Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sales 2.0

Sales 1.0 is dead. Edge incompetencies thrive in this most mission-critical of all business processes, in fact you would be hard pressed to find another aspect of the modern corporation that further exemplifies the inconsistency and lack of congruence that seem to thrive in the sales arena- no other field that has suffered more at the hands of gurus, obtuse technology, and lack of processes.

What's the difference between Sales 1.0 vs. Sales 2.0?

Sales 1.0 focused on individual salespeople as the conduit for sales or generating business. In the Sales 1.0 view, core competencies lied within the organization in terms of product, engineering and marketing expertise- it was incumbent upon the salesperson to extract that expertise (somehow) and deliver it to the customer. This was meant to happen while a salesperson was responsible for following up on leads, finding new customers, meeting sales targets, participating in weekly pipeline calls, creating quotes, giving demos, managing existing customer relationships, troubleshooting new installs, answering the sales manager's questions (what's going to close this quarter?), and of course closing deals. Sounds like a pretty difficult job- it was and it is. Surprised that many sales organizations have high turnover rates? Didn't think so.

Steps taken to empower the salesperson were actually ill-suited to the needs of the saleperson (who need access to competence, tactical intervention, and just-in-time expertise) and conversely (and rather ridiculously) imposed significant nuisance costs and time sanctions. A prime case in point are CRM systems which were meant to 'revolutionize' sales teams. CRM systems, such as (essentially Siebel delivered via SaaS), are great for executive management. Using them, the corner office could look past a spreadsheet and see fancy reports on the existing pipeline! Progress? I don't think so. The fact remains that CRM systems, because of their high nuisance costs such as data entry, extract information from sales reps (i.e. tell us what you're selling to who) without providing them with any value-add beyond a glorified database to store contact information. So what is the salesperson left with in Sales 1.0 + CRM mindset? Not much, asides from 2 hours of data entry so the 'system' is updated. Like I said edge incompetence at it's best.

Sales 2.0 embraces the entire value chain of which the salesperson is one component (albeit a very important component). The key to Sales 2.0 is providing synchronicity between the selling process and buying process (how sellers sell and how buyers buy have traditionally be radically disconnected) this, by its very definition, requires leveraging all aspects of the value chain, especially edge competencies.

Organizations as buyers have become tremendously savvy and, with the web, want to purchase on their terms, not artificial time-lines, golf outings, and 'dealing' associated with Sales 1.0. The modern buyer is always online but never available so it's incumbent on sales organizations to gain better congruence with how their customers consume content, gain information, and ultimately make decisions-via the web. Thus the salesperson needs to be enabled at the edge, essentially Sales 2.0 means understanding of how to sell to highly savvy buyers utilizing an interactive, collaoborative, and sophisticated selling structure.

The key to Sales 2.0 will be offerings that enable greater synchronization between buying and selling. The salesperson needs to be a connected network element who can easily navigate the Sales 2.0 selling/buying environment. Webex (even post-Cisco acquisition) largely defined the distance selling value proposition and has completely optimized its offering to enable Sales 2.0 selling. Also, sales has been greatly susceptible to 'maverick' sales processes- a fundamentally Sales 1.0 mindset. Today's selling environment requires a coherent, well defined, repeatable sales process that is easily followed (after all it takes time for competence to truly migrate to the edge). A great example of enabling the value chain at the edge is Landslide, an software + service offering that outlines your selling process and provides value-add services such as document exchange and data entry- completely eliminating traditional CRM nuisance costs. So with Sales 2.0, salespeople can leverage organizational best practices, leverage experts just in time, and sell to sophisticated buyers- great outcomes that are earned once competencies truly migrate to the edge.

In October there will be a Sales 2.0 conference in San Francisco, it'll be interesting to see how this space evolves in real-time. Till then Happy Selling!

-- kh // 6:45 AM // 2 comments


Good article but pretty vague in detail. Maybe giving details on how each industry will specifically deal with sales 2.0 would be helpful.

I do like the event coming up in San Francisco though come this fall. I will make a strong point to getting to this event.

Look forward to your future writings.
// Blogger Jeremy // 9:11 PM

Sorry- that was meant for Umair...
// Anonymous The RB // 7:52 AM

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