A well-known book stated that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but I sometimes get the feeling that this expression applies equally well to many sales people and their managers. Each group often has a different perception of how sales should be run, with the sales people believing that individual initiative and strengths are the basis of successful sales while sales executives believe that the process is extremely important and then complemented by the strengths of the individuals. This can lead to conflict when management attempts to bring in sales force automation for their particular situation, be it prospecting software, lead management software or telesales software. Yet, as discussed in a previous blog, the gains that can be realized from sales force automation should not be ignored.
Perhaps the conflict comes down to different interpretations of what is trying to be accomplished with sales force automation software. Sales people may see it as an attempt to turn them into virtual robots where they lose their individuality and become interchangeable with the person beside them. They will often fight against this, leading to poor adoption of software and reduced gains. It needs to be clear that the goal is to automate processes and not to completely stamp out individuality. By automating certain tried-and-true processes a sales force automation system should actually be freeing up the sales person’s time for the things that really matter. The ultimate goal is to allow individuals to shine. For example, when management introduces next-best-lead routing and auto-dialing in an appointment setting software the goal is to cut out wasted time in the sales process and allow the sales person to get into more conversations where their skills matter the most.
The most flexible software solutions offer management automation capabilities while still leaving room for individual contributions. For example, in VanillaSoft management can determine the main contact list but allow sales people to then build their own individual routing queues within the master database. This offers the best of both worlds: management controls the process while allowing salespeople individual choice without sacrificing productivity and automation gains.
So when you are considering software for your sales team, keep in mind that ensuring your salespeople understand the objectives behind the new software will be key to its successful implementation.