The New Sales Dichotomy: Autonomy versus Collaboration



Of course we expect our salespeople to be self-driven, self-managing and independent (in fact aren’t those qualities we look for at the hiring stage?)

However, we also – and now more than ever – expect them to communicate and collaborate with us and also with their fellow team members.

We managers can’t get a good insight if our salespeople aren’t communicating about, and logging call and account activities into CRM.

But here is that dichotomy: How can we get that insight we need – and the total visibility – when there is such poor CRM adoption, which is driven a great deal by this independence streak?

We must find a way to change attitudes, and the only way to do that is by providing processes and tools that are non-obtrusive and actually provide value to front-line sales professionals based on their natural inclination to be independent.

I cannot think of an example where this is a bigger problem, than with external salespeople.  Much of what we put in front of them from a technology stand-point just adds complexity which further exacerbates the problem.

Now the good news: New tools like Salespod that are designed for mobile devices are changing all of that: The form factor and the “functionality-factor” (always-on, always-connected, geo-tagging) provide an obstruction-free mechanism for communication and collaboration.

We are now living in a mobile age and we have two simple choices: Adapt and thrive, or do nothing and lose ground on the competition, who may already have this all worked out.


News: Many thanks for all the messages following Saturday’s post announcing the 2013 Top Sales World team for 2013 – if you missed it, do please scroll down.


Over on Top Sales World today we are promoting a brand new guide from Nancy Nardin “Top Sales Productivity Tools 2013″- you can download your FREE copy here Top Sales World 


  1. says

    You raise a very good point – sales people are competitive and highly likely to be working to incentive schemes. Why would a sales person wish to pass on and share knowledge if it was detrimental to them ‘winning’?

    The way I see it, the trend towards informal learning through online resources lends itself particularly well to self-starting, motivated sales people and collaboration is the next logical step. Sharing valuable data between peers and colleagues enables sales people to gain superior knowledge on prospects and routes to success. I completely agree with you that attitudes need to change, however, I believe that autonomy and collaboration shouldn’t be pitched against each other, as your title suggests. Skills sets of sales people are changing and this can be attributed to the dynamic and digital landscape we’re operating in.

    Most customers have researched their purchases and are becoming informed, ‘mini-experts’ at the point of purchase. Today’s sales people must ensure they still know more than their buyer. Collaboration and sharing information produces more knowledgeable teams and buyers recognize and appreciate the difference. Knowledge is sales power and when sales people are supported by robust technology that allows them access to a wealth of data at their fingertips they will thrive.

    On an additional note, CRM systems won’t be used if they aren’t compatible with the way people work. Integrating them throughout processes, as well as platforms and hardware is the only way to ensure take-up. Many companies have already invested in both CRM systems and sales processes. In taking up additional single point solutions there is a danger of ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’! Through smart integration it is possible to make good use of existing systems and enhance what is already in place.

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