It’s not a totally crazy idea. It might even be where we’re inevitably headed. In any case, it’s worth pondering, if for no other reason because doing so would remove so much expense from a business. (Anybody need some extra cash to invest?)
In fact, what got me thinking about the possibility of eliminating sales management was being told by the CEO of one of my clients that he was going to ignore my suggestion to hire a sales manager. “Don’t need one,” he said. “My CRM system is my sales manager. “Hmmmm… Since I had a hand in designing their sales process, and helped map it into their CRM, and preached incessantly how a good process supported by a solid CRM system ensured great discipline and accountability in the sales force, it was a bit tough to argue.
To that, add the power of today’s technology-based collaboration tools. This company has an internal wiki for sales best practices and tools that the sales team continuously updates and uses. It’s like an electronic mentor. No, it IS an electronic mentor.
And there’s more. This outfit is also hell-bent on using technology-based collaboration tools (dare I say e-Rep) to sell more. This led them to learn a lot about blogs and social media. Lo and behold! Things like LinkedIn groups and the comment streams on sales blogs provide a whole ‘nother universe of sales mentorship. It’s not only huge, it provides a perspective that is vastly better, broader and more innovative than even the best sales manager/mentor.
I won’t claim to have just presented a bullet-proof rationale for firing all the sales managers, BUT… I am convinced that well-designed, properly used techno tools CAN indeed be applied to ensure effective discipline, accountability and mentorship. Tell me again the three key tasks of a sales manager.
What do you think? Am I on to something here?