Sales executives can be forgiven for thinking that technology is a panacea to the pain of finding new sales leads. Sure, a few clicks on your laptop might expand your pool of prospects while attending a virtual trade show presents ample opportunity to sell without ever leaving your desk. Unfortunately, too many sales executives turn to technology without first developing a “rock-solid process” for converting prospects into customers, said Trish Bertuzzi, president of The Bridge Group Inc., a sales consultancy whose clients include Core Security, Kadient, Q1 Labs and Silverpop.
“Technology is thought about in terms of a bright shiny new thing, but it’s got to be the right technology supporting the right process,” Bertuzzi said, adding that taking advantage of Sales 2.0 tools requires a change in mindset.
Yet before sales executives can take advantage of Sales 2.0 they have to master what Bertuzzi calls Sales 1.5, or the foundation that sales executives have to create prior to building (and executing) technology initiatives.
The foundation involves salespeople asking themselves the following questions: Are the sales goals achievable? How big is the market? How many people within the market fit the ideal customer profile?
“Technology is not the silver bullet,” Bertuzzi said. “The silver bullet is creating the process that converts prospects to buyers and using technology (e-mail, white papers, podcasts, etc.) to deliver the right content to the right buyer at the right time.”
One measure of a successful Sales 2.0 initiative is whether it results in a dialogue. “What you’re selling is not products or services, but a conversation,” Bertuzzi said. “Content doesn’t establish a personal and emotional relationship with the buyer but it does allow you to engage in a meaningful conversation.”
Of course, using social media tools doesn’t necessarily lead to legitimate prospects. Neither does joining social networks. But, considering larger sales trends, e.g. building alliances, purchasing-by-committee, the only thing worse than joining social networks (Twitter, Facebook) is not joining social networks.
“You’ve got to fish where your buyers swim,” Bertuzzi said. (See Bertuzzi’s Webinar on how sales execs can find the right buyers via social media.) “The net of it is people interact and communicate using a variety of mediums, and sellers need to understand how to use those mediums to accomplish their goals.”