The Year 2012…Sales Matter even for Web Startups

It happened.

I finally got a sales call from LinkedIn $LNKD. It only took 9 years. I guess the ‘funnel’ of web optimization and no human interaction is coming to an end for the big guys.

I can imagine the inside sales manager at LinkedIn saying to an appointment setter, ‘Who is this Lindzon dude and why is he not paying!’

The years 2010 and 2011 were a gimme. If you survived it you got off easy or you were an employee at Twitter or Facebook.

BUT, market indexes are lower across the board. The stock market is a leading indicator (even in it’s broken state). That means the big money is forecasting a tough sales environment as most companies have by now cut costs to the bone. Most large corporations have been hoarding cash.

In 2012, I therefore expect huge expenditures towards sales and acquisitions. Not everyone can or will play this game. The year 2012 will be a huge shakeout year with huge opportunities as well.

I sense the urgency. I am living it myself.

Apple is winning because they are not just a great product organization, they are a relentless sales organization.

The last great technology sales company pre Apple of 2004, was Microsoft. Microsoft had to do it all. They had to spend on actual packaging, distribution, marketing (retail channel, trade shows), advertising, shipping, manuals etc. They had to do it for the consumer and the enterprise. They owned it.

Compare these two companies to anything you see today and you realize how sales and marketing have changed. We have gotten soft.

There is Apple and there is EVERYTHING else.

When we look back at the glory years of the web – 2010 and 2011 – I think the word ‘funnel’ will be looked at as the true ‘bubble’ term.

The year 2012 will be about extending the web funnel through hard core human interaction – not just optimizing your website. That will involve persistence, even chasing. I intend to learn as much as I can stretching out the sales department of LinkedIn to see how hard they will push me for a few bucks.

Stay tuned.

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