Just a few weeks ago, Jeanne Meister, Gary Woodill, and I co-hosted a webinar and Twitter chat on the role of digital tools in sales.  Both events left us with some interesting takeaways about what kinds of strategies, devices, and other technologies transforming the sales landscape. During the webinar, Gary and Jeanne described how rapid increases in the volume and accessibility of information, especially through the Internet and social media, is empowering today’s consumers.  Since these consumers have the ability to be well-informed about their options in almost every marketplace, selling has become a collaborative process between the sales person and the consumer.

From my perspective, the key to developing collaboration is the social enterprise, which represents the new and meaningful ways your organization can connect with both customers and employees.  Building a social enterprise within your sales team serve as a key platform for interacting with and monitoring the needs of your current and prospective customers, and also allow sales reps to learn and collaborate online. The webinar’s discussion on the social and digital sales landscape continued on our Twitter chat.  We began by asking what the salesperson’s workplace will look like in five years, and our discussion quickly turned to collaborative selling:

Several chat participants, including our experts, also emphasized the power of social media for the future of sales.  We discussed how cold calling is now seen as an equivalent to unwanted spam email, but social networks can allow sales reps to foster valuable relationships with prospective and current clients: Another popular topic of conversation was the advent of tablet PCs and their role in sales.  We asked participants if they believed tablets would replace laptops in the field.  Respondents had a wide range of opinions, but most agreed that tablets use will increase and serve as a supplement, not replacement, for laptops in the field: Our discussion oftablets later led to more in-depth questions about the benefits of mobile devices for sales.  Gary highlighted the benefits of mobile sales training, including the fact that on-the-ground training provides crucial context to learning: Our chat concluded with some final tips for sales managers who want to build collaborative selling and collaborative learning within their companies.  Participants emphasized the power of social networking to enhance peer-to-peer training, mentoring, and sales performance: We look forward to seeing you on our next Twitter chat!

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