Last night we hosted our traditional Speaker’s Dinner at the Boston Renaissance Hotel. In attendance were 13 sales leaders who will be speaking today at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston.
Conference host Gerhard Gschwandtner kicked things off by asking about everyone’s favorite applications, and what category of application most interested them.
Even more interesting than the list of applications was the lively debate about technology versus the “art” of selling (including training and coaching) that developed. Here are some of the trends we noticed during the discussion.
ONE: Speakers from training companies indicated that many sales reps aren’t committed to following through on training (even when solutions include follow up services).
TWO: More than a few speakers said they were highly interested in video technology and applications related to video (video marketing, video customer service, video blogging). One speaker noted that, of 147 emails he received last week pitching Sales 2.0 solutions, none embedded video or included links to video — despite the fact that emails with video get three-to-five times higher open rates.
— Lisa Gschwandtner (@SellingPower20) July 23, 2012
THREE: Although almost everyone agreed on the importance of technology in giving sales teams a competitive edge, they also agreed that technology alone will not close sales. As one speaker put it: “Without basic selling skills, you’re screwed.”
FOUR: Many sellers believe it is still their job to convey information — even though prospects are mostly doing their own research online, well before they talk to a salesperson. The savviest companies are leveraging marketing automation solutions to identify and nurture leads.
FIVE: On a related note, companies that have no “digital footprint” are missing out on sales (and probably don’t know it). There is a hidden sales cycle; and if prospects can’t find you online, they cross you off the list.
SIX: Pay attention to how young people are using social media. One speaker says he’s watching the way his kids (in their late teens) are migrating from Facebook to Twitter. Meanwhile, speakers say that many mid-career sales executives are totally failing to embrace social media and are consequently failing to make changes that could help their sales skyrocket.
SEVEN: Although there was a huge wave of early adoption re: mobile devices (like iPads) among sales teams, the skeptics are still reluctant to embrace mobile devices. Why? They see the challenges the early adopters are having (for example, some companies are requiring their sales teams to buy their own devices, or it’s necessary to wipe out all existing applications/data on personally-owned devices before tricking them out for sales productivity).
Thanks to all our speakers who attended last night. We’re looking forward to a great show today in Boston. You can track our live updates on Twitter with our official hashtag #s20c, and follow us on Twitter @Sales20Conf. We’ll also post reports here on our blog.
Great dinner with Sales 2.0 speakers.
— Barb Giamanco (@barbaragiamanco) July 23, 2012