Two new pieces of recommended content are in the SMT stable today: a survey/white paper about Sales 2.0 we conducted with our partner, TechDirt, and enabled by Oracle CRM on Demand and a podcast interview with Paul Greenberg, blogger at pgreenblog and author of CRM at the Speed of Light, which Paul is now updating.   The white paper is the culmination of our survey of members of TheCustomerCollective and the input from the TechDirt insight community.  Paul took a few minutes to talk with us about CRM, Barack Obama, sushi and SAP, but the excerpt here he shares his insights about how CRM, since the advent of social media, has been co-opted by the customer.

The only thing that separates what people mean when they say “CRM 2.0” and “Sales 2.0” is the technology around product or technical support that used to be taken care of by contact centers and now can be performed by peers.  The rest of it, all those myriad "touch points," which Greenberg points out is all about the customer being in control, is of whole cloth. If I'm buying what you've got, I'm going to be able to shape the kind of relationship from “contact me this way,” to “my goals are these,” where before the “system” had to rely on my salesperson or some universal data source to frame the transaction and make it predictive.  By giving the customer the tools to shape the relationship, web 2.0 frees the salesperson to perform those tasks that he or she enjoys most: providing the “meta-data” of the deal and finalizing a sale.  It also liberates him from the thing he hates most: responsibility for customer support, which increasingly can be found from his peers.  Whether it's “Social CRM” or “Sales 2.0” the customer is going to drive the relationship with the vendor, until he finds what Greenberg calls “a company like me.”  Let's take this a step further: doesn't it make sense that the more the customer controls his relationship with the company, the more important is the role played by the salesperson.

Interestingly, the survey found that the understanding of these changes are barely understood in the "real world," offering vendors and consultants both an opportunity and a significant educational challenge.  While 83% of survey respondents felt that social networking was having a significant effect on their business, the adoption of the tools themselves, such as blogs, wikis, or social media services is still relatively low, well below 50%.

I've spent the better part of my life in sales, and one of the first things I was taught was “let the customer show the pictures of his kids; don't show yours…”  Sales 2.0 and Social CRM hold a lot of promise for customer satisfaction, and lots of photo uploads, in the future.