Let’s Say This Again, One More Time, With Feeling: Robo-selling Does Not Create A Relationship With The Customer

~rant on~
RobotIn a post earlier today, the usually-on-the-money Jim Berkowitz at the CRM Mastery blog had a post entitled “Turning Sales Into Science” that spotlighted a number of emerging technologies that are (according to Berkowtiz Inc.’s Alex Salkever) going to “launch your sales force into the future” and “turn a sales operation into a gleaming high-tech machine.”


First off…sales should be about the customer, not the technology.
Secondly…actually, there is no “secondly.” Sales should be about the customer, period.

Now, Salkever’s list has a number of points that require comment.

AS: “If you’ve already won a client’s trust, it ought to be relatively easy to sell him or her more stuff.”

Yes, indeed. If you can fake sincerity, you are golden. And that’s right…it’s not about helping the customer solve a problem, it’s about the stuff!

AS: “Now, for the first time, smaller businesses can afford to send automated phone messages to targeted clients. With these products , a salesperson or business owner calls a toll-free number and records a brief message with a sales pitch. The message is uploaded to the Internet and broadcast using a voice over Internet protocol system to anywhere from a dozen to thousands of customers.”

Greeeeeaaaat. I, for one, would like to welcome our robot overlords.

AS: “Make the buyers come to you.”

Yes, because I certainly know that I love it when vendors make me do things. I really do!

Gah, blech, ick, etcetera, etcetera. The rest of the post is all about the shiny tools that sales folks can use to automate tasks and further dehumanize the customer-vendor interaction. And so forth.
~rant off~

I need my moment of Zen. Ah, here’s one. And here’s another. And one more.

Update: As pointed out in the comments, apologies to Jim Berkowitz, who was excerpting this article by Alex Salkever in the above. The post above has been updated to reflect the correct attribution where necessary.

4 Replies to “Let’s Say This Again, One More Time, With Feeling: Robo-selling Does Not Create A Relationship With The Customer”

  1. Christopher, first off, the very first line of my weblog post yesterday attributed the article to Alex Salkever who wrote it for INC. magazine. There’s also a link to the original source INC. article. Although it is not always easy, I am meticulous about giving proper credit to the people who create original works on the web. I would suggest that someone who writes such a well respected weblog (as you do) should be more careful about giving credit where credit is due.

    With that said, I was also very disappointed in your entire diatribe. Of course technology can’t directly make a customer do anything like being loyal, buying more, etc. BUT, technology can be an enabler to achieving these goals. Either you are a technophobe or maybe someone who just isn’t able to comprehend how technology can help a sales professional. I personally have reviewed or used a number of the products listed in this article I found them to be great tools. I’m sorry that you aren’t able to understand this or to share their potential value with your readers.

  2. >Either you are a technophobe

    heh. that’s funny. quite the contrary, i think i could actually still pull up some of the 6502 assembler opcodes if i needed to. ($EA was no-op (NOP), if i remember correctly).

    >or maybe someone who just isn’t able to comprehend how technology can help a sales professional.

    also misses the mark. i see technology as a tool and an enabler, not something to be revered, as was the tone that salkever put forth in his article.

  3. Christopher

    Having read the Berkowitz article, I can’t help in agreeing with your synopsis. Tools are a great enabler used well, but sales, real sales, is much more about people, about relationships and about trust. That is particularly the case in complex B2B or B2B2C sales.

    All of the robust, independent, large-scale studies of what drives success in CRM – whether marketing, sales or service – show unequivocally that CRM systems are NOT a critical success factor in CRM success.

    Anyone who doubts the critical importance of people, relationships and trust as the real drivers of sales should look at the Special Edition of HBR in July 2006 that was all about sales. It was all about, you’ve guessed it… people, relationships and trust.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

    PS. Mr Berkowitz appears unhappy with anyone expressing dissent. I see in his resume that he hasn’t actually held any sales management positions. But he has held many technology management positions. Now what was that about when the only tool you have is a hammer…?

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