Sales Shiny Object Syndrome

Sales 2.0 Technology – Real Opportunity or Sales SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome)? March 21, 2009 by Darren Cunningham, Director of Product Marketing at LucidEra.

Sales 2.0 is defined as “bringing together customer-focused methodologies and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science.” But with so many innovative new software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools and applications to consider, which ones will really add value and where do you start? One VP of Sales I spoke to after the Sales 2.0 show, referred to the conference as, “Disneyland for sales.” While this was meant as a compliment, it did get me thinking about Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS).

Karyn Greenstreet defines SOS this way:

    “It’s not quite ADD/ADHD. It’s more that a new idea captures your imagination and attention in such a way that you get distracted from the bigger picture and go off in tangents instead of remaining focused on the goal.”

So where do you go with Sales 2.0 technology? How do you move from vendor and analyst buzzwords to real productivity benefits? And how do you avoid Sales SOS when it comes to your technology investments?

Greenstreet recommends that you always begin by asking some of these SOS questions:

* Is this right for my business?
* Do I have the time, resources, energy, and money to put into this to make it successful?
* Do I have too many open projects sitting on my desk that need to be finished before I begin something new?
* Do I have the ability to finish this new project, plus implement and maintain it?
* What has to drop off my radar in order for me to start something new?

More importantly for sales managers, the article raises additional questions. I think for successful implementation of Sales Enablement (SE: continuously delivering the most relevant information and contacts to your sales reps according to their pitches’ needs), you can respond positively to several of these questions:

* Will it make my sales team more effective, not just efficient?
According to a recent IDC study (Don’t Understand Sales Enablement? You’re Not Alone!, 2009) 57% of customers feel that sales reps are not sufficiently prepared about the solution they offer, the country they are in and the industry the customer is working in. Therefore, by providing the seller with the latest and most specific content and experts within the organisation can help him prepare faster and better before his/her pitch.
Cross-Referencing the own offering portfolio (this product can be sold with this service, logistics say that this product is often shipped together with that product, etc) can enable upselling as well.

* Will it help me focus my resources on the right opportunities?

In Organisations, these resources are often marketing budgets that can be spent to provide analysis, messaging and advice to sales. Here we still have lots of opportunities for improvement (In many fortune 500 companies, up to 90% of the marketing content is never used by sales). When good SE is applied, marketing investments can be reviewed and steered using metrics, rating, content requests from sales and company strategy.

Software helps to manage this task which is getting increasingly complex with globalization, large offering portfolios and industry specific solutions. But at the end, applying Sales 2.0 is a question of virtue: Long-term Ordnung and Commitment to provide the force in the field with up to date and relevant information and contacts to help them win their deals.

* Will it help us achieve our overall business objectives and improve results?

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