7 Insights You Need to Know from the Sales 2.0 Conference

by Liz Heiman

What did 400 B2B sales leaders learn on the first day of the Sales 2.0 Conference here in San Francisco? Here are seven key insights.

Insight #1: Have the right mindset. Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder & CEO, Selling Power asked attendees, “What is your mindset about yourself, your company, and your customers right now?” We all have a “mindset” that is implanted within us by the environment we’re born into and the people who raise us. But that mindset doesn’t always serve us well. A mindset is composed of ideas; we should nurture the right ideas and distance ourselves from ideas that aren’t serving us.

Insight #2: Learn how to lead and sell in the digital economy. Manjula Talreja, Vice President, Cisco Consulting Services told us that salespeople need to be hyper aware, predictive, and agile. Online, people, process, and data all come together. When the connections are combined we solve higher order business problems. “Listening is key,” she said.

Insight #3: Take control of your data. Mike Moorman, Managing Principal, ZS Associates, was to first speaker of the day to talk to us about the value of data in sales management. Most sales leaders buy into a myth that they have too little data. Not true. “The problem is too much data,” he said. He defined sales analytics as making decisions to get the right resources against the right opportunities at the right time.” Sales analytics can

  1. be used as a tool to 1) uncover the financial potential of a clients, 2) identify which activities will have the biggest impact, and 3) identify the optimal time to act.
  2. help us identify gaps in sales-force effectiveness and show us the ideal structure of the sales force.
  3. show us how to allocate resources across the territory to achieve the greatest potential.
  4. help us set realistic sales goals.

Insight #4: Don’t leave revenue growth to chance. Keith Eades, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Sales Performance International, Inc talked about the importance of organizational and operational alignment. To succeed, we need to align strategy and sales. What is strategy? It’s the journey from where you are, to where you need to go. When sales is disconnected from strategy, “even good training can have a perverse effect.” We need to train sales reps to get better at knowing what customers need. Sales leaders can leverage data and predictive sales analytics to accomplish three things.

  1. Uncover what competencies your team has.
  2. See what resources they most need.
  3. Identify the changes that will have the greatest impact.

Insight #5: Realize the customer is in control of the sales process. Tiffani Bova, Vice President & Distinguished Analyst, Research, Gartner says, “The most disruptive thing in the market today is not the technology, it is actually the customer.”  They customer does their own research. They talk to providers directly. They reach out independently to a trusted network. They are further down the buying process when they engage, and are often overwhelmed with information, so their perception of your company and what you offer may be off the mark. What can sales reps do to address this situation? When it comes to engagement, take your cues from where the customer is in the buying journey. For example, some customers are very close to a decision by the time they talk with you; that’s not the time to take them back to the “discovery” stage of the buying cycle. Sales managers, don’t force reps to follow a step-by-step process that fits your needs instead of the customer’s needs. Don’t manage against old processes that don’t represent the journey our sales reps are taking with the customer.

Insight #6: Cold calling is not dead. Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst of Topo and Funnelholic blogger led a breakout session that challenged the theory that cold calling is dead. These inside sales managers talked about their success using ConnectandSell dialing technologies to reach senior decision makers and make sales that averaged between $20,000 a sale to $200,000.

Insight #7: Don’t count on “random acts of social” to leverage social effectively.  David DiStefano, Chief Revenue Officer, PeopleLinx, explained that 84% of senior execs are using social to influence buying decisions. The problem is that fewer than 26% of sales reps know how to use social media for selling. As Dave said, you can’t count on “random acts of social.” You need a social selling strategy, training on social tools and integration of social into the selling process. David shared a real-life example of a seller who successfully followed a “social cadence” shortened the lead time to secure a meeting with a prospect he didn’t know. The cadence helped him build the credibility to ask for the meeting. Here’s how it worked.

  1. The seller saw a tweet from the prospect.
  2. The seller commented on that tweet.
  3. The seller then sent a tweet sharing the resource the prospect had tweeted. In his tweet, he used the prospect’s Twitter handle, which ensured the prospect would see the tweet in his personal mentions in Twitter.
  4. The seller saw that the prospect “favorited” his tweet.
  5. The seller followed the prospect on Twitter.
  6. The seller reached out to the prospect with an email requesting a meeting.
  7. The prospect responded immediately and invited three colleagues to the meeting.

Alice Heiman, the event’s MC and Chief Networking Officer, reminded us that the world around sellers is changing rapidly. It’s important to take time out to attend events like this to examine how those changes affect our profession and our industry. Although she challenged the idea that salespeople are becoming obsolete, she warned that salespeople need to be aware that there are probably areas in which they should drastically change.

What skills or best practices are you hoping to adopt to help you become a better seller? Share your thoughts in the comments or mention @Sales20Conf in a tweet with the hashtag #s20c!

Liz HeimanLiz Heiman is a sales and marketing strategist and founder and president of re: Sales & Marketing Inc. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter


About Lisa

Editorial Director at SellingPower.com.
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