Today’s “sharing economy” is alive and well. Predictable ups and downs aside, companies like Airbnb and Uber remain controversially popular, and are influencing others to come up with similar (often unconventional) models. Sales as a service is but one recent example that utilizes knowledge collaboration differently, creating the role of the on demand sales person. Say what? Here’s how Technology columnist, Christopher Mims of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) puts it:
“Right now a college student in Sweden—let’s call him Sven—has a rather unusual summer job. He’s in sales, but he hasn’t met anyone from the company whose products he pushes. His boss is an app. It considers Sven’s strengths and weaknesses as a salesman, matches him with goods from any of a dozen brands, and plots a route through Stockholm optimized to include as many potential customers as possible in the time allotted to him.
The app is like Uber, but for a sales force. It has many of the same dynamics: Companies can use it to get salespeople on demand, and those salespeople choose when to work and which assignments to accept. The startup behind it, Universal Avenue, calls the idea “sales as a service.”
Head scratch. Is this promising? Useful? And is it really all that different from what defines a remote workforce? I guess it all depends on how you look at it. From a tech perspective, this is a novel model constructing a likely intricate app promising to deliver a perceived missing necessity: on the go freedom of choice. The Swedish company allows for both organizations (namely small and midsize), as well as sales people, the comfort (ah – the seemingly key ingredient to what’s missing in today’s fast-paced workforce) to function in an economically agile way. This is big in our ever-changing selling environment.
At the same time, others point out that this form of sales sharing technology isn’t exactly new. Think of the very much non-extinct freelancer who partners with companies in much the same way. The WSJ article continues:
“Even in “inside sales,” the sort in which everyone stays at their desk, calling customers and giving demonstrations over the Web, there is generally a lot to be gained from having everyone close together, says Peter Levine, a partner at venture investor Andreessen Horowitz. “There’s a lot of transfer of knowledge—you could imagine some employees and some contract people in the same room, and people come up to speed quickly in that environment.”
I’m of the mindset that both an on demand methodology, as well as a collaborative workforce that’s able to interact and learn from one another, contributes equally to sales success. Combing the two selling techniques in the form of actionable and in-context delivery of relevant and automated information is the best way to ensure agility and ongoing knowledge flow. Today’s complex selling landscape calls for sellers to tailor their approach according to each unique selling situation, and the ability to communicate effectively within your sales teams, followed by then selling effectively using only the right and timely content, at each step of a deal, is an end-to-end formula for closing more deals.