Selling Power magazine recently interviewed dozens of industry experts in an effort to define "Sales 2.0". Here's what they came up with: "Sales 2.0 brings together customer-focused methodologies and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science. Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance."
At a high level, this definition captures the Sales 2.0 concept well. Let's break it down a little further:
- First you must recognize not all prospects will be sales ready so your messaging and content must address prospects in all phases of your buying cycle. - Then you need strong technology - CRM and marketing automation for inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. - Finally: Your sales process must honor the way your prospects want to buy. They will be using the web, search engines, and web sites to learn about you long before you know they are shopping.
For a practical understanding of the Sales 2.0 process, let's take a look at a real life situation. The following is how we generated a lead for an SEI client. . The client sold CIO advisory services and technology consulting to a few verticals. Here is the entire Sales 2.0 lead generation cycle.
1. We first became aware of the client when they responded to a thought leadership event. The prospect was then automatically enrolled in a nurturing campaign. 2. Over the next several months, the nurture campaign reached out the prospect a few times with additional thought leadership and value add content. The prospect responded to some of this content and visited the client's web site. 3. Our marketing automation technology was recognizing the prospect's digital behavior and creating a lead score. After about 4 months of high level nurturing this prospect reached a trigger point where they were sent our Sales Avatar. This is a 5-6 minute full value proposition web video we produce for clients as part of our campaigns. 4. About 2 weeks later an inside sales rep connected with the prospect on the phone but after a friendly exchange, the prospect still was not ready to see a Rep. 5. The prospect was then enrolled in an additional 1:1 nurture marketing cycle. 6. Two additional months of nurturing was performed with the client still reacting to some of the content. 7. Another follow up call to the prospect by the inside sales rep yielded better results. The prospect was now ready to see an outside sale rep and an appointment was set.
This lead was nurtured over a period of about 7 months. Both inbound and outbound marketing campaigns were used.
Here are the key takeaways:
- The prospect probably would not have known of our clients' services without the campaigns. The sales cycle could have easily occurred without their knowledge. - Prospects buy at their own pace. Pounding them with "buy now" messages will only alienate. Your job is to educate and engage until they are ready. - Lead scoring allows you to recognize and react to digital behavior. - The value of effective marketing automation is clear. Sales reps had a very difficult time executing this kind of an approach in the old world. Today, we want our reps focused on the "now" deal while this nurturing is done for them.
For the vast majority of B2B sellers, Sales 2.0 is longer an option to be considered. Buyers have adjusted their behavior and we must adjust also. The risk of missed opportunities is simply too great.