The Biggest Highlights of the Sales 2.0 Era

This blog post is excerpted from “How to Help Your Sales Team Achieve Breakthrough Results in the Sales 3.0 Era.”

Sales 2.0 was the beginning of selling in an era of advanced technology, and it taught sales and marketing professionals to trust in the “science” of selling.

Perhaps the standout statistic of the Sales 2.0 era came from SiriusDecisions, which reported that “67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” In some cases, customers were now bypassing salespeople almost entirely, particularly in the early stages of their buying journey. This was an entirely new world for salespeople who were accustomed to educating prospects as part of the “engagement” stage of the traditional sales funnel.

Selling Power magazine founder and Sales 3.0 Conference host Gerhard Gschwandtner defined Sales 2.0 using the following three categories: 1) people, 2) process, and 3) technology. Specifically, this included new opportunities to:

  • Collaborate effectively with marketing teams
  • Motivate and incentivize salespeople
  • Manage the sales pipeline
  • Help salespeople find new customers
  • Target new markets
  • Maintain customer relationships

The Sales 2.0 era trends were driven largely by technological developments and shifts in customer buying behavior. Here are just some of the highlights.

The “hybrid” sales rep. The term “hybrid rep” emerged in the Sales 2.0 era to describe the shifting state of field sellers, who, thanks to advances in sales enablement tools (including virtual reality tools and video chat services), no longer had to travel to 1) prospect or 2) move the sale to the next stage.  

Content captures customers. Because salespeople and buyers were now spending lots of time online, B2B companies scrambled to create a Web presence that could be leveraged for lead-generation efforts. They found the best way to attract customers was to create content that was useful and actionable. By using the right keywords, companies could leverage powerful search-engine algorithms to “attract” customers to their Websites.

The rise of inside sales teams. Enterprise companies began making concerted investments in inside sales teams, shifting headcount from field sellers to inside sellers.

Managing millennials. As Boomers moved into executive roles, millennials began to move into entry-level sales and marketing positions. These digital natives brought a whole new perspective to the world of sales. They understood that, to succeed in sales, a personal online presence was as vital as a Rolodex had been to sales reps in past years.

Flip your sales funnel. B2B buyers used to follow a fairly linear path to purchase, starting with “awareness” and ending in “action” (aka, a purchase decision). In 2006, Seth Godin released an e-book, Flipping the Funnel, which advocated that marketers take a traditional funnel and “turn it on its side,” thereby creating a “megaphone” to attract a dedicated and loyal base of customers. In 2010, Joseph Jaffe released Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones, which built on Godin’s original ideas: namely, that so-called “interruption marketing” was becoming less and less effective in an age where buyers could simply go online to get information (including specs and pricing) about offerings, as opposed to connecting with sales reps during the initial phases of the purchasing journey.

Social selling. When platforms like Facebook and Twitter first emerged, few people in the sales profession could have guessed that one day they would be valuable resources for prospecting, nurturing customer relationships, and even closing deals. Again, rather than “interrupting” customers with unwanted messages, social selling developed as a collegial way to gather information about customer needs and preferences, as well as to broadcast both “one-to-many” and “many-to-many” messages.

What will the Sales 3.0 era hold for sales teams? Register now to join us at a Sales 3.0 Conference in 2018 and learn from our expert speakers, or download our latest report, “How to Help Your Sales Team Achieve Breakthrough Results in the Sales 3.0 Era.”

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