Sellers, Buyers, Marketers, FD's & Bosses; Under one umbrella

Story added:

As our series of round-table workshop webinars gets underway, we felt the need for an umbrella page, or helicopter view, from where we could manage and link to them and the related discussions, blogs, events and so on.

There are quite a scary number of feed-in Groups and people getting involved to help with all of this, for example in our own LinkedIn Group asking "Is Selling Manipulation?", but also across the spectrum of other LinkedIn Groups, like ex-Dragon James Caan's

Webrecruit Group for those hoping to "Transform Career Possibilities in Selling & Sales Management" or in the very popular UK Marketing Lounge, the ISMM Group and many others besides. (And a warm welcome to you any of you that may be).

LeadFormix also have substantial networks built around the Marketing Automation and Integration with Selling angles, and their UK Re-Seller Peter Johnston - himself playing a lead coordinating role (thank you Peter) has just summed-up a bit more of the crowdsourcing and topics arising in a blog titled "Is Sales Dying? And what can YOU do about it?".

The lead-off event is Bring Out Your Dead, and you can see some of the "crowd" commenting and contributing there (and that Peter has thanked on his blog) assembled around this page and sourced from all

over, as above. There are over 100 people already directly involved though, and the total "crowd-source" is indeed in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.

We'd be delighted to use YOUR comments and questions in the panels below to link to any other people, discussions, events, problems and solutions that come up.

Next up is The Buyer's Tale (12-1pm Wednesday 22 June), and I'll link as soon as I can to that, either by "editing" this panel or posting below, but fire away if you have any further items (and login with LinkedIn to make that all so much easier)...

    Questions & Comments

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    Good research helps the sales and marketing process

    Hi Neil

    Just a quick note to say well done on a useful webinar yesterday. I've recently had the pleasure of being re-introduced to frontline sales after a 10 year sabbatical and can agree with many of the points raised in your discussion about how times have changed.

    Good to see the importance you placed on the art of really listening to your customers. My company helps people do this by conducting customer, prospect and market intelligence research studies online. Time and effort spent here really does make the marketing and sales processes that much easier.

    Looking forward to part 2!

    Posted by Mark Hughes on

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    The Big Picture - and a few more jigsaw pieces...

    I just tweeted the page below, because this bit caught my eye...

    "He cited the example of Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), which in December opened its Social Media Listening Command Center, tracking 22,000 social media conversations a day in 11 languages. Dell has trained 13,000 employees in social media skills."

    ...if anyone is interested in where some of the UK's 750,000 erstwhile "telesales" or "field sales" reps of today / yesterday, are going to be working, doing what, in the future.

    Here's the full story about Salesforce.com's latest move...

    http://www.enterpriseappstoday.com/social-media/salesforce-social-enterprise-radian6.html

    ...and note that we interviewed Michael Dell as a rising star in the late 1980's, when I was selling print advertising, in Sales Direction magazine. So these changes will affect your life - indeed are already affecting it - whatever stage of a selling career you might be at.

    And jigsaw piece after jigsaw piece is rapidly now sliding into place, as the "Connect & Collaborate" big picture becomes more and more clear...

    http://www.mycustomer.com/video/brian-solis-creating-value-ecosystem-connected-customer

    ...See if you can spot Brian there knocking old school "Command & Control" (dying) dinosaurs, and then come and join in with the rest of us here, if you like - or are terrified by - the prospect of all this change.

    Posted by Neil Warren on

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    Stephen Newman

    Lovely to meet you Neil!

    Interested to see how this works!
    Posted by Stephen Newman on

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    Spam Filters - another sales problem!

    Yes hi Stephen - tons of detail behind it all, of course, and that's where the devils live ;-(

    For example, despite our best efforts, I have definitive proof back from our ModSell server that you somehow, somewhere, have the domain blocked as a sender of "unsolicited email", despite the fact that you just logged in to "solicit" the double-opt-in registration confirmation.

    And this nightmare will exist for many a blind seller, all over the UK and the world...

    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/How-Catastrophic-is-Collapse-Direct-1328087.S.50700075

    ...as I have been bleating and ranting about.
    Posted by Neil Warren on

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    Translate this, from B2C Marketing to B2B Selling...

    The clues are in this kind of quote...

    "Imagine your website is your best sales representative...."

    ...and...

    "Trusted connections ? 'hey Dave, what do you think about this product?'"

    ...and...

    "Authority ? 'he's an expert after all'

    Great companies utilise authority to enhance credibility. Customers seek the advice and knowledge of authoritative figures, and tend to be more likely to act on their advice.

    People will blindly obey the advice of authority figures with a backlog of credentials (educational and achievements) and perfect images (smart attire)."

    This is the full blog from "Digital Marketers United" Econsultancy...

    http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7601-how-do-you-turn-your-site-conversion-killers-into-winners

    ...and the challenge / task is to see how else we might convert that B2C marketing advice (they example "Yummy Dough"), into how B2B sellers could also be looking for online "conversions".
    Posted by Neil Warren on

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    What came out of the "Is Sales Dying?" discussion?

