2000 – 2007 “Smile & Dial”
I feel privileged to have joined the sales community at (what I believe) is the trifecta of sales styles. I started working during the tech bust of 2000 (leaving briefly for graduate school) and came back in 2004. This period of time in software sales was the height of “smiling & dialing”. I remember cold calling off printed lists of names/numbers with a telephone connected to a telephone line! There was no research, there were no “sales intelligence” – it was all General Benefit Statements & Feature, Advantage and Benefits.
2008 – 2011 “Sales 2.0”
I became a really, really good cold caller – but then came Sales 2.0. My world was turned upside down with technology. I didn’t know how to keep up at first. Buyers (after the market crash of August 2008) were now starting to become more difficult to reach; cold calling became a little more challenging (little did I know that’s nothing compared to today). I was lucky to be involved with a software company in 2008 that was progressive at trying early versions of DRIP Marketing, Live Chat and Power-Dialers. We began our sales growth with “smile & dial”, but we matured with DRIP Marketing and calling people that were on our website in real-time. I had adapted, not by choice – but as a necessity to stay relevant.
When I began sales consulting in late 2009, I took Sales 2.0 into the market to help fellow technology companies. I was very nervous at first as I thought Sales 2.0 was the new norm… little did I know that most companies were still in the “Smile & Dial “era. I was pleasantly surprised (for the benefit of my business) that companies were just now thinking about Marketing Automation, Salesforce.com and all the wonderful tools that help inside sales teams. As my business grew, I naively thought that I would be able to ride Sales 2.0 into the sunset for the next 10 years. I assumed that every company would want to move from their Sales 1.0 into a Sales 2.0 world.
Man, was I wrong. There are still so many companies struggling to adapt.
Definition of Inertia – The resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. If a sales team in Sales 1.0 wants to do the same thing every day and hope for different results, they are crazy.
We have had some amazing clients – all have recognized that if they didn’t adapt from Sales 1.0 to Sales 2.0 – they were losing massive opportunities to their competitors. Sales 2.0 was not a nice to have, it is LITERALLY MANDATORY! n Boston, San Francisco and Toronto – technology companies had heard the iron bell toll, and have made the adjustment….
But now a new age has emerged just as they adapted.
2012 – Beyond “Social Selling”
I didn’t believe in this concept at first either. I saw little ROI from LinkedIn/Twitter until I booked and closed my first deal that was initiated on LinkedIn. Then I was hooked! I began experimenting and documenting all the little ideas that had worked. Meeting after meeting, deal after deal, LinkedIn started to become a slot machine.
In 2011, our business created 75% of its net new opportunities from LinkedIn! The adapting began and it’s still evolving. This is the new medium for driving business.
In 2012 there will be sales teams that can’t even fathom driving business via LinkedIn because they are still struggling with inbound leads from their new Sales 2.0 software. While this is fine for now, they will be caught in the laggard stage of sales growth by 2013/2014.