Sales 2.0. That’s the latest buzzword for sales management. It’s the next silver bullet. It’s going to solve all of our problems we have managing and directing a sales force. Or will it?
Back in 1990- twenty years ago- before the advent of the modern information highway, Michael Schrage, author of Shared Minds wrote:
“ . . . the very existence of electronic communication has perpetuated the myth that it will lead to better communication. Managers think that if they put in e-mail and Lotus notes, there will be better communication. That is propaganda. If you are not a good communicator without electronic technology, you won’t become a good communicator just because you use the technology. Changing how you dispense information does not change behavior. Managers first need to rethink how they manage communication and understand that they need to learn how to structure relationships, not information.”
The CEO of a cancer treatment facility was asked if the advent of robotic surgery was helping surgery outcomes. His response was, “We find that it doesn’t improve outcomes the way we hoped- the better surgeons still have better outcomes and the others are still not quite as good. The robots don’t improve bad surgeons, because it’s basically garbage-in, garbage-out (as scary as that sounds).”
The results of implementing Sales 2.0 will probably be the same- the better salespeople will still be better and the others will still struggle and constantly be hit with sticks and carrots to conform. It’s the same old battle- just a new thing to fight over- in this case, Sales 2.0.
The fundamental flaw in this management thinking is the latest fad will solve “the problem”. But why didn’t the previous fad solve the problem? Probably because many executives don’t understand the real problem, as Michael Schrage pointed out: “ … they need to learn to structure relationships, not information”.