Making Webinars and Presentations Sales 2.0

Since my book was released a few months ago, I’ve had many opportunities to  participate in Web and speaking events on the topic of Sales 2.0. While I am grateful for the invitations to  spread the important message of reinventing sales to achieve better results, something has been troubling me:  the typical approach many of us take to presentations is best described as Sales 1.0.  Sales 2.0 is about collaborative, two-way communication and sharing of ideas with prospects and customers.   Sales 1.0 describes the traditional feature/benefit-oriented pitches or presentations that we often make in one direction – to our customer or audience – without engaging them and letting them tell us about themselves and their business objectives.

Isn’t the PowerPoint presentation the ultimate Sales 1.0 offender, whether given face-to-face or online?

Robin Carey, CEO of Social Media Today, and I discussed this dilemma, in preparation for the upcoming March 31 webinar she asked me to join, along with Mark Woolen from Oracle and Christopher Carfi from Cerado.  Robin, being immersed in the world of social media and not one to take a traditional approach,  explained that the webinar would be a highly interactive Q&A Panel.  She would encourage  participants to live chat their questions during the event.  These approaches are right in line with Sales 2.0 philosophy.  Robin emphasized that she expects the conversation to be lively and for the speakers to talk over one another at times, like in real life.  I thought immediately of David Mamet’s plays.

The “Maximizing Customer Relationships through Technology and Social Media” panel I’m sharing with Jim Calhoun, CEO of PopularMedia, this Thursday, March 26 for MENG (Marketing Executives’ Networking Group) will follow a similar format, with moderator David Schneider asking us questions rather than us giving slide shows. David emphasized, “in an effort to encourage as much audience interaction as possible and evolve to topics that interest them, I will try to initiate discussions and turn to the folks in the crowd for their questions frequently.” Chris Kenton, founder of the Social Media Breakfast San Francisco and his own startup, SocialRep, came to the same conclusion about the event he organized last month.  He interviewed me Michael Krasny-style, inviting audience members to chime in after he posed some of the most thought-provoking questions I’ve been asked since Larry Ellison interviewed me for my first job at Oracle in 1980. I have to admit that our decision to do an interview was influenced by the fact that the venue for the event – a hip bar in downtown San Francisco – didn’t have much in the way of audio/visual equipment, making a slide presentation problematic, but we turned this “bug” into a “feature”.  Chris went a step further into Sales 2.0-thinking by inviting a professional videographer to tape the interview, which he later posted online.

As I look forward to future speaking opportunities, I am still searching for ways to re-think the standard and expected method of communicating a message to a group audience.  When I was approached to to be part of InsideView’s Sales 2.0 webinar series, I balked at the idea of a giving a traditional pitch. As we explored ideas, I had a Sales 2.0 suggestion: let’s include a customer, who would describe a personal experience accelerating sales with Sales 2.0 practices.  We are now in the process of planning a program for April 21 that will be more in line with another key Sales 2.0 message: be customer-focused.

My first Bay Area bookstore appearance is coming up April 2.  Any thoughts on how to prepare for Author Appearance 2.0?

What Sales 2.0 practices have you been incorporating into your presentations and webinars? What results have you seen?

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Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 Uncategorized
  • Chris Kenton

    Thanks for the kind words, Anneke. I loved interviewing you–the topic is timely and quite fascinating when you provide the context of your industry experience. Regarding prep for your bookstore appearance: I think the story about how the changing cost structure of sales has forced the development of cheaper sales approaches–a la Web 2.0–is a compelling insight that puts the Web 2.0 trend in a whole new light. I haven’t heard anyone drive that angle home, and it really helps make better sense of the current drive towards Sales 2.0.

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  • Robert Lesser

    Hi Anneke, one observation that I have on presentations is that soliciting feedback prior to a presentation is challenging. The 2.0 concept to work best here, is as follows: in order to get, you need to give. So in the case of a presentation, the attendee needs to interact with the content and the speaker first in order to ask better questions. Perhaps attendees are reluctant to share questions until they understand better the presentation or that only once the attendees are involved, do questions arise. There is a fear factor present. I believe that the best presentations are those where the presenter provokes the audience with compelling content and charisma and then provides adequate space within the presentation to interact with the audience, WHILE guiding the dialog to ensure that the discussion are on topic and relevant to the balance of attendees.

  • http://coming Mark Kennedy

    I smiled as I read your first paragraph. I was on a sales call today with a sales manager and a rep. My current role is more tech support, but customer centric. The rep used an actual print out of a powerpoint and went through it. In the parking lot after the meeting the sales manager insisted that the next time he should have used the actual PPT slides. He said that they are conditioned to watch and will interact more on screen than on paper.
    Our audience: The CTO and his top 5 design managers of a 1.2 billion dollar consumer products company.
    I had our web site up – I spoke about it, pointing to types of tools, so that when people do product designs our site – equips them to be more effecient. The focus was on how it makes their work process more effective , which saves their time. I only showed 2 pages, but only because I had 2 questions – so I jumped to show how it solved 2 current issues they have. I needed to know my site, but more important was how my site – equiped them in ways I know my comp does not.
    We have 3 meetings set up next week (one on Monday) with the respective teams to go deeper into building the partnership. It could lead to sales, if we do what they want and we do what we say we can do to meet their needs.
    Seems simple enough. Listen, then execute to their plan.
    I want to buy your book.

  • Larry Kilbourne

    I think you’re posing something of a false dichotomy here in characterizing typical webinar presentations as Sales 1.0.

    There is a time and place for small group, interactive or collaborative web meetings, just as there is a legitimate purpose to be served by one-way web presentations.

    Webinars happen to be exquisite vehicles for presenting material to large audiences (into the hundreds). This doesn’t lend itself to a highly interactive format, although it allows for polling and Q&A. But there’s nothing inherently wrong, old fashioned, or out-of-date with this. Nor is a well-constructed slide deck somehow Sales 1.0 (although most PowerPoint presentations are abominations – but that sin lies with the author and not the technology).

    In short, embracing more interactive and collaborative web-based meetings doesn’t mean denying the continued usefulness of webinars for certain purposes and in certain circumstances. Web 2.0 ought to be an extension, not a repudiation, of Web 1.0.

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