I raised a concern in my comment to Patti’s entry on the iPod Touch—the gap between sellers who are technology “have’s” and those who are technology “have-not’s.” I pointed out that, to some degree, generation gaps align with technology gaps among sellers and that those in the position of hiring sales people must include “technologically savvy” as a required skill/competency. By the way, the same goes for those hiring sales managers as well.
There is a much bigger challenge to address.
All the technology in the world isn’t going to help people who don’t have the requisite skills and, more importantly, the inherent traits, to be consistently effective sellers. We have found that 25-33% (depending on the industry) of B2B sales people aren’t qualified for the jobs they hold and neither training nor coaching will improve their performance. This is a critical problem. It is one of the root causes of the troubling statistics that CSO Insights and Sales Benchmark Index put forward in their research.
Let me elaborate on the issue of personal traits. Depending on their specific job, we know that varying proportions of these among other traits are required for a sales person to be successful: courage, tenacity, intelligence, problem solving, integrity (inward- and outwardly directed), self-motivation/drive, optimism, and competitiveness.
Do you see where I’m headed with this?
Not only does a seller have to be technologically comfortable (if not savvy) to leverage these exciting new tools and capabilities—they must have the right DNA (traits) to be a consistently effective seller, as well.
Here’s the warning
Let us not get so enamored with the promise of an anywhere-access, collaborative, content-rich, best-practices, wiki-enabled, personalized iWorld that we elevate the vision of S2.0 to the lofty position we did with CRM—that of a universal elixir.
CRM didn’t deliver on the promise because, as Donal continues to remind us, no one thought about what’s in it for the sales person.
S2.0 does hold great promise for those companies, such as Intel, that understand the importance of the 3P model—people, process and product—and have the right infrastructure in place to support a new generation of technology-enabled selling.
But for those companies that don’t, so far as improvements in sales effectiveness is concerned, S2.0 has all the business value of a kid’s video game.