This one is going to sting a little. Actually, a lot.
Today I had a telephone conversation with Jeb Brooks of The Brooks Group. Our conversation turned to Sales 2.0 and whether or not those who believe that Sales 1.0 is going to be replaced by Sales 2.0 are indeed correct.
Our conversation was brought about by my keeping this blog and through communicating over Twitter. Even though there is no financial arrangement between us, I am not his customer or prospect, and he is not my customer or prospect, we might be able to help each other in the future. Our relationship was started through these technologies.
In fact, last week I made a trip to Atlanta where I had dinner with Todd Youngblood (sales consultant and frequent contributor here), Stone Payton, and Todd Schnick. Earlier in the same day, I was on a radio program with Dan Waldschmidt with Trey Pennington, Brett Arp, and Jay Handler. I only know these people through social media marketing, our blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.
And this is what makes social media and Sales 2.0 tools so valuable: relationships! But Sales 2.0 isn’t a replacement for Sales 1.0; it is an enabler.
Jeb told me about his experience at the Sales 2.0 conference. Some people there suggested that Sales 1.0 will no longer exist because of Sales 2.0, and that salespeople will no longer be either necessary or effective.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing. Period.
Sales 2.0 will never, never, never, ever replace Sales 1.0. Those that suggest this to be true are either selling Sales 2.0 solutions (perhaps moving away from setting expectations a little too ambitiously and closing in on Pinocchio), or they are delusional.
What Sales 2.0 Cannot Replace
Sales 2.0 is a set of tools, tactics and strategies that may allow for some successful lead generation. But, as effective as inbound marketing may be, it will never replace the outcome an effective salesperson can generate by simply picking up the phone and calling their dream client.
Before you cry foul, think about it. You really want this dream client. You can hope they find you on the Internet, or you can pick up the phone, dial them, ask them to tell you how you can create value for them, and schedule an appointment. That sounds like cold calling, doesn’t it? It is . . . waiting is not, was not, and never will be an effective activity.
You know how I feel about trigger events.
Sales 2.0 may develop a lead, but what happens to that lead still depends on what is done with it once it is obtained. Those who believe their business can survive and thrive with salespeople who cannot generate interest and obtain commitments using Sales 1.0 techniques is, quite simply, wrong. It is dangerous and it borders on criminal.
The fact that Sales 2.0 may generate a lead or enable a conversation does nothing to improve the salesperson’s ability to differentiate their offering in a crowded marketplace, to diagnose the ground truth of the lead’s organization, to develop and understand the needs of the members of its 14 person buying committee, to develop the dissatisfaction necessary to create the rationale and the motivation for buying, to present the story of a better future together, to manage a complex change effort, to handle a major crisis when a deal goes south, to exercise the leadership to manage the delivery of what was promised, and to manage the outcomes.
This is to say nothing of the attribute that I recognize as being the real defining differentiator: business acumen.
Sales is about outcomes, plain and simple. Sales 2.0 does nothing to change any of this.
Yes, I Love Sales 2.0 (But Make Mine a 3.0)
But Sales 2.0, despite the fact that it requires well-thought tactics and strategies, is still a series of tools. These tools are enablers.
There is no effective Sales 2.0 without an effective Sales 1.0. These are not mutually exclusive: Sales 1.0 + Sales 2.0 = Sales 3.0!
Ignore the technological disruption of Sales 2.0 at your peril. These tools are the new normal. If you are an old sales professional, suck it up and learn to live on the Internet. Learn to use the tools. Your age does not give you permission to avoid learning how to communicate with your dream clients using the new technological enablers.
But ignore Sales 1.0 at a much greater, and a much more certain peril. If you are a sales professional growing up with these tools, don’t believe for a second that you can be soft, that you don’t have to sound like a salesperson, that your job isn’t about obtaining commitments, or that you don’t have to learn to sell.
Jeb asked me whether I would choose a Sales 1.0 approach, with none of the existing tools, or a Sales 2.0 approach, with only the tools and not the attributes and skills that I have written about here and here. As long as I could keep the greatest technological revolution in B2B sales, the telephone, I will take a strong Sales 1.0 approach every time.
For my money, nothing has a greater impact on a deal than the salesperson. With or without Sales 2.0.
Sales 2.0 is a set of important tools, tactics, and strategies. But these tools do nothing to help a salesperson or a sales organization that isn’t already well-equipped with the skills and attributes that make up Sales 1.0.
- Do you believe that technological tools can replace the attributes and skills of a professional salesperson?
- Do rely on the tools as a crutch because you haven’t developed the skills and attributes of a sales professional?
- How can you use the Sales 2.0 tools to improve your effectiveness with Sales 1.0, instead of trying to replace them?
- Are salespeople who cannot create value worth your time regardless of their tools or approach?
For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.
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