Sales 2.0 Conf: Benchmarks of True Sales Effectiveness

The Benchmarks of True Sales Effectiveness
Paul Melchiorre – Global Vice President, Ariba

Ariba was an early leader in the e-business revolution.  With great working products, it survived the tech crash a decade ago, and since thrived.  It is no surprise that today Ariba is a thought leader in Sales 2.0 best practices.

Paul launched his presentation with a Buyer 2.0 profile.  The “new” customer is informed by multiple sources, is empowered through knowledge, has higher demands, and is tech savvy.  It was a subtle reminder from an earlier session the Buyer 2.0 exerts far greater product discrimination and control over the purchase process than 5-7 years ago.

Post-recession, the nature of selling has changed.  Customers now value the sales experience itself over the Company, Product, and ROI.

What Drives Effectiveness in a Sales 2.0 World?

People.  Process.  Technology.   No mystery, that’s been a winning tripod for years.

How sales reps work with the customer has changed.  To me, Paul builds on Solution Selling concepts of exploring pain impacts to the organization.  But it is more.  The Sales 2.0 rep understands the impacts to all stakeholders.  They become the Trusted Advisor, perceived as the Thought Leader.  Sales 2.0 leaders can “visualize the Finished Basement”.

Think about the buyers in the sales process.  The CMO, CIO and CFO have different interests.  Sales 2.0 leaders understands all the stakeholders – their issues, pains, requirements, etc. They engage their customers how they wish to interact, using multiple communications channels.

A well-defined sales process ensures sales effectiveness that is repeatable and extendable to new hires.  Uses common standards to qualify leads and opportunities.  It mitigates risk in the sales cycle.

Help your customers see the “Finished Basement”.  This especially important if you’re selling transformational technology.  Help them see the end result.  Lock in the vision.

Paul underscored the need to have clear visibility across your sales organization.  Starts with training and education.  Every sales operation needs good repeatable process and accurate measurements.  Process, in my experience, is often weakly defined and poorly enforced in most sales environments.  I worked for 2 companies that used well-defined practices and accurate measurements via reporting to evaluate progress towards goals.  One of those companies started with the training foundation, and certified every new sales hire prior to assigning a territory. Ariba does this, too.

Paul listed 4 Principles of Success in training employees:

  1. Have clear objectives
  2. Be concise
  3. Understand your buyers/audience
  4. Speak to that audience

Paul advocated using top sales performers to deliver training. They make the best trainers. Their success and vision may not be passed along through osmosis.  They need to lead and be involved in training and new hire on-boarding initiatives.  Does your company today leverage the top performing sales reps to pass along insight and best practices?

Harness New Tools and Techniques

Best in class companies have changed their selling model to sell to the 2.0 Buyer.  Sales professionals who don’t understand 2.0 are set up for failure.  Even if they hire and employ the very best sales reps in their industry, companies that do not embrace 2.0 Sales will be left behind.  New tools and techniques are required.  If you still follow the same practices today you used 5-7 years ago, it’s time to change.

Knowledge sharing is the cornerstone.  Collaboration and Social Conversations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, video message delivery via YouTube. Sales 1.0 tools like Salesforce remain in use to automate the sales process and provide reporting.  Paul recommended adding social media to your practices, and showed this compelling graphic indicating Sales 2.0 companies increased revenues by 37%:

Ariba’s Social Vision: We will leverage the collective IQ of our 4,500,000 customers. Our solutions are smart. But our customers are even smarter.

Sales 2.0 Conf: 6 Factors Transforming B2B Sales in 2012

6 Factors Transforming B2B Sales in 2012
Donal Daly, CEO TAS Group

Big topic.  Both B2C and B2B consumers have changed how they engage with vendors and buy products.  “B2C behavior is a predictor of B2B behavior.”

Mobile has had a huge impact.  There are only 315.5m people in the US, but there are 327.6m mobile devices.  Between Dec 31st 2011 and Jan 31st 2012, the number of tablets doubled in the world, growth driven by the Apple iPad.

Flash is dead.  Mobile (infrastructure) is the needle, and Social is the thread weaving the tapestry.  Collaboration is key.

Customer Lifetime Value is superseded by Customer Network Value.  In the social network, people give first and obtain what they need later.  People get info in their own time in their own space.  Companies must adapt to how clients want to buy.

TAS Group has a tool providing a sales effectiveness health check, Dealmaker Index.  It ranks opportunities and provides advice to move the deal forward.  One of the main ideas is to ask “If you’re going to lose the deal, what is the #1 reason?”  Donal’s advice is be proactive and address the risk before it happens.

Intelligence only has value with Knowledge, Data, Context, and Reasoning.

Predictive Sales Analytics levers to pull:  # Deals X Value X Win Rate = SALES VELOCITY

|                Prescriptive Analytics
|           Predictive Analytics
|      Situational Analytics
| Data

Sales reps spend 2.5 hours EVERY week working on inaccurate sales forecasts.  Pipelines are padded with false opportunities.  Using principles of Sales Velocity, expose the false opportunities in order to develop accurate forecasts.

The impact on a customer of a bad buying decision is greater than the impact on a sales person of a lost sale.  Create an org chart around the business problem broken into modules.  Your solution will be attached to the affected component(s).  Your interactions become more relevant to the customer.  They make better decisions since problems are often complex and no single solution may meet the entire set of requirements.  The entire solution needs to be modular and integrated to maximize effectiveness.

Donal closed talking about Gamification.  It builds competent, motivated and confident sales teams.  TAS Group suggested building a game around moving sales opportunities forward.  Within the sales funnel, segment by sales stage, and assign red and green color coding to the stages.  In greater context, spiffs, sales contests, etc have limited value.  Gamification of the sales process allows development of Sales Thought Leaders and achievement recognition among peers.  Sales teams gain confidence as skill mastery is attained, and that self assured presence is reflected in all customer facing interactions.