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What I learned about effective selling from the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference

  • Determine
Written by Determine on Oct 24, 2012

I spent the early part of this week at the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference, held at the oh-so-posh Four Seasons in San Francisco. Billed as a learning opportunity for “savvy sales, marketing, and sales operations leaders,” I got a lot out of the many insightful sessions revolving around the hottest topics in sales today.

In case you missed out, here are some of my take-aways from the show:

Re: sales enablement:

If you’re like most companies, your approach to sales enablement is probably in need of an overhaul (i.e. PowerPoint is not the way.)

You would never try to teach lifeguards, doctors, or military professionals CPR using a PowerPoint presentation, so why are you imposing this on your sales team?

Modern sales training is all about simulations and experiential learning. If you really want to help your sales team sell, run scenarios. At the next Sales kickoff, make sure everyone on the team can give a whiteboard presentation of your brand/company story—they should be able to. And if they can’t, the kickoff is a great place to get everyone on the same page, then try it again.

Re: sales scripts

The difference between a compelling, personal pitch and a canned, generic pitch is the difference between winning the deal and losing to the competition. This is why you have to enable each sales person to play to his or her strengths--and why mandating a one-size-fits-all script is a mistake.

The flaw of scripting is that no one will ever be able to replicate the ideas in your head, and sell a product in the exact way you sell—they’re not you! This is why the modern sales script is really more of a checklist—an outline for the points to make at every stage in the process.

The checklist relieves a little bit of the mental load of having to remember everything in the right sequence, but trusts the professionals to address each stage in their own way, using the flow that works best for them. In this way, it really is a modern form of a script.

Re: why you need to understand the customer

In the past, organizations have tailored their sales tools to how the organization sells, rather than looking at how the buyer makes a decision, and creating tools to nurture the customer through each stage—this is wrong!

Have you identified a buyer’s journey? Are you selling to it?

Marketing–have you thought about the buyer’s journey, and are your sales enablement tools mapped to each step of the journey? If you don’t know and share specifics about the buyers, your sales team is forced to shoot at everything that comes by, ultimately wasting bullets, and letting the real opportunities pass by.

Re: the changing world of B2B Sales 

Want to be “with it?” You should be thinking about mobile, big data and analytics, social/digital, and cloud.

However, although there are some exciting changes in tech, the most fundamental change is empowered customers.

It used to be that sales was the first point of contact with the customer, but today, by the time the prospect engages with Sales they are 57% into the sales cycle.

What has changed in the last 3 years? New research says you have a 4% chance of getting someone on the phone with a cold call. The cold emails you send have a 3% response rate. These rates are half of what they were 3 years ago. On the other hand, an email sent to a second degree person on LinkedIn has a 60% response rate.

Re: the make-up of a modern sales team

Do you remember when it was all about the lone hero going out and landing the big deal? Those days are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Today, the most successful teams are collaborative. Collaborative selling requires a different skill set than traditional sales, and requires different tools. 

What are the 4 characteristics of a dynamic sales team?

  • Prepared and insightful
  • Highly productive
  • Collaborative and connected
  • Quick and Mobile

Re: the empowered team

What does your sales team need to succeed? Depends on the role.

Sales executives need true business insight and visibility so they can spot new revenue opportunities as they pass by. They need the empowered to transform into a modern, customer centric organization, productive and inspired team

Sales managers need market insights to outsmart and outpace the competition, tools to effectively plan and manage KPIs, and productive sales reps who win as a team.

Sales professionals need qualified leads, real time insights to prepare and close deals, powerful and easy to use tools, and a holistic 360 view of prospects and customers so they can spend more time selling and less time on busy work.

Thanks again to Selling Power for hosting!

As you can see, the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference was not light on content—and the hosts couldn’t have been more gracious. If you were there, and want to add any other insights, please share below! And if you're interested, the next event is April 8-9, 2013 in San Francisco at the Four Seasons--anyone who wants a reminder email closer to the date can drop a line to 

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At Determine, we’re breaking new ground in contract management and source-to-pay solutions, combining Contract Lifecycle Management, P2P, Supplier Management and Sourcing on a single platform. Along with industry-leading technology, we use our expertise and experiences to help customers successfully solve their pain points and expedite their business processes. The goal of this blog is to tackle industry subjects, provide you with resources, insights, and advice to help keep all the moving parts of business moving.