Customer 2.0 – What’s Changed?

Are your customers behaving differently now than they were 5-10 years ago? Is Customer 2.0 real? Are they super-frazzled? What say you? I’d love your opinion.

I’m not sure if it’s because I just read SNAP Selling again or because I keep seeing the words Customer 2.0 on InsideView’s blog but I’m starting to thoroughly believe in Customer 2.0 (aka prospects suffering from Frazzled Customer Syndrome).

One of my biggest data points is looking outside my office at the people outside (I’m in a shared office environment so it’s not me affecting my team). Every day seems to be a panic. Every day people run by in some sort of “headless chicken mode”. I thought it was just the effect of the 2009 on everyone’s wallet and mental health but as we approach 2011 it has not changed much. If these people represent our customers then no wonder we have a hard time getting their attention.

What’s caused this in your opinion? The Internet? Did Google change us all? Did “having a computer on every desk” change us (Bill Gates’s mission)? How about connecting them all together (“the network is the computer” – Sun Microsystems’s mission)? Did having access to all this global knowledge make us want to perform at a higher level? Do we push ourselves to always produce more – once it’s possible we want to be more efficient? Do we want to use the “new shiny objects” to push ourselves to new levels of productivity (and stress)?

Or do you vote for Customer 2.0 being a figment of sales experts’ and software companies’ imaginations? Is this just a temporary effect of the economic cycle? Once we get back to steady growth will we all calm down? Will we put away our Blackberry’s and iPhones or at least stop glancing at them during face-to-face meetings or when we’re having dinner with our spouse.

Do your prospects have less time than ever? Do they have more to do than ever? Do they have more projects to execute and less resources and less budget and less people than ever? Will this change when the economy turns around? Or not? What do you think?

So how the heck do we get through to Customer 2.0? How do we cut through all the noise and stress in our heads? What makes you/them pay attention to anything any more?

Is content everything as so many brilliant marketing colleagues suggest? Does a great email title or white paper title grab your attention enough to get that company in your office? Does anything else influence why you meet with someone and consider buying something (I know it’s rare these days to meet anyone belly-to-belly but please think about it)?

What gets you into someone’s office? What works? A great series of emails? A white paper that they loved and then invited you in as soon as you called? They read your blog and were so blown away that they called you and asked you to come see them?

How about relationships? Do you meet with people your friends tell you are worth meeting? Do you meet with people your business peers recommend to you as having worked on similar projects? How important is trust to you when deciding to let someone sit across the desk from you?

OK my question mark key is almost worn out. But really please jump in and let me know your thoughts on any one of these points. This is important stuff and I’m looking to learn from everyone in the sales and marketing community. I’m processing some ideas so I could use your help.

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