Where was sales at Defrag last week? There were some great presentations on Business Intelligence, social boundaries and monitoring, real time streams and search vs discovery. There were some great presenters. It was an all web cast of folks; Stowe Boyd, Fred Wilson, Chris Sacca, Howard Lindzon, and Brad Feld. But, sales was no where to be found.
The booths were plenty, with most if not all being Enterprise 2.0 companies. I like to think of Enterprise 2.0 companies, as companies that sell Web 2.0 or social media products and services to other companies. Unlike the Twitters of the world, Enterprise 2.0 companies have to sell. In the enterprise world, IT departments defend their turf with abandon. Procurement will squeeze every dime they can out of you. Legal will extend the sales cycle by months until you capitulate on the word commit over “best effort”. Being successful in the Enterprise 2.0 is very different than Web 2.0; yet there was no sales, marketing or business development tracts on the Defrag agenda.
I think this was a big mistake. Most of these companies have been started by techies; really smart engineers who have little experience or knowledge on how to navigate a corporate sale. They’ve created innovative products, that in many cases the companies they are selling to are completely unaware they exist never mind understand their value. This lack of understanding of Enterprise 2.0 by most companies makes demand creation a requirement for a Enterprise 2.0 to be successful.
Enterprise 2.0 demands a strong, effective sales team, and sales process. They need to learn to engage the complex buying cycles of large companies. They need to learn account management as well as the transactional sale. The need to be able to create demand, where demand doesn’t exist.
Defrag, Enterpirse 2.0 conference and other conferences would do well by offering marketing, sales and business development. They should bring in folks like Paul Dunay author Facebook Marketing for Dummies, or Jill Konrath author of Selling to Big Companies. They need to provide more insight and information on the challenges of sales and marketing to driving revenue. It’s too critical to this budding business not to.
Enterprise 2.0 companies can’t make it without sales. These tracts will be packed, because the companies that figure it out first will win.
And everyone wants to win!