Sales organizations keep bringing in more and more sales tools but sales productivity is actually flat to declining according to recent studies. What’s going on?
The answer is actually pretty simple: Sales tools are selected by management for managers – usually without thinking of the impact on the daily life of your reps. So, you give your reps the shiny new tool, and the reps think “Great, one more thing to waste my time. Why can’t I just spend my time selling. That’s what I’m being paid to do!”
It’s no wonder that the data in a typical CRM is not much better than a heap of trash. There’s nothing in it for the reps. Nothing to make their ability to sell easier, faster, or simpler.
If we want to improve sales productivity, we need to put a fresh set of eyes on the problem because it’s clear that focusing solely on the needs of sales managers is not actually solving the problem. We need to think from the “front line” back. What can we put in the hands of our reps to make them sell better? Because, what’s good for reps, is good for their managers.
Sorry, I have to say that this is totally off the mark. I run a sales management consulting business and I can tell you success isn’t driven by the reps: Without a rigorous process in place most reps fail. The answer isn’t less process and paperwork. It’s more (but only of the right kind of course).
While I am all for keeping records, filling out cards, making reports-old school, sales2.0, whatever, here’s how it comes down; the deals are made one deal at a time. You can’t get them done any faster.(and no, I am not actually referring to those deals you make at your local Wal-Mart) Each deal requires a certain amount of paperwork,(be it online or offline) and yes, you should keep it to a minimum, and I am not going to argue with Tom, Dick, or Henry on this, I am sure they all have their own reasons for the kind of records they wish to keep. We are doing it at our company as well, and sales people, or the management for that matter, aren’t always happy about that, but records must be kept. Ok, so where’s the “beef” you might ask; well, I’ll tell you, it’s in the relationship between the sales manager and the sales person. If the sales process is either sales manager driven or sales person driven, and in fact which they are for the most part-believe me on this-no amount of computers, apps, or old shool record keeping, will help. On the other hand, when that relationship is tight, and on a good day, you do not any apps or other sales 2.0 stuff to make deals.