So, I’m feeling pretty good. Not only has the stock market been up now for two weeks in a row, the sales forecast I’m looking at for the team is really strong, and I’m sitting on a train with Pink Floyd’s Great Gig in the Sky, from the Dark Side of the Moon album, coming through the headphones. If you don’t know the album, then you’re in for a treat. I normally listen to the album in its entirety, but right now it’s come up as part of play-list that Apple iTunes’ Genius suggested. Genius, as you probably know, is a very clever feature of the latest iTunes edition. Point it at a song and it will suggest other songs that will sound good with it. It’s very cool.
I’m getting to the Sales 2.0 relevance soon, but first a bit more about Genius … courtesy of an article in Computerworld.
Genius has a lot going on behind the scenes. It gathers a set of information about all songs in your iTunes library, uploads it to Apple’s servers, and then returns an analysis of your library that identifies music that sounds good together. Along the way, it suggests other tracks, albums, and iTunes collections for songs (think of it as the old iTunes mini-store on steroids).
Genius is designed to update its analyzing capabilities not just by the anonymous data it collects from your iTunes library but by the data collected from all users. Theoretically, this should mean matches for everyone get better as time goes on.
So, imagine if you could do the same for your sales team with a Sales 2.0 system that truly worked in this way. First you find a (song) sales person you like – e.g. one that makes quota consistently and forecasts accurately. Next you perform analysis to uncover the attributes of the individual: sales planning, sales process, customer interaction – or, in effect the best practice steps. If the system was smart enough, you wouldn’t need to do much analysis, the system would do it for you, as long as you are tracking his (or her) activities. Then perhaps the system could reveal the secret sauce, or best practices – for the rest of your team to follow. When you have more people following the same standardardized, intelligently analyzed process, then, as with Genius, theoretically this should mean that the system gets smarter all the time – the more sales cycles it analyzes. The result would surely mean increased performance from everyone and better sales forecasting.
The reality is that such tools* exist today. You can capture the attributes of the sales person and his (her) activities, and then replicate that behavior through the sales team by using an intelligent sales process engine. These systems are smart enough to figure out what’s working and what’s not, measure pipeline velocity and sales cycle durations, and provide intelligent contextual guidance – certainly the equivalent of a Sales Coach or even Genius.
(By the way, Genius has followed Great Gig in the Sky with Little Wing by Jim Hendrix – that works.)
If you’ve a Genius available to you, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it might be smart to avail of it.
**(Disclosure: This is a major part of what our Dealmaker® product does)