Give your sales reps the CRM tools they really need.
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It is essential to automate your sales force. But when you do it, expect one or two tangential costs to accompany your investment in customer relationship management technology. At the top of the extra cost list are products that promise to address the computer fatigue that inevitably results when man encounters technology in the sales jungle.

Computer fatigue, you ask? Any technology-dependent sales rep can describe the symptoms: Sore eyes from staring too long into a tiny PDA screen; the near-death trauma of having a PC crash during a PowerPoint presentation; the tired, vague brain that accompanies reading too many urgent e-mails in hotels after midnight.

Alas, sales force technology is not all closed deals and rapid communication: It often comes at a painful price. But in the grand American capitalistic tradition, where there is pain, there is money to be made, and to date, several clever entrepreneurs have grabbed at the remedy ring, offering varied elixirs for computer fatigue.

Computer De-stress Tea
Every sales rep should have access to this soothing, delicious blend of kelp leaf, eyebright and oat straw. According to The Yogi Tea Company, Computer De-stress Tea works as a "special tonic to take the edge off your electronic day." Kelp, it seems, is high in natural iodine, "which is thought to help the body adapt to the nonspecific stress of low-level radiation." Eyebright stimulates general eye health, while oat straw supports a healthy circulatory system and reduces stress and frustration. These ingredients, melded under the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian philosophy, offer your harried rep an express ticket to harmony. Sound like your cup of tea? Then you can go to www.yogitea.com for more info.

Brain Gum
Your star sales rep is about to make that big sales presentation that could launch the company's profits into the stratosphere. But what's this? He's unexpectedly having an attack of technology-inspired information overload and is babbling incoherently about his Aunt Thelma. Think of Brain Gum as your insurance policy against this kind of counter-productive cognitive Chernobyl. This IQ enhancer with super-duper brain stimulator "LECI-PS" is marketed as "mental alertness dietary supplement chewing gum." Offered retail or online at www.braingum.com, Brain Gum is outrageously priced-$4.99 per pack-but in a high-pressure sales situation, does anyone really want to hear about Aunt Thelma?

stress-Away Software
During those "sales-data entry days" when your reps spend hours back at the office updating their account info, the risk of repetitive stress injury at the keyboard is high. For $19.95, you can purchase software that lowers this risk by providing instruction and photos to guide them through brief stress-relief exercises. But be advised: The exercise instruction pops up on screen at regular intervals "while you work"-read incessantly-which might actually cause more stress than it relieves. Check out www.stressaway.com to learn more.

Snake oil, you say? Perhaps. But after you've invested so much in CRM technology, do you really want to risk it? Give your stressed-out reps these CRM extras and let the e-healing begin.

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