Some Web 2.0 Companies have 1.0 Sales Processes

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You already know, I have been shopping for marketing automation software.

One thing I have found that is pretty surprising, is that most of the sales people I have encountered have been very traditional in their approach to selling to me.

If you refer to my second installment of Sales 2.0 you’ll note that buyers are more informed now.

During this search, it was rare for my account manager to ask me basic questions to see if I was informed on their product. Virtually every vendor had a video demo of their product online. So people even had videos protected by landing pages. Typically the inside sales rep would inquire if I checked out the online demo, but very few account managers used that info to guide the subsequent conversation.

Other organizations apparently didn’t pass on any information on our conversation related to what I wanted to hear about in the demo to the engineer demoing the product. One vendor spent 40% of the demo trying to educate me on best practices related to marketing and how their product fit perfectly — without ever realizing that the reason I was looking at their product was to improve my process. Knowing that I am shopping for this type of solution should clue you in to the fact I am aware that it is beneficial. Remember, I found you!

One thing was certain, over half of the time the sales rep never logged into their automation system to see which interactions I had. I guess they need more training on how to use their products to sell more effectively. One company I contacted, still hasn’t followed up to my web request, which actually provided detailed notes on my timeline and goals. They have been eliminated, it’s clear nurturing isn’t their strong suit (no follow up = failure).

Here are my tips for dealing with 2.0 buyers:

  • They probably saw your demo
  • They have done some web research
  • They want you to understand their goals
  • They appreciate genuine interactions, and will be more upfront with you if you don’t get to “sales-y”
  • They want to come to therir own conclusions on the suitability of your product/service

This post at the Sales Machine on Bnet about the sales process is the first I have encountered that recognizes the customer is in control of the process. Before progressing too far into the sales process:

  • Find out what the prospects current knowledge level is, and act accordingly.
  • Provide evidence to help the prospect make their own decisions, be subtle when aiming to control the process.
  • Deliver evidence and follow up the way your prospect prefers to digest their info: via email, verbally, with video, low tech, high tech, or socially.
  • Don’t forget what we want.
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