Retooling in a sales 2.0 world

This is not your grandfather’s door-to-door sales world, and for many, the days of wooing prospective customers on the golf course or over a fine dining experience are in the past. Sure, there are times when a trip across the country needs to happen to close a deal, but they are less frequent than before. We are now in a savvy sales 2.0 world, where sales reps spend more time in the office, armed with a computer, phone, and internet connection.

On the other side of the transaction is a buyer starting the purchasing process well before they engage with a salesperson. In fact, customers complete nearly 60 percent of a typical purchasing decision before engaging with a sales rep, according to a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board.  With the wealth of content, tools and social perspectives available on the Web, buyers are more well-read and well-informed by the time they enter a seller’s sales cycle. This, in many ways, has changed the role of the salesperson.

But with the legacy systems and processes still in place at many organizations today, the approach sellers take has yet to catch up with the way buyers buy. A good example of this fact, Velocify conducted a series of secret shopper studies in 2011 and found that nearly one-third of all online requests for information were never responded to by sales reps. Recent studies by others have reported similar, if not more alarming results. Shocking? I think most higher-ups at the organizations failing to respond would say yes.

So the way buyers buy has changed, and many sales teams are leaving money on the table. Meanwhile, sales leaders are beginning to think about their 2013 sales forecast and how they are going to meet it.  What many organizations don’t realize is there are new technologies available that help address these challenges. Innovation has recently brought some amazing cloud-based sales automation, telephony, mobile, and social applications together to help organizations ensure leads get a response quickly by arming sales reps with the tools to work successfully in today’s buying environment — connecting and interacting with buyers like never before.

A number of these Sales 2.0 solutions are on display this week at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, CA. Many of the applications and services showcased help marketers and salespeople find and reach buyers in the first 60 percent of the purchase decision process, and other solutions highlighted (like Velocify)  help sales teams respond diligently and maximize performance once a buyer has engaged with the firm. You could argue a new era of CRM is here. For many, it’s time to retool and reload.

Interested in learning from innovative sales leaders and solution providers? Follow the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference chatter via Twitter @ #S20C.

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