Sales 2.0 Las Vegas Takeaways: Three Age-old Problems That We Need to Solve


Sales is changing – fast. At the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas, sales and marketing leaders talked about how sales is changing at a faster pace and intensity than we’ve ever witnessed before.

Yet, for all the change, some things stay the same. Whether it was selling with insights, tying learning to business results, or Sales and Marketing alignment, these long-standing problems were the core of Sales 2.0 discussion, because they are very much still problems.

There is no reason why we cannot catch up and find real solutions, with the help of the latest thinking, processes, and technology.

1. The Risk of Selling Without Insights

David DiStefano, CEO of Richardson, led a conversation on Why Insight-Based Sales Approaches Win More Deals. While that may not come as a big surprise, the implications of not selling with insights is much more alarming. Take each of these statistics:

  • 1 in 10 executives get value from meetings with salespeople – If your reps cannot create value in every interaction, they are essentially order takers. The best products still win, but reps need to do more than talk about features and benefits.
  • 17% of reps get a second meeting – Why would an executive be meeting with you after already seeing the product? If you don’t have a good answer, you’ve got some work to do.
  • #1 reason reps miss quota is inability to articulate value – We’d all love for our reps to engage customers in a dialogue to understand their needs and offer a solution. But absent a message, I fear we may be asking too much.

An insight was defined as “teaching your customer something that makes them think about their business differently.” These insights can come from research, experience, expertise, or innovation. Once uncovered, the best sales organizations know how to package and deliver them into the market to counteract the above statistics.

2. How to Tie Learning to Business Results

Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer at SAP, discussed a topic so obvious that the fact it was the subject of her presentation felt like cause for concern. Of course we want to tie learning objectives to business results. Yet, when talking to most heads of sales enablement and training, it’s not clear that this is taking place.

There is still a disconnect between training and sales. Training has a tendency to look first at hours of learning or volume based metrics because they are easy to measure. Jenny reminded us that the only reason to spend money on a learning solution is to tie to a specific business KPI. If your enablement team cannot make this connection, she explained, it may be time to find a new enablement team.

Through SAP’s Six-Step Results Focused Evaluation Process, we learned that you can’t optimize what you don’t measure. High performing sales training teams are meticulous about defining objectives, mapping back a solution, and continually measuring the right data that leads to optimization.

3. Sales and Marketing Convergence

What was Scott Broomfield, CMO at Xactly, doing at a Sales 2.0 event? Apparently, Sales and Marketing still have some work to do to play well together. If Sales is the Army, out in the field and on the ground, then Marketing is the Air Force – very specific in its targeting.

But for Marketing to work with Sales, Scott explained that it needs the right mindset, skillset, and toolset. One of the symptoms is Marketing’s lack of visibility on what’s happening in the field. The mindset that Marketing’s job is over when the lead hits the sales person’s desk is exactly the mentality that gets the entire organization into trouble. Is that lead qualified? How does Sales go about selling to that lead? Is the message aligned? Marketing should try and understand these questions, and Sales must be sure to clearly collaborate and align.

Let’s look at toolset for a moment. Marketing has relied on tools to get closer to Sales over the years. First, it was CRM, then Marketing Automation, and now Predictive Lead Scoring.

At one point in time, these tools were nice to have. Now, they are vital to any organization. What comes next? Tools that help the Air Force see what the Army is doing, and vice versa, will bring the functions closer together: collaboration between Sales and Marketing is critical. Knowing that Marketing cannot be on every Sales call and that Sales cannot profile every Marketing effort means that you need to think critically about these workflows sooner than later.