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What’s the next competitive advantage for sales organizations?

Will it be a new app? A new social network? A cool website design? How about mobile payments?

No, no, no and nope.

In the last few years, we’ve had all of that, many times over. Without a doubt, technology and sales tools have a big impact on a sales organization’s results. They speed up information sharing, keep salespeople in contact with prospects, and have even made customer relationships “fun” through social networking-like software. As these platforms continue to improve – and replaced entirely by even smarter ones – we’ll probably see some incremental opportunities to sell more.

But who wants “marginal” increases in performance?

That’s why I’ve become increasingly convinced in the last few years that the next competitive advantage won’t be in gadgets and gobbledygook. It won’t be more data feeds or wider, thinner spreads of our inventories. Millions of leads after the first dis-intermediary stuck their nose between salespeople and their customers, it’s pretty clear that just dumping more junk leads onto a salesperson’s smartphone screen isn’t helpful either.

So what is?

Better management.

Yes, I said it. Management. You know, that boring, dull, classroom-stuff that, well, everybody thinks they don’t need now that they have an “app” for everything? Well, here’s one thing I know for sure: There’s no replacement code for effective executives. Not yet; not ever. After decades of automation, integration and mobilization, sales organizations around the world still run into a fundamental challenge in reaching their goals:

It’s called management for a good reason.

Salespeople are not self-managing. Organizations can’t just “muddle along” by themselves. Administrators are efficient, but not trained (or authorized) to do the work – the critical and unique work – that only managers can do. Management isn’t just an afterthought. It’s the only thought that high performing organizations have every day.

In 1954, Peter Drucker, the famous management guru wrote: “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”

In essence, that’s the job of a manager.

That’s the next competitive frontier. For decades we’ve put money, time, marketing and hope into sales tools, marketing technologies, the cloud. All helpful; but none are up to the task of telling us the right thing to do.

For that, you still need a great manager!

Smart companies are building those managers today. They’re investing the time, the education, the systems development, and mostly the long-term commitment to making their managers even better. They’re building their organizational futures by investing in the cornerstones of performance.

If you’d like a glimpse at what great managers need to do – and are doing in high performing companies already – check out some slides from our The Work of Management workshop. Any questions, please use the comments box or email us at your convenience.