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Josiane Feigon

Guest post by Josiane Feigon – author, blogger, entrepreneur, and founder of TeleSmart Communications.

I was shopping for a new road bike last week and trying to figure out the difference between the steel, aluminum, and carbon frames. In explaining the differences, the guy said, “This heavier bike is like the 1.0 version and this newer, lighter one is like the 2.0 version.” Bingo — sold! These days everything that carries a 2.0 stamp promises a glimpse of what the future holds.

The Sales 2.0 Conference East takes place in Boston today. Sales leaders have gathered once again to learn about the latest tools, processes, and best-practices that will increase sales productivity and ultimately drive revenue. As I ponder the evolution of Sales 2.0, I think back to a question posed by an audience member at the 2nd Sales 2.0 Conference in March 2009 that gave everyone pause – Should we first focus on defining “Customer 2.0” and their buying process before moving on to “Sales 2.0”?  A year later, the answer is a definitive yes.

In the last five years Web 2.0 and social media have fundamentally changed customer behavior and their buying process.  Those changes have put the customer in the driver’s seat and in control of the conversation, which in turn demands that B2B sales professionals adopt different tools, tactics, and processes for listening, connecting, and engaging with their social customers.  This explains the growing interest in Sales 2.0 and Social Selling.

Customer 2.0 InsideView

Customer 2.0 has arrived and they’re moving fast.  These techno-savvy, socially engaged buyers don’t want to be sold to. They have survived one of the toughest economic landscapes in history, and they’re traveling light — smart enough to know what they DON’T want:

  • They’ve been lied to, betrayed, and held in sales headlocks listening to empty product pitches. They don’t want to be pushed, pitched, or prodded any more.
  • They don’t want to be sold to, read email clichés like “premiere solutions provider” or “next-generation,” or sit through “death by PowerPoint” demos or presentations.
  • They don’t want to stand in long-lines. They much prefer going through the quick self-service queue.
  • And they don’t want to be spoon-fed a big dinner that ends up making them sick. They want to eat bite-sized pieces, full of flavor, that they can pick up with their own hands and easily digest.

And they’re smart enough to know what they DO want:

  • They want you to really listen to their needs, to tell them why their business is unique and makes a difference.
  • They want to shop through their own channels, and they are really good at it. They scope the market on their own and are resourceful and smart when it comes to making choices — they may actually know more about your product than you do.
  • They are very social and easily influenced. When making a decision, they are much more likely to listen to friends and colleagues before they listen to your sales team.
  • They have their own rhythm. They’ve learned how to wait for desperate discounting at the end of the month — that’s where the deals are. But surprisingly, they aren’t looking for deals, they aren’t looking to be the next hero, they just want to know their investment is solid because they don’t want to check it/rebalance it/refresh it over time.

Customer 2.0 travels light and moves fast! Is your sales team equipped to keep up?

Bicycle 1.0 Bicycle 2.0

About Josiane Feigon

Josiane Feigon is author of the book, Smart Selling on the Phone and Online– the sourcebook for inside sales. Her Cubicle Chronicles blog is voted among the top 25 sales blogs. She is founder and CEO of TeleSmart Communications, a 20-year veteran and thought leader of the industry, Josiane is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and manager talent, providing consulting, coaching, and training solutions for hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies. Visit Josiane’s website: www.tele-smart.com, and read her blog, purchase her book and download her latest ebook and white papers.

A 20-year industry veteran, Josiane is the founder of TeleSmart Communications. Since 1994, this San Francisco-based solutions provider has been a leader in developing global Inside Sales teams and managers.