Have you heard of ”Sales 2.0?” These days it’s almost a movement – there’s a conference, websites, books, and many, many more effective and efficient sales organizations as a result. A few years ago, I was fortunate to meet and work with Anneke Seley, co-author of the book on Sales 2.0. Anneke was the twelfth employee at Oracle and the designer of OracleDirect, the company’s revolutionary inside sales operation. She is currently the CEO and founder of Phone Works, a sales strategy and implementation consultancy. I sat down with Anneke to catch up with her on Sales 2.0 and its intersection with the shift to cloud computing.
What is Sales 2.0?
Anneke Seley: My simplified definition of Sales 2.0 is: a more efficient and effective way of selling for both the buyer and the seller, enabled by technology. Sales 2.0 is an improvement in both the art of selling – strengthening connections and relationships by making conversations more personal, timely and relevant – as well as the science – improving sales processes to better fit the way our buyers buy and using metrics and analytics to better understand, predict and drive business results.
When will the “2.0” no longer be necessary and this simply becomes “sales?”
Anneke Seley: My belief is that sales – and other business processes – can always be improved, so companies never actually achieve a perfect “2.0” state. “2.0” has entered into our vernacular to suggest an evolved version of the traditional, or “1.0.” From what I’m seeing in the market, there are still a lot of companies and organizations that are moving from 1.0 to 2.0 in their sales, marketing, service and other “customer-facing” functions.
What applications would you consider to be Sales 2.0?
Anneke Seley: Applications that help accelerate, measure or predict the sales cycle, increase sales productivity, or provide information, context and intelligence to improve relationships and conversations with clients.
How is the shift to cloud computing related to Sales 2.0?
Anneke Seley: Many companies that are accepting and adopting cloud technologies – as well as delivering their products via a flexible service-based model, are also embracing the new culture of Sales 2.0. The factors that are driving companies to cloud computing are similar to the factors driving Sales 2.0:
- Changes in buyer preferences
- Shift in control from sellers to buyers
- Rising costs
Most of our clients at Phone Works that are implementing Sales 2.0 practices, including Informatica, Citrix Online and NetApp as well as many startups, use cloud-based CRM and complementary, integrated sales and marketing productivity applications.
Is there a relationship between data integration and Sales 2.0?
Anneke Seley: Data gives sales people relevant knowledge to bring into conversations with clients and prospects. When that data is in disparate places that reps have to access separately, that lengthens the sales cycle and decreases sales productivity. Data integration is as critical as having the right metrics in the Sales 2.0 world.
So how do organizations get started?
Anneke Seley: For established businesses transforming sales, start small. Do a pilot program or proof of concept before changing your whole sales organization. Sales teams as large as IBM have started with groups as small as six sellers to pilot new initiatives before rolling them out globally. We’ve also worked with much smaller companies. For both startups and established businesses, set specific and measurable goals. Measure before and after results.
What’s next for Anneke Seley?
Anneke Seley: My goal is to find more time to write, speak, read, learn and think about the future of buying and selling. I’m also pursuing opportunities to inform and advise companies – particularly those in clean energy, education and healthcare – about innovative sales strategies. With the strength of the Phone Works consulting team behind me to implement those strategies, we have a chance to make the world a better place for buyers while improving the success of an increasing number of small and large companies.