Hiring Freeze
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A couple of weeks into researching this month's article on hiring CRM-savvy salespeople, contributing writer Jason Compton called to warn me of a minor problem: Nobody seemed to care.

That may be putting it a little too strongly, but the fact is Jason had considerable trouble finding companies that consider CRM experience to be a relevant qualification when hiring sales staff.

Why does this trouble me?

Sitting on my desk is a resume from a journalist looking for an editorial job. It lists experience with MS Word, QuarkXpress and other tools of the trade. My wife works in accounting, and every job she's applied for in the last 15 or 20 years has asked about her software expertise. My college-age daughter recently got a part-time job as a receptionist, and even there they asked about her software knowledge.

Everyone has heard the mantra: CRM isn't just about technology--people and processes are equally important. Yet after spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on CRM systems, it appears that few companies give much thought as to whether anyone has the skills to use them.

Maybe this is because corporate managers assume that, being so expensive, the systems must be easy to use.

(I hear you laughing back there. Settle down.) After all, they're all browser-based, so everyone understands the interface, right?

Sure they do.

Maybe management assumes that salespeople will recognize how good CRM is for the company and so will naturally be eager to embrace the new technology. (Hey, I said cut out the snickering!) That's gotta be true, because every salesperson I ever knew put the corporