Process versus human interaction

We often talk about the SALES PROCESS: milestones, approval gates, CRM, documentation, activity levels, dash boards and probabilities. We model and simplify the complex interaction between sales executive and customer to resemble a manufacturing plant assembly line. We force quality measures on the process to achieve operational excellence.

Being a Finnish sales manager and an engineer this sounds like all my dreams come true.

We forget that the process of selling enterprise solutions (especially in the US) is ultimately about human to human interaction… we try to over simplify the human factor. Sales is about building a bond of trust with your client and supporting them through the good and the bad. Its a marriage of sorts. I would not care to see the expression of my wife face if I started to model our relationship and quantify her moods using probability metrics.

Don’t get me wrong… I am not saying that tools like, Act!, SugarCRM, Gold Mine, etc. wouldn’t have their use. They are critical to managing a sales force in the modern world and accurate forecasting is essential in the quarterly economy, which we live in.
My point is that do not let your quest to impose control kill your organizations flexibility. Impose minimum legal and reporting requirements. Demand funnel updates and accurate forecast. Don’t settle behind a dashboard and think you can drive your sales… leaders lead from the front with their own example.

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