What 2.0 Really Means: Two-Directional Communication

Updated: June 03, 2009

That's all well and good, but I think it misses the point. I was speaking to Matthew Greeley, the CEO of BrightIdea, when the real definition of 2.0 technology struck me. (BrightIdea, by the way, works in what might be called the Innovation 2.0 space - and I'll explain what that means in a second).

In reality, in all these scenarios, the 2.0 stands for something very simple that unites many of these ideas, and it has nothing to do with a new "version" of any of them. The 2.0, I believe, indicates the direction ideas and data flow in any of these ideas - there are now two directions to CRM, to sales, to running your company, to innovation. Both sides of the equation are equally important, and both have input into the final result of any transaction.

A great example is BrightIdea, which markets tools for allowing customer input to influence product development. Innovation is quietly gaining importance again (I'll write later about the "innovation cycle" that our economy goes through; it's an interesting pattern that underlays a lot of the more obvious economic indicators), and companies are realizing that having unique products based on what customers really want is a massive competitive advantage. So, should this all come from a laboratory hidden away on a corporate campus - or should companies tap into their customers, who are already making great suggestions? BrightIdea helps rationalize this process and provides a process to allow it to happen - in essence, opening that second channel of communication back into the company from the customer.

CRM 2.0 is very similar - it's about the customer conversation and actually listening to it. Almost comedically, many companies only realized that listening was a good idea because bad things were being said about them; pain often motivates action. But smart organizations realize that by becoming part of the conversation (and not just eavesdropping) they can build better relationships with consumers, and by actually listening they can play an authentic role in the conversation that will foster the loyalty and repeat sales that CRM has been promising for a long time.

Sales 2.0 is an environment created by the customer's ability to know as much as the salesperson thanks to the Internet - suddenly, sales becomes a two-way channel. Sales rep who choose to remain ignorant of the new power of the customer are going to become increasingly impotent; sales pros who get it, who look at their companies in the same way of companies, and are prepared to communicate on a more honest and fact-based level are going to thrive - and build better relationships with their customers.

Even Business 2.0 fits this pattern. Business 2.0 gets away from the top-down hierarchy and begins to view contributions and decisions from around the organization as increasingly important. The 1.0 way - one voice, telling the rest of the organization what to do - is becoming a thing of the past.

Featured Research
  • Are You Using These 8 CRM Features?

    One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to their CRM software is the features they don’t use. This happens because they invest in CRM with a handful of problems in mind, so they’re content as long as it solves them. But if you want to maximize your ROI, you should be utilizing every feature available to you. more

  • 2017 CRM Software Cost Guide

    Would you believe that 89% of businesses expect to compete primarily on customer service in the upcoming years? With that in mind, it’s no surprise that CRM software is becoming such an integral part of business operations. But not all solutions are created equally, especially when it comes to the value they deliver to your business. more

  • Top 10 Trends in CRM for 2017

    There’s some big things happening with CRM software that you should to be aware of. Technological advancements and changes to business processes have led to developments and new features that are making CRM more valuable than ever. Things like mobile capabilities and greater integration with other software are at the front of this progress. more

  • SMB CRM Providers Comparison Guide

    A good SMB CRM system can be an incredibly valuable asset for your business. As more businesses recognize this value, the amount of SMB CRM vendors is expanding quickly. Navigating the pricing plans, features, and service terms of all these can be a decision-making nightmare. more

  • CRM and Contact Center Integration

    One of the best ways to improve your customer service is to integrate your CRM and contact center software. Benefits of doing this include:Improved customer satisfaction through more personalized contacts, Better conversions on lead, and Increased employee productivity. more