During a recent sales training event a spirited debate started to rage regarding the relative merits of today’s sales technology, as manifested in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
I‘ll bet you can’t guess who said, “Technology (CRM)
limits my natural sales skills and wastes productive selling time.” On the other hand, who extorted the virtues of technology and stated, “It’s the future and you better embrace it or you still are the guy with a bunch of VHS tapes collecting dust in your closet?”
You’re probably right on both counts; the former were the seasoned sales professionals not wanting to be hemmed in by technology and the latter were the new generation betting everything on speed and scalability. Images swirled in my head of Wile E. Coyote using various technology driven contraptions to catch the faster road runner. But in fact did he ever catch him?
As the discussion took a rather black and white tact, I was shocked that both perspectives missed the concept of achieving a sense of balance.
The seasoned pros were worried that their creativity, flexibility, individuality and indeed personality would be lost in the technological morass. Conversely, the new generation was convinced emails, voice mails, go to meetings, video conferences, social networking and web sites etc. were the key to selling in today’s market place.
The reality is the best sales professionals pull unabashedly from both worlds.
There is and will always be a need for relationship building, personal presentations and face to face contact with customers. Over use of technology removes an important part of solidifying and enhancing the sales process especially in larger deals.
Statistics demonstrate people still buy from people and those with the best interpersonal skills including the ability to listen and ask great questions still have a significant leg up.
Having said that, the marvelous technology as manifested in various CRM industry leading systems (Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, etc.) is the enabling tool that allows the ability to track the voluminous amount of information required to compete and win.
One common behavior we see in high performing sales teams is an environment where generations feed off one another. This collaboration accelerates adaptation of best practice sales methods and the latest sales technology solutions.
Copyright © 2014 Dave Neal
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