By Alen Majer
Web 2.0 enables Sales
2.0 and many sales people can take customer communications into
their own hands and to an entirely new level. Sales reps have more
control over the tools that they use, and they can be always on,
answering to customers questions in the matter of minutes and not
hours or days.
Let’s take a look at what has recently happened
to the salespeople in a company that has a fine record of few
product and sales mistakes - Proctor & Gamble. Proctor & Gamble
manufactures a product called SK II and it was offered by its sales
force to the world market. In one country there were complaints that
the product when applied to the skin for the use of moistening the
skin caused skin rashes.
How did the word get around? The internet. The
Blogs with comments read by thousands of current and prospective
customers. The company withdrew the product from the market, but not
until consumer trust had been badly damaged. Like luck, the freedom
of the World Wide Web can work in two opposite ways for a business
and for sales.
Everyone is talking about the Web 2.0 as a second
generation of web-based communities and services, such as social
networking sites that facilitate collaboration and sharing between
users. The phrase Web 2.0 may hint at an improved form of the World
Wide Web. Advocates of the concept suggest those technologies such
as blogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds (and other
forms of many-to-many publishing), social software, and online Web
services imply a significant change in web usage.
I firmly believe that is time to start talking
about Sales 2.0. Certainly there are many areas that sales people
are affected with the new technology, pushing them to be more
pro-active and having more control over the tools they are using.
To give a few examples: communications with the
customers are affected with Sales 2.0 because many of your
customers’ executives are having their own Blogs; emails are taking
over the communication to a different level, many sales reps are
always available due to the technology of Blackberry phones of the
world, and especially internet makes it possible to do something
that even decade ago was impossible – research companies before you
contact them with the help of RSS feeds, online business
directories, news alerts from search engines, etc.
And if technology has changed, markets are also
changing by the same speed: one of the basic rules of capitalism is
that in capitalism business collapses if it does not adapt to the
situation on the market. Collapse of the businesses ironically
benefits the system because it makes a space on the market for fresh
ideas and new, better, and improved products.
Even a business collapse today can be a sales
opportunity as pointed out above. There are over 3000 important
cases in bankruptcy court in the U.S. at any one time these days.
One of the chief examples is the airlines.
In over half of the cases the companies process
through bankruptcy and reorganize successfully, becoming new
customer for a variety of salespeople. It can be a huge untapped
sales market, and by recognizing trigger events you can open a whole
new market space for you.
Even the tragic case of Enron where fraud ruled
the roost; they have turned around and with one of their energy
company’s regained health again: new products, new services needed
and new sales.
A lot of “motivational” preaching books have it
backwards that urge salespeople to simply swim against the current.
And it looks as if that’s what winners are doing. But winners have
identified the future direction of the river current and swim
vigorously in that direction.
With trigger events you will learn in which
direction are your customers swimming, and nothing else is needed
from you but to join them.
We sales people are in the
business of asking our clients to make a major change. If we are
unwilling to change ourselves, how can we ask our prospects to?
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about Alen Majer.
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