Will salespeople and managers ever demand their company acquire a sales metrics system or will the sale always be a 'need' created by the technology companies themselves? Currently, there is little or no demand by the sales force for the company to acquire the technology. The sale of sales metrics technology is driven not by demand from the field, but rather by the push of the technology companies to create the need in senior management.
If you examine the literature and discussions on the subject, you find that virtually everything written-from the articles to the blogs to the commentary on the blogs is written by those with a vested interest in the sale of the product-developers and tech consultants. Seldom do you run across anything, including interviews, by the product's users or those who would be users.
The question, then, is this an indication that the technology is so new that its existence hasn't been recognized by the end user-or is it an indication that the product isn't viewed by the end user as having any real value for them?
The answer to that question will ultimately determine the success or failure of the technology. CRM has been a top down decision with senior management determining it to be of value and then finding resistance at the user level because the user hasn't found personal value in the technology.
Is sales metrics technology headed in the same direction? Unless the industry can create awareness and demand at the salesperson and front-line manager level, it may well be that the technology will end up with the same reputation with salespeople as CRM-accepted and welcomed by a few, resented and misunderstood by the majority.
Investing time and energy to get independent voices-from salespeople to managers to trainers and coaches acquainted with the technology and 'on-board' with its value is going to be necessary if the industry wants to turn the product from a created 'need' to a demand from the sales team for the company to invest in the product.
The alternative is to slowly build the industry through a top down sale, hoping eventually enough product will be on the market and enough salespeople will find value in the product that other salespeople will begin demanding the technology be implemented in their company. With dozens upon dozens of companies in the marketplace and more entering all the time, do product developers have the time to take a long-term approach?
The technology will continue to advance both in terms of its applicability to helping salespeople and companies increase their effectiveness and in terms of sales to companies, but how successful it ultimately becomes will be determined by how well and how quickly the developers can capture the interest and support of the end user and the trainers and coaches who influence the end user.
The Management Curve is a blog dedicated to discussion and debate about the impact sales metrics programs such as CRM, Sales Performance Management and Sales Force Automation Programs are having and will have on how the sales function is managed. Hosted by Paul McCord, the blog also features articles and commentary by other sales trainers, consultants, product developers, and the sales managers and salespeople who actually use the products.