More Thoughts About "Web 2.0 and Sales Process Management"
My survey-based report Web 2.0 and Sales Process Management is now available.
Based on my own experience with both doing and managing sales, I’ve always envied accomplished sales professionals who successfully combine ingredients such as likability, intelligence, sales and technical savvy, charm, aggressiveness, persistence — and most of all, the ability to close a sale!
Technology by itself, as sales professionals will quickly tell you, can be a useful support tool, but it isn’t enough. As one sales manager told me when we discussed Web 2.0 applications in relation to his operation,
“I know about this stuff and how useful it can be, but it’s on the edge of what concerns me most. I’d have to take time out to put together custom feeds and the like. How likely is it that busy salespeople will do that on their own when I’m flogging them to make appointments?”
One important benefit that Web 2.0 applications and technology bring to any process is to reduce barriers to sharing and collaboration. But reducing barriers to sharing and collaboration is not the same as promoting sharing and collaboration. Just because a tool is available doesn’t mean it’s going to be used or used effectively. People have to be willing to try it out and, if necessary, change their behavior.
But reducing barriers to change isn’t enough. People still need to know how to make a change. Then they need the motivation to make the change.
As suggested in Web 2.0 and Sales Process Management, there may be some advantages to larger organizations’ adoption of Web 2.0 since they are more likely to have resources available for planning and applying systematic changes to the sales process.
Still, smaller organizations may have the advantage of agility. They may also lack some of the structural and bureaucratic barriers to change that larger organizations experience.
Web 2.0 methods apply not only to sharing information and facilitating collaboration but also to managing information. Opening up sales prospecting and qualification processes to more varied sources could create the need for organizations and individuals to process increased quantities of information. The structures and formats of information obtained through new sources could also impact the types of tools and processes needed to manage the information made available to the sales force.
Sales people who are adept at processing and reviewing large volumes of information — or using tools to help them do so — will have an advantage over competitors who lack such skills.
Web 2.0 and Sales Process Management also demonstrates that helping the entire sales process involves more than sales people interacting with prospects and customers. Improved collaboration systems, social networks, and shared databases need to be accessible not only to sales people but to everyone involved in supporting or contributing to the sales processes. Sometimes that means cutting across traditional organizational and departmental boundaries.
Is your organization ready for that?
Appendix E’s Figure 1 in Web 2.0 and Sales Process Management addresses issues like this in more detail; click here to get a free copy.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald. Dennis can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is located at /. To see the previous article in this series about Web 2.0 and the sales process, click here.