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Social Inbound 2.0 - Buzz or Buzzkill?

by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, Jan 21, 2010

I had the pleasure recently of doing an interview with Chad Levitt for his New Sales Economy Blog.  We discuss a range of topics: changes to the sales profession, inbound marketing, Sales 2.0 & the "arrival" of Inside Sales.

A big thanks to Chad for the opportunity!

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Chad: The term Sales 2.0 is getting a lot of buzz and attention - what is the buzz is all about and why is it important?

Trish: The buzz is all about the buzz....every once in a while the next great thing comes along and right now the next great thing is Sales 2.0. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a Sales 2.0 advocate but when you peel away all the layers, 2.0 is nothing more than the effective integration of people, process and technology.

Smart leaders have been thinking about this integration process for quite some time. What I like about the Sales 2.0 movement is that now it forces people to focus on the buyer as part of that equation. The challenge for sales and marketing executives has become "How do I effectively incorporate the needs of my buyer into my people, process and technology equation?"
 

Chad: I've spoken with many sales reps who think Sales 2.0 and social media are a waste of time - what is your response to them?

Trish: This is a tough one because I see both sides of the equation. If a business has not articulated a well thought out strategy then it says to the Sales Rep "Here, here's a bunch of other stuff that you need to think about and add to your to do list."

Let me break my answer into two segments starting with social media.

  1. We believe, and we presented our thoughts on the topic at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston, that it is the responsibility of the corporation to figure out their social media strategy. Social media will deliver an ROI if and only if your buyer is participating in the medium. See our presentation Fishing Where Your Buyers Swim. You can tweet, Facebook. blog and text your ass off but if no one is listening...what does it get you? Figure out where your buyers go for information and then put all your eggs in only those social media basket/s.

  2. As for Sales 2.0, for most organizations it means adding more technology to the mix. Before you do that, it is always good to ask "Have I maximized the technology I already have in place?" And, before you run out and buy the next bright shiny toy, have you thought through the process that will make you successful with it?
     

Chad: I believe inbound marketing can help sales reps create more value for their customers and prospects - how do you see inbound marketing influencing the sales profession?

Trish: Inbound marketing has come such a long way in the past two years. We are a Hubspot customer as well as a raving fans - so we have come a long way with inbound marketing ourselves. Smart Marketers really understand that the difference between dumping lists into a CRM and calling them "leads" and getting people who fit your Buyer Persona to raise their hands and engage with you is the key to success.

Great sales people have figured out how to marry the activity they get via inbound marketing with a well constructed outbound process. If your pipeline isn't robust, you can't sit and wait for buyers to self select. You need to go to them with a relevant story, arouse curiosity and then launch your sales process.
 

Chad: At The Bridge Group you track many different data points and trends - what are some of the most interesting trends you are seeing and what does it mean for sales professionals?

Trish: We have been around for 12 years and I have been in technology based inside sales for 30 so I can now say "Inside Sales is the wave of the future - finally!" We spent a lot of years building a business case for this mode of selling and sometimes it felt like the market would never see beyond "telemarketing". That has changed now and even the venture capital firms are requiring a sound Inside Sales strategy from their portfolio companies. Sales professionals must know how to leverage phone and web based selling to be successful in this day and age.
 

Chad: I read a lot of blogs on many subjects - what are some of your favorite blogs and why?

Trish: I read about 30 blogs a day so I will give you my top 3 - it goes without saying that yours is one as well!

Marketing Interactions by Ardath Albee - She is the queen of all things content driven and I learn a lot from her.

Castain's Sales Playbook by Paul Castain - Paul is not in the technology space but I love to read his stuff because he is incredibly motivating person and gives off incredibly positive vibes.

Garth's World by Garth Moulton - Garth is irreverent and I love that. If it is in his head he puts it out there and I laugh out loud every time I read him.
 

Chad: How do you use social media at The Bridge Group and what kind of results have you seen?

Trish: We blog quite a bit and that drives a ton of traffic to our web site. We just closed one of our biggest deals ever and the company found us via our blog. I tweet and although I do not think my buyers are following me, it has certainly brought me fantastic relationships with vendors, analysts and other consultants.

Look, you can't put a price on having a great network and that is what social media brings you. It isn't about the activity it is about the relationships you develop as a result of that activity.
 

Chad: What is the one thing you recommend sales reps do or learn to stay competitive in an increasingly competitive marketplace?

Trish: Learn how to be relevant to your buyers. The days of vanilla selling are gone. You need to have an intimate knowledge of your buyer's day to day business life. If you make that kind of investment in learning, you will win!
 

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