Thought I would share the bones of a coffee chat I enjoyed with a beloved client a while ago, because the theme of one particular topic seems to crop up on a semi regular basis currently.

I reckon that both the consumer and the B2B worlds are going app crazy these days. I am continually surprised by what you can download apps to do. And many are free! But the common theme underpinning their staggeringly wide range of functions is to make our life convenient, quick and informed. Apps for music streaming, apps for navigation, apps for weather forecasts. And a gazillion other things.

But some outcomes we look for simply cannot be conceived without some good old fashioned thinking grunt. Back to my chat with my client. We were discussing the journey planning apps that are nowadays provided by the cloud based CRM vendors (eg Zoho, Perenso, Salesforce, Sugar et al) to enable the Sales Exec to switch on the tablet each morning and be confronted with the itinerary, customer and prospect visits, sequence, timeslots, addresses, visit objectives et al for the day.

Sounds “sexy”… and these apps overlaid on the CRM, as they appear on the tablet screen, certainly look sexy. But is this truly effective … or simply just convenient, quick and information easy?

Ask yourself this question.

Who, how and what determines the customers and prospects to be visited, the sequence and timeslots? Is it each individual Sales Exec, “masterminding” the territory/portfolio to the best of his/her ability? Or is it the same Sales Exec doing so, by following the guidelines and methodology of a dynamic sales system, in the same way as all colleagues in the whole team are doing?

When considering the attraction of these sorts of apps, don’t be lulled into thinking the app is going to “do the journey planning for the Sales Exec”. Ultimately, the thinking has to go in at the front end. One of the golden rules of best of breed sales team optimisation rears its beautiful head here…

There are some elements vital to optimising the sales team that you do not let individual team members determine for themselves, in their own idiosyncratic way. Classification of customers and prospects for targeting and associated journey planning are two. Build a dynamic Sales System that continuously does it for them, so that they can focus on what they should … that “hour in the sunshine “ when they turn up at the right place, the right time, for the right reason, with the right value proposition.