Our plan was to extract as many sales predictions from the posse of top sales gurus during the Top Sales Awards ceremony last week, and we did precisely that. You can see them here on Gerhard's blog: Top Sales Gurus Predict Emerging Trends for 2011
However, I did suggest that there were/are a number of other questions which I have been asked on numerous occasions recently.
★ When will Sales 3.0 arrive?
★ How many of your customers and prospects use Twitter?
★ Will marketing ever marry sales?
★ If 80% of Twitter users are merely"voyeurs" what are they drooling over?
★ LinkedIn groups - does size really matter? What % of group members actually contributes anything?
★ Can blogs survive another 12 months?
★ Do sales tools really make a difference? Or can we survive with Outlook and a simple CRM solution?
★ Skills development is going totally online - fact or fiction?
★ Is selling going "indoors?"
★ Will we need salespeople in five years time?
★ Why did 50% of salespeople miss quota in 2010? Will it be 60% next year?
So let's have a go at tackling them this week shall we?
When will Sales 3.0 arrive? The reality is that with so many people still struggling to define Sales 2.0, will anyone have the courage to stand up and announce both the arrival and the definition of Sales 3.0? Will the Sales 2.0 crowd suddenly announce that the clock has moved forward?
I fully anticipate that 3.0 will mean far greater focus on customer's needs and wants - seeing not the selling cycle, but the buying cycle through the customer's eyes. This is not new thinking, many sales experts have been discussing this for months, but the thought that customers might just have their own agendas still continues to be ignored by at least 80% of the sales population - they will catch up eventually.
If 2010 was the year when lead generation companies, experts, and software dominated the sales space, 2011 will be the year of "customer focus" and "customer retention" Instead of a frenzied drive to continually seek new opportunities, the smartest front-line sales professionals will identify ways to strengthen and develop existing relationships.
It is now a fact that it costs FIFTEEN times more to locate, qualify, and close a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one - I have quoted that statistic on numerous occasions - isn't that ample justification to re-focus?
The difficulty is of course that the majority of salespeople do not possess relationship building skills - they lack both the commercial bandwidth and the "social" skills to engage with senior decision makers, particularly C-Level players, and retain their attention.
What's the answer? Later this week, I'll be examining the reasons why so many sales professionals missed quota this year. I'll also identify what the new breed of salesperson will look like in five year's time, and why, in my opinion, at least 50% of sales jobs will disappear - do try and join me.
But back to today's question: Sales 3.0 has already arrived and its principles are already being practiced by the "Top 5% Players" - in fact they adopted it month's ago. In 2011, let's hope more of the other 95% catches up.
I leave you with this thought. Customers are more easily persuaded when they are part of the process and not part of the audience!
Tomorrow: How many of your customers and prospects use Twitter?