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Friday, July 20, 2007

Sales 2.0- DNA of Competence

Fundamental question: Do you have a Sales 2.0 organization?

Before an organization can begin to answer that question, it's imperative to step back and understand the fundamental drivers of competence in the Sales 2.0 framework.

In technology, there is pressure to commoditize, 'pigeon-hole', and generally equate most solutions to their most common denominator. This reference point sees that all web-conferencing solutions are the same, ditto for CRM, and so on. At to a point, it may be true (what's your elevator story?).

However, I don't believe this to be the case. I believe the fundamental differentiator in the technology space, is vision. True vision means you have a fundamental grasp of the problems faced by your 'consumers' (in this case salespeople), and your solutions to those problems (now and in the future) revolve around under a basic understanding of the salesperson as network element in the sales value chain. Thus, in my estimation, organizations like Webex embody Sales 2.0 DNA. The proof is in action i.e. how they think, react, and behave. Webex responded to my original post within hours. That is a simple, yet powerful example, that somebody is indeed listening, and has their hand on the Sales 2.0 pulse (kudos to Jeff Weinberger @ Webex).

How do we separate the 'real' Sales 2.0 organizations from the pack?

1. Partnerships- I'll be looking closely at partnership announcements. I believe companies with the right DNA will make their partner choice strategically. There may be heavy inertia, or pressure to partner with a market incumbent, who by virtue of size alone commands attention. I believe this is a fallacy as there are better options available, technologically, but more fundamentally, in terms of DNA.

2. Vertical Integration- why partner when we can build it here! This is an another early warning signal. I think the Microsoft model of a vertically integrated solution is quite Soviet. A 'closed' environment (not in terms of code but people) clearly limits your n size for innovation. Find the best solution, where ever it is, and bring it to the market together. Your best ideas may come from that the little startup with the right DNA.

3. Adoption- the holy grail of technology. I would love to see data on how many users do not renew their SaaS subscriptions (known in the industry as 'churn rate'). Would anyone like to step to plate? How about the early poster-child for SaaS, salesforce.com? Come on, just a quick peek at churn rates stratified on number of licenses! In the end, the market speaks with its wallet, and as we've seen the right DNA is listening to the market.

Like I said this will be really interesting space to monitor leading up the Sales 2.0 conference in October. Happy Selling!

-- kh // 4:38 AM //


First, thank you for your compliments. Here at WebEx we live and breath Sales 2.0 everyday. We've not only built a Sales 2.0 organization from the ground up, but we're in the business of helping our customers realize the breakthrough opportunity inherent in Sales 2.0 and leave their competition in the dust.

I think you have it right when you talk about "having a fundamental grasp of the problems faced by your [customers]." In fact, this is where technology companies can make or break themselves.

Keeping in mind that it's not about the technology, but about how you help your customer do something that is critical to their job is what makes a true 2.0 company successful. Web 2.0 is about collaboration and community, which are things people do naturally without technology,and do better and more far-reaching with technology.

Sales 2.0 is only in its infancy, but the companies that are adopting it are pulling ahead of the competition quickly. As we get the leverage and reach applied to sales that we've already applied to collaboration and community, we will see some amazing things happen.

I'll be looking forward to continuing the conversation, and seeing you at the conference!
// Jeff Weinberger // 11:19 PM

You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about old media- great. "Disruption" , "2.0" and "Edge" are getting old as well. I LOVE your blog and have even spoken to you on the phone. WHAT are you thinking next? What is the war of 2010 going to look like?

I am actually IN a position to disrupt and push the limits. You are getting away from your initial "ahead of the curve without a net" posts and papers that brought me to you.

You are bright and bold, but I feel like you are losing your balls for predictions (right or wrong).

Again, I am a religious follower (don't always agree- but respect), but why don't YOU push it to the edge instead of reacting to others?

It set you apart.
// The RB // 7:50 AM
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