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Earlier this week I spent the afternoon at Altitude 2010, hosted by HP and Box.net, where I had the pleasure to be around Silicon Valley’s best and brightest to discuss the future of Cloud Computing in the Enterprise.

Every speaker had the same belief, that the move to cloud computing is inevitable, because of its superior value, scalability and availability at a reduced cost. There was also broad agreement that we will continue to see a consumerization of enterprise technology, drawing on the best aspects of consumer products (user-friendly, viral, freemium…) to increase the value that corporations get from IT.

While these trends seem unavoidable, the pace of adoption is likely to remain measured. Unlike consumers who quickly flock to new, better things, corporations are deliberate and often slow to adopt.

Putting one and one together, I thought: what an opportunity! An inevitable trend that evolves slowly gives those who are not timid a competitive advantage. In the world of sales, that advantage is the opportunity to be amongst the first to adopt a new trend, and to show our customers and prospects that we are ahead of the curve. Companies want to do business with people and companies who lead, and not with laggards.

key technologies in the last 15 years

Are you spending enough time to understand the trends in your market (in my case they include Sales 2.0, Customer 2.0, Social Media for Sales, Social CRM, Data vs. Intelligence)? Do you have an opinion on how they will impact your market? Do you make your opinions known (via email, blogs, twitter…)? Do you know how to translate those views into a relevant outreach that will get the attention of your prospects and customers?

If you want to be viewed as adding value to your prospects and customers, the answer has to be resounding yes for all of the above.