By Paul Field – C.O.O @ Improved Apps
Salespeople have always tended to regard themselves as tribal icons – they are, after all, the ones who feed the rest of the tribe through successful hunting or farming. Equally well, they are held responsible for those times that the tribe does not eat. So as symbols of success and scapegoats for failure, these specialists in the kill or harvest had little interest in anything else and commanded an exalted position.
Sales people were regarded as the Praetorian guard of the organisation; highly capable and highly rewarded, but subject only to the ultimate sanction of being sacrificed if they did not meet their objectives. Anything that was not central to that task of extracting money from the customers’ wallets and moving it into their company’s coffers was superfluous.
Complying with compliance
In recent years, post-Enron, the demands on businesses from regulatory bodies has increased dramatically: Compliance requirements have emerged in every area including financial reporting, revenue recognition, environmental protection, contracts, sales behaviour and just about everything else that a business engages in.
As a result, the heroic, maverick sales person has started to look increasingly anachronistic and lonely in this new heavily compliance-driven world. Regulatory demands have reached out and ensnared the hunters in the drudgery of data maintenance for reasons that they don’t care to remember and to which they pay lip (or finger!) service. Sales management often find themselves empathising with their direct reports but also knowing that they must improve their forecasting, account and contact accuracy.