A Lesson In Sales 2.0

Phil Wainewright spoke to the impact that Web 2.0 will have on advertising in his blog today. More specifically, he talked about why advertising is going to be sidelined by intention-focused selling on the Web and how software vendors betting their financial futures on earning revenue from advertising could be making a “fatal strategic error.”

I couldn’t agree more with his comments, which got me thinking about what he said but in the context of CRM 2.0. Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power magazine, a frequent speaker at our events, and an incredibly knowledgeable person when it comes to corporate selling, once listed some key facts about the Web, such as 108 million Web sites worldwide with anywhere between 28 billion to 1 trillion Web pages (though no one is really sure).

In a nutshell, stats such as these are driving businesses, and altering the selling landscape by forcing companies to collaborate with customers to sell, primarily online. In the immediate future, customers will create and mold companies, not visa versa. For evidence, just look at Web sites such as IdeaStorm.com, Dell’s community-driven Web site where Dell customers have listed over 6,000 ideas and improvements on Dell products and services, or MyStarBucks.com, where over 3,000 ideas have been listed in just over a month.

To Wainewright’s point, selling on the Web and to the next generation of consumers will be about aligning a businesses’ value proposition with the needs of the consumer, as opposed to the old school method of corporate America “informing” consumers of their value proposition and simply vying for attention.

But his collaborative approach won’t be limited to the way companies interact with their consumers, but also to how businesses interact with their IT providers. In CRM, it will be about software platforms that interact across all channels, both internally and externally, and selecting a vendor that collaborates to build its product so it can grow with your business.