The question a leader must ask themselves is, “If someone else was given the resources in my charge, would they produce a better result?”
The idea of efficiency in sales consumes us. Much of what masquerades as sales development and improvement is directed towards efficiency—not effectiveness.
To achieve greater efficiency, we have redesigned the roles required to acquire a customer into ever thinner slices of responsibility. Frederick Winslow Taylor would have applauded this decision, recognizing the specialization of the function as a way to create greater efficiency.
There are now “salespeople” whose only role is to “qualify” their “leads” and prospects, something that isn’t often perceived as valuable to the person being qualified.
There are more choices of mediums available to salespeople all the time, while none of the options have been eliminated or have “disappeared” (as some have stated, and some have wished). The choices include face-to-face meetings, video-enabled meetings, video messaging, web conferencing, telephone, text messaging, chat, and email.
Some mediums are more effective than others when it comes to producing certain desired outcomes, but because email is efficient, it is often chosen over all others—even when you don’t obtain the outcome.
Many things can—and likely should—be automated. Others don’t lend themselves to automation. If you want to develop a relationship with your dream client, automated emails from your marketing department aren’t likely to accomplish that goal.
Automation isn’t caring. It doesn’t say, “I was thinking of you,” or “I want you to see this because I believe it is important.” One-to-many isn’t the same as one-to-one.
The question isn’t whether or not the ideas above improve efficiency. If you measure efficiency by the time and energy it takes to do something, they all pass the test. However, were you to measure the effectiveness, you might be surprised to discover that some outcomes don’t lend themselves to being automated, like setting up a recurring order with the florist to send your wife a dozen roses on your anniversary (You can check the box, but you will not have achieved the outcome).
The effectiveness of the role might be improved, but so might the design of the roles altogether. You may be able to improve the message, but often you improve things by changing the medium. Humans are not as efficient or reliable as automation, but as long as human beings still decide, the inefficient human still does better at caring than any technology.
If you want to improve your results, look first to effectiveness and then to efficiency.