    We really hit a nerve here. Over a hundred people signed up for the webinar and dozens more gave us their input on the Modern Selling website and various threads on LinkedIn. Thank you all.

    We gave people five takeaways from the webinar
    1. There are a lot more ways to sell than car and telephone
    2. Sales is not dead, but it is changing due to technology ? the internet and social media
    3. Buyers prefer to buy than be sold to - salespeople and marketers are being shut out and the internet and social media are key to buyers? research
    4. Inbound marketing is now as important as outbound -Push and Interruption methods are no longer accepted
    5. Sales skills in creating and managing conversations are essential to help buyers through their buying decisions

    The discussion fell into three parts
    1. The state of selling today
    2. The new challenge ahead
    3. Mapping sales skills to this new reality

    I will cover each in separate comments.


    Personal Thought
    There is a changing world out there. It may look like there is trouble ahead but modern selling is full of opportunities for sales people and sales managers. Sales skills in creating and managing conversations are more essential than ever in a social media driven sales environment.

    Posted by Peter Johnston on

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    The State of Selling Today

    This is the first part of the discussion. Others will follow tomorrow...
    The conclusion was that Sales is not dying but it is changing.
    1. There are now a lot more ways to sell than the car and the telephone, but many sales people are stuck in sales models which fail to recognise this. They feel powerless to move their companies forward or use new methods to improve their selling.
    2. Sales is no longer an end to end process, prospecting through to close, but becoming a relay activity with telesales, lead generation, marketing and closing as separate disciplines. A lot of leads are being dropped in the handovers.
    3. Sales is being deskilled, with lifetime sales people with powerful engaging and closing skills not being replaced. There is an attempt to replace this with process, including automation of key tasks.
    4. Sales people no longer have the power they once did, as buyers have easier ways to find information and compare products, prices and companies.
    5. There is increasing resistance to being sold to and many previously powerful methods are being marginalised.
    6. Cold calling IS dead, at least among our attendees. All of those polled told us that they used intelligence such as LinkedIn to make more them more informed on the call. Most also used mixed methods to contact.
    Posted by Peter Johnston on

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    The vision of the road ahead

    The internet is changing the world as Messrs Gadaafi, Giggs and Assange will confirm. It is not surprising that it is also changing Sales.
    1. ?We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what they are interested in?. Interruption and Push marketing are increasingly ineffective, and increasingly resisted. We must find new methods.
    2. Inbound is rapidly overtaking Outbound as a way of generating business. Helping buyers to find you is replacing hunting them down.
    3. The idea that old methods are replaced by new ones is wrong. Advertising, direct mail and telesales still have a part to play in lead generation. They are no longer as important and have been joined by other methods. Most effective is a mixed Sales method. This is already being used by most attendees, but perhaps different elements need to be added to the mix and priorities adjusted.
    4. New methods give opportunities for sales people too. Intelligence is easier than ever before. You can easily and cheaply find out who is on your website and what they are interested in. You can get contact details for the key people. Simple free tools like Google and LinkedIn can give you an insight into the buyer persona and give you an edge on the call or visit.
    Posted by Peter Johnston on

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    Mapping Sales Skills to the new Reality

    Last part of the summary of our webinar - we covered a lot in an hour, didn't we?!

    We took a peek at The Buyer?s Tale, with a look at the five stages of B2B Buying (more on the 22nd).

    We looked at how buyers self-educate.
    We finished with a look at what sales people do at each stage of the sales process. This is a lot more than simply closing.
    1. Sales people put buyers into play by showing them what their problem is and that there is a solution.
    2. They help them define the problem and devise criteria for evaluating solutions.
    3. They manage the buying process, identifying and influencing the seat of power and the influencers.
    4. They fight off conflicting messages from competitors.
    5. They handle objections and turn them into buying signals.
    They are key at turning interest into sales.

    Finally we touched on Marketing makes Leads for Sales.
    While Marketers are trained as Interruptors (Advertising, Direct mail, Trade shows, Collateral and Email marketing are all push methods), Sales people are trained conversation managers, engaging suspects from cold calls, turning leads into conversations, helping prospects through the sales process and opening a buying decision to multiple influencers. Who?s better at engaging customers and managing the ensuing conversation?

    Parting Thought
    There is a changing world out there. It may look like there is trouble ahead but modern selling is full of opportunities for sales people and sales managers. Sales skills in creating and managing conversations are more essential than ever in a social media driven sales environment.

    But unlearning is harder than learning. Perhaps we need to file a whole generation of sales and marketing professionals under "experiment which didn't work" and move on, teaching the new generation how their companies can connect with buyers to everyone's mutual advantage. Unless you know differently...
    Posted by Peter Johnston on

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