Argues that technology should be used to assist individual salespeople, not to control or replace them
The days when a salesperson could carry the company catalog around in his or her head have disappeared. From high-tech to low-tech industries, today's salesperson often represents thousands of products available in countless permutations. According to Thomas Siebel and Michael Malone, although more than 500 companies are rushing to market with information technology to aid millions of salespeople worldwide, these systems are destined to fail. Why? Because, the authors argue, they focus only on improving efficiency, rather than on increasing the effectiveness of the selling process.Instead, Siebel and Malone demonstrate the need to incorporate Sales Force Automation (SFA) within an overall philosophy that supports the sales force by fully informing sales reps to assist them in real selling, not just data recording and analysis. The authors show how this new vision, called Virtual Selling, will spearhead a new generation of SFA design to provide powerful tools - from opportunity management systems and marketing encyclopedias to product configurations and team selling across multiple distribution channels - which will enhance customer contact and heighten the effectiveness of the sales representative.