Sales Force Automation: Friend or Fool?

May 10, 2009

I was recently asked:

“How could sales force automation (SFA) affect salesperson productivity, marketing management and competitive advantages?”

To which I resonded:

If you automate non-compelling marketing drivel in an intellectual, ineffective attempt to generate qualified leads that in turn motivates incompetent sales people to meet and/or exceed quotas blindly assigned by a narcissistic CEO you are simply accelerating the pace at which the marketplace discovers the weaknesses in your offerings and you all get re-acquainted with

Most SFA implementations I endured as a sales person became little more than expensive spreadsheet-producing torture devices whose manipulation and hourly generation were used by confused and inept sales managers to justify their further isolation from their staff.

These same managers then used the 87 different reports as enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) to cajole inflated pipeline guesses out of their scared, under-quota sales people during weekly sales beatings meetings.

The answers the sales staff gave – and the managers accepted – reminded me of Darren Stephens explaining to his boss on “Bewitched” why he had a monkey wearing a tutu riding a donkey in his living room.

During the boom-boom years of the late 90’s and early 2000’s most companies didn’t have to sell because people spent money more freely than drunken politicians on a Madoff junket investigating the viability of franchising Nevada brothels.

Instead of looking inward to see who and what needs to be reassigned or released, companies turn to SFA platforms in a technological attempt to cure what ails them. But rotten eggs carried in a Rolls Royce still can’t be used to bake an award-winning cake.

Now the good news: “Perfect practice makes perfect,” as Vince Lombardi used to say. If you create and automate tested, effective, constantly-updated marketing campaigns with proven “next steps” that are triggered by key events, i.e. a prospect downloads a free report or white paper, signs up for a webinar, requests a quote, your sales staff will become exponentially more productive and profitable because they will be spending more time with educated, hot leads ready to buy rather than chasing “investigators” and “SeeMores” who cannot make a decision.

When you spend less time educating and more time connecting with decision-makers that are able to buy sales cycles are shortened.

And in sales it’s all about compressing sales cycles.

If you can do more, faster and better with fewer people you will bury your competition and dominate your field and you’ll do so despite working less hours than your competition, charging higher prices, selling at higher margin, with less stress and more fun.

It’s all about automating the proper message to market to media match. How fast do you want to bury your competition? Contact me if you’d like to start today.