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Technology Is No Substitute For Thinking

by David Brock on July 15th, 2012

There are a lot of great technologies that can become indispensable to sales professionals.  Great sites to research things going on in our markets and with our customers, CRM tools, playbooks, and all sorts of other sales aids.  Each of these can help magnify our impact and effectiveness with customers.  They can help make us much more productive and accomplish a lot more each day, week, month.

However, I’m often amused by some of the emails or telephone calls I get.  It’s as if technology has run amuck.  Likewise, when I review things sales people are doing, I see terrible errors.

Technology is very powerful, but incorrectly applied, it enables us to make terrible mistakes at the speed of light.  We can do terribly dumb or thoughtless things.  We can seriously compromise our relationships with customers or the ability to connect with prospects.

Sales is a thinking person’s profession, yet too many sales professionals don’t think.  Whether for some strange sense of expediency or out of sheer laziness, sales people do stupid things.  Meaningless, “Dear occupant emails” sent by the thousands, blindly following scripts or playbooks without bothering to understand what we are trying to achieve.  We have tools that allow us to script sales calls, generate proposals, automate our responses to customers.  We have tools that dial telephones, or that cause customers endless hassle navigating “Press * if you want to speak to a human being.”

These tools are supposed to enhance our ability to connect with customers and to create value, along with improving our efficiency.  However, blindly applied, they do the opposite.  Customers recognize these thoughtless messages, not only rejecting them, but resenting them.  It’s pretty easy to read the intent behind the same “personalized” email I get 5 versions of, “Dear David, Dear Dave, Dear Brock, Dear DA, Dear Excellence.”  I suppose getting 5 of these customized emails is supposed to make me feel really good about the sender.  They must really care, since they sent the same thing, 5 times to some odd “identities.”

High performers are “thoughtful”  in all senses of the word.  They are considerate of the customer–respecting their time and wanting to create value in every interchange.  They are thoughtful in the sense that they think and plan.  They look at everything they do, inspecting it:  Is this the most effective thing to do with the customer at this point in time?  Will this be using their time well, create value and set me apart from the competitors?  Will this help improve my impact and effectiveness?

High performers leverage technology to help accelerate and amplify what they are trying to achieve.  They respect and use technology, but see it as support, not a substitute to being thoughtful.

How are you applying technology?

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