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I am NOT a Barcode + You Are Not a Gadget

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It’s amazing how much you can learn about sales effectiveness by being a ‘victim’ of practices which badly miss the mark. For me, it last happened at Dreamforce. It’s an amazing conference, showcasing some of the latest + greatest tools for sales people. But tools, by themselves, don’t ensure sales effectiveness. It’s all about how you use them. It’s all about the kinds of experiences you create.

IMO, great tools incorporate this premise into their design; they purposely affect how people behave. Profoundly innovative tools take this a step further; such tools nudge people to change how they behave by giving them a clear sense of the relationships between their actions + their impacts. They provoke users to produce better results.

So, with such tools on display, and being used, what happened to make me a ‘victim’? Someone stepped in front of me and asked ‘can I scan you’? She got to NO fast. I couldn’t offer my NO fast enough.

Sales productivity is not a gadget, nor is it guaranteed by tools. Optimizing sales productivity is a process, not a sea of buttons. It requires creativity, with testing and feedback that enables an on-going quest for excellence. I’m a huge fan of profoundly innovative tools in this space that make it all possible.

Having said that, as others more enamored than me with the power of process automation press on with admonitions for sales people to automate, automate, automate, let me cry out for sales people to, instead, learn, learn, learn. Authentically, not automatically.

Be real. Be engaging, Be curious. Spark my curiousity. Learn about me + my situation. Help me learn how you could help me improve my business. Create value for me. Do so + you’ll earn time with me. When you create a Return-on-Effort for me as a buyer, you’ll get a chance to create a Return-on-Effort for yourself as seller. Until then, expect me to say NO as my automatic reply to your overtures to me.

I am not a barcode.You are not a gadget.
Don’t scan me. Engage me.

My thanks to Jaron Lanier for sparking some of these thoughts. His book, You Are Not a Gadget, is an important read for those of us in the Kool Aid business who may need reminding of the impacts we’re able to have from the future we’re looking to create.

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4 Responses to I am NOT a Barcode + You Are Not a Gadget

  1. outsidetechnologies says:

    John: you've hit on an important topic in sales. Technology developers understandably push technology, but they're less adept at how to embed it strategically. A book I'm currently reading describes this phenomena in a warfare scenario. At the beginning of WWII, the French, Germans, and British all had battle tanks. The British didn't understand how to use them. The French focused on building the Maginot line. Only the Germans understood how to combine the weapon with air power, and land assault in the form of a blitzkreig.

    The parallels to selling are huge. Many companies dabble with technology, and don't combine it operationally with other technologies. For example, the companies that have made effective use of information technology and social media-Dell, Netflix, Zappos-have been far more successful than those that have just "tested the waters."

  2. Shanto says:

    Hi John,

    Great insight, there is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness.


  3. John Cousineau, CEO, innovativeinfo says:

    Tibor: Thxs for your feedback. IMO the combination of the two = productivity. - John

  4. John Cousineau, CEO, innovativeinfo says:

    Andy: Great point. Lots of folks out there with tons of skill in the ART of sales OR the SCIENCE of selling. Firms than can skillfully combine the two have an enormous advantage. - John

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