money machine What’s a 21st Century Selling System?

The theme of Salesforce’s annual Developer Conference, Dreamforce, was “The Customer Company Revolution.” The theme can be summed up thusly, if you want to become a customer company you must enhance the customer experience no matter what and always put customers in charge. According to a recent Salesforce infographic, the marketing industry is undergoing its biggest transformation in 60 years, and it’s because the customer is in charge.

Who is the customer? How do you sell and market to the customer? What does a 21st century selling system look like? Well, our friends over at Forrester Research are setting out to answer these questions and more in their upcoming Sales Enablement Forum being held in Scottsdale, AZ, March 3rd and 4th. The event is chock full of what looks to be extremely valuable and interesting sessions (even if only 2 of the 17 featured speakers, a mere 11%, are women).[1] Personally, I’m flying out to attend—even though I can only stay for the first day’s session (one day is better than no days). It’s not too late to register.

A number of Forrester’s own analysts will present including Scott SantucciSheryl PattekBrad Holmes, and Laura Ramos. Forrester is unquestionably one of the top analyst firms when it comes to thought leadership in the Sales world.

While the underlying focus of Forrester’s event is the customer, more specifically, they’ll be talking about how to understand the customer and what it takes to align sales engagement to the way customers buy. If this truly is the “age of the customer” Forrester aims to explain what that means to sellers and marketers. Attendees are particularly looking forward to the second day when there will be numerous case studies and actual exercises involving the audience.

A taste of what to expect

Scott Santucci will share findings from Forrester’s executive buyer research and lead a panel discussion with real-world buying executives; Brad Rinklin, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Akamai Technologies, and Pete Sattler, VP Information Technology and CIO, International Flavors & Fragrances..

They’ll talk about:

  • What executives believe truly differentiates suppliers from each other.
  • How they really make decisions and what you need to do to add more value to them.
  • Where the funding comes from to pay for all of the things you want them to buy.
  • What being a trusted advisor really means and how often that happens

John Haro, Sales Enablement Manager, for HP’s Enterprise Group will share his perspective on how to align sales engagement with a model of your customer. I’m looking forward to hearing him talk about how he brings product, marketing and sales together to consider the needs of a range of buyers from all perspectives.

There will be a session from Shawn Robertson, Global Vice President of Selling Excellence, SAP to talk about how to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” for each stakeholder and what changes when you put the customer first.

And Peter O’Neill, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research share the fundamentals of a messaging model that spans the entire buyer’s journey.

Daniel West, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at SAVO will give a keynote Monday morning. SAVO has a number of powerful solutions to improve sales execution across the organization. Check out their CRM Opportunity Pro in our free Top 40 Sales Tools of 2013 eBook.

Sales Enablement Solutions Showcase

On-hand will be several companies showcasing the latest in sales enablement solutions. Among them are five we at Smart Selling Tools have recognized as Top 40 Sales Tools for 2013: SAVOCallidusQvidianRevegy, and OneSource.

Speaking of our favorite solutions, watch this space. In March, we’re launching a weekly executive interview series where you’ll hear from executives of top sales solution providers about their vision for the future of selling in the age of the customer.

I can’t think of a better way to immerse yourself in the latest thinking about 21st century selling than attending Forresters Sales Enablement Forum. I hope to see you there.


[1] Ladies, if you are a speaker and are interested in speaking at a Forrester event, click here