As more and more sales teams are downsized, will IT prove the salvation of those that remain - or will it do away with them too?
Last January, Encyclopaedia Britannica disbanded its entire sales force. A 15-month programme of redundancies had seen the sales force plummet from 225 to zero. The managers of a once well-rewarded, commission-only sales force had concluded that the revenues brought in no longer justified the costs of maintaining it. While axing a sales force in its entirety is rare, less drastic pruning is by no means unusual. Yet the curious thing about most such downsizing operations is the message that it sends out concerning management's ability to harness the sales function effectively.