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From Gerhard Gschwandtner’s opening remarks this morning, (prior to PgI’s Peter Stewart’s keynote), it’s clear that the main thrust of the Sales 2.0 Conference is about the big switch, in the eyes of sales and marketing, from the corporate ecosystem to the customer ecosystem. Companies have been talking about customer-centricity, and doing customer-centric business since the early ’90s, but only recently, have they been able to really walk it like they talk it.

This shift was best profiled in the first four chapters of Paul Greenberg’s CRM At The Speed Of Light. Essentially, what this philosophical shift (or, really a paradigm shift) means is that we’re shifting from a 1980s mentality – the company is the center of the ecosytem  – to a 21st century mentality – that the customer is the center of the ecosystem, and that all other pieces revolve around them – the brand, suppliers, vendors, sales channels. My partner, Jacob Morgan, (the author of Twittfaced) wrote a nice blog post encapsulating Greenberg’s keynote from SugarCon, earlier this year, that focused on this subject.

When it all comes down, customers are looking for “a company like me.” There are three imperatives for sales professionals, in creating a customer ecosystem:

  1. Give the social customer the tools to make their own experience
  2. Give the social customer the information that allows them to make informed empowering choices and thus provide value.
  3. Sales professionals must understand how the social customer interacts with you at every point and in every channel.

If you can evaluate everything you’re hearing today through this lens, you’ll be in good shape, in transitioning your business from the corporate ecosystem to the customer ecosystem. Let’s stop giving lip service to this concept, and start connecting the social customer to products and services that remedy their urgent needs. And make some money doing it.

(Note: This post was cross-posted at the Sales 2.0 Conference Blog)