Last summer I flew back to Boston to attend the Sales 2.0 Conference hosted by Gerhard Gschwandtner of Selling Power. Even though we were across the country from the home base of the Sales 2.0 mafia companies, the attendance nearly 300 people, and the vibe was enthusiastic. From the conversations that I had (with probably 200 people-everybody knows I like to gab), it was apparent that Sales 2.0 has outlived the Web 2.0 concept that took a sailor dive into the chasm sometime around 2008. In fact, many large companies have very publicly employed the new sales techniques and processes that embody Sales 2.0 while partnering with red hot companies like Marketo, Inside View, Big Machines, Xactly and (of course) Jigsaw and salesforce.com. I dare say that the underlying concepts of Sales 2.0 will outlive the bad economy and the social media bubble- but don’t start looking for me to define future trends (I thought Apple was dead in the water in the early 90’s).
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The way it went down was that the other judges, Anneke Seley (CEO of Phoneworks and co-author of the Sales 2.0 book) and Will Wiegler (Sr Director of Marketing from Big Machines) and I met Gerhard in the afternoon to dry run the show in front of the cameras. A crew of cool cat whiz kids from Dreamsimplicity was on hand to produce the show. Ten contestants would take part in three segments where they would 1) tell their most memorable sales story in 150 seconds, 2) find a prospect using online tools, and 3) make a 60 second elevator pitch. Gerhard and Floyd Tucker from Dreamsimplicity were the Wink Martindale-ish MCs and Anneke, Will and I were the American Idol like judges. The audience was made up of a fairly rowdy group of salespeople, most of whom had attended the conference the day before.
After a brief reception where everyone involved got to know each other and pound a few cocktails to ease the stage fright (or maybe that was just me), the taping started. All the judges agreed that our job was infinitely easier than that of the poor contestants. Even though they were all very professional and well prepared, nerves took a few out of contention before the judges got a chance to grade them. I actually got to feel the pressure first hand when Gerhard made me get up at the end of the show and do my “best Jigsaw pitch.” Luckily, I got to end it with “we sold the company,” so most people overlooked my fidgety, machine gun delivery. Despite my earlier reservations, I really had a great time.
Take a look at the first episode of Make that Sale…
* Many of you have undoubtedly noticed that it has been a while since my last confession…er… blog post. Well, I’m back to tell you that they can’t get rid of me that easily. I’m only going out in leg chains and a straight jacket--the same way I came in.