Last Monday, or 100 years ago in Twitter time, I attended the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston.  While at Jigsaw, I was the first corporate sponsor of the 6-year-old event, and as such took on the role of regular speaker, promoter and general rabble rouser/ foil to the event host, Gerhard Gschwandtner. As the founder of Jigsaw it was understood that I was a thought leader and innovator in the world of sales- so I didn’t have to actually say or do anything particularly insightful as I rubbed shoulders with the rest of the self titled “Sales 2.0 Mafia” and their corporate customers.  Even though it has been three years since I left that industry, I assumed that I could waltz in and retake my place at the altar, all the while pimping my new gig at ScanBizCards (SBC)….

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there have actually been some pretty dramatic changes to the sales world since 2010. Before I even landed in Boston, my recently dusted off Twitter account was lighting up with messages from the likes of Koka Sexton (Social Media guy at Linked In). It turns out that my once revolutionary tactic of Linking In with all the other sponsors and speakers pre- event is neither white hat or black hat marketing, but simply old hat. A quick perusal of the experts’ talks revealed that the rest of the world is hip to the fact that “the pitch is dead” and “sales enablement with thought leader content delivered through social channels” (yikes- what does that even mean?) is all the rage.

Slightly humbled, I decided to show up the night before and eat dinner with some friendlies- Larissa Gschwandtner and David DeStefano from The Richardson Company. In a testament to the new social world order, we were quickly joined by 10 other sales and marketing folks, including none other than the aforementioned social guru Koka! I figured out that he had “38” (as in thousand) Linked In followers- what what whaht?

The next day was filled with similar learnings, which I will bullet point as a nod to the fact that this is like 10 times 140 characters:

  • Ken Powell from SunGard implemented 5 major Sales 2.0 solutions in 6 weeks

  • Gamification has gone enterprise with cool companies like Bunchball and Hoopla

  • Video is the new sales communication medium and Personify has some crazy cool technology

  • I am old as sh^t

Thankfully, I didn’t head for the hills, but hung around the entire day talking to anyone that wandered within ten feet of me.  And sure enough, after I harangued them into downloading SBC (get it free for 3 months at scanbizcards.com/sales20), I realized that at the base of it, sales is still all about making a personal connection. All the social media and technology in the world cannot replace the good old fashioned face-to-face conversation, and exchanging business cards at the end still adds an acknowledgement and validation of that personal connection. When I left the event at 10PM, I realized that the old axiom of “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” was in full effect.