50 strength in both these areas.
The next session was a presentation by a little fireball, Clara Shih, Author of The Facebook Era– very brilliant social media expert. I was interested in what she had to say because I’ve been super lazy in building my Facebook profile. Something had to give on the social networking front and this just fell off the radar. After Clara’s insightful and thought provoking talk- I’m going back. In terms of sales prospecting, Clara made a good point that as the price of the sale goes up, the more we should invest in personal relationships with our prospects and clients. That means when you are trying to contact someone and notice their son just had a birthday or they just won a marathon, to include that in your introduction.
Most decisions will be made through crowdsourcing which means one person asks the question and a lot of people jump in. This happened recently when a prospective client posted a question on LinkedIn about the best Inside Sales Vendors out there. It was amazing how many responses he received and although we had a proposal he was considering, he preferred to crowdsource his request and it confirmed we were a major player in the space.
I’m always fascinated with the level of influence someone has and we will all have a Social CLV tag next to us that defines our level of influence and our ability to make something happen. It includes:
- The number of word of mouth referrals they can generate
- The customer support cost savings
- Sales resulting from and idea/contribution