• December 3, 2014

Why Salespeople Shouldn’t Use ‘Relationship Apps’

Why Salespeople Shouldn’t Use ‘Relationship Apps’

There is a new group of apps designed to help you “improve your relationships” with others like Refresh, Accompani and MINE, but I think they’re quite possibly bad for salespeople.

Being A Sales Guy Is Hard

If you’re a sales professional, this isn’t news: we know you’re up to your ass in work every day. You work long hours, you’re under a lot of stress, and sure you need to memorize a lot of information about a number of clients.

It’s not easy to remember every detail about all of your clients. According to Dr. Robin Dunbar, an Oxford Professor, the human brain can only memorize 150 meaningful relationships. That presents a huge challenge for sales representatives, who need to remember a lot of different clients.

Unsurprisingly, these new apps have been developed in an attempt to ease the pressure placed on salespeople. Typically they sync your calendar and provide you with information on the people with whom you are meeting pulled from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social sources.

Having an app compile information on your contacts can seem like a great idea, but it can actually be terrible for your productivity. Since sales representatives have more demands than ever, the last thing you actually need is more distractions.

Here are other reasons most apps (Spiro’s awesome app excluded) are not a good idea for sales guys..

Alerts Out Of Context

Information taken out of context can be a dangerous thing. It can lead you to make assumptions or connections that don’t actually exist. This can cause some awkward misunderstandings with clients.

I’m a big fan of rapport building, and these apps might give you some new context to use in a meeting with someone you don’t know. But if you’re a sales guy, you better know how to get into a rapport building conversation quickly with a prospect without any prompting. And if you can’t, well, perhaps you should go back to school and get your accounting degree.

Beware of Interruptions

It’s a fact, modern day work lives are filled with interruptions. Between emails, phone calls and visits, it’s sometimes a miracle that we get anything done. Each time you’re interrupted, you’re taken away from a task. You often have to re-do work you have already started in order to remember exactly what you were working on.

It’s estimated that every interruption leads to eight minutes of non-productive time. That adds up quickly. As a sales representative, the last thing you need is more interruptions. You don’t need to be alerted to meetings and information that are not related to your core sales area.

Sales Apps Need Context To Be Useful

These apps really aren’t that smart. They’re great at compiling publicly available information, but they’re not connected to your CRM system; they can’t possibly have the context to know what information is important to you and when they should interrupt you.

Instead they wind up bogging you down with information that isn’t even related to your job or potential sales. A real helpful app would have understand priorities and schedules to know when to alert you.

Dude, Aren’t You Already on LinkedIn?

Over 80% of all relevant information about the person you’re meeting with is already on LinkedIn, and as a sales representative, you should already have account. And almost all of the useful information from these apps comes from LinkedIn, so why do you need a separate app to compile the same information?

Seriously, just use LinkedIn’s main app and website. All of the information is there, and it’s presented in a way to minimize interruptions. Ignore the other stuff.

Distractions and Time Wasters Cost You Money

As you can see, relationship apps really aren’t designed for sales reps. Most people in this profession have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and to be successful at their jobs, need to be better than the average person in remembering people and names.

Relationship management apps are not for us. They’re for people who need help building a rapport. These apps are really designed more for technical specialists, engineers and even accountants.

What salespeople actually need, is an app that is designed by real sales guys. Apps designed by people who walk the talk in sales and know what a salesperson really needs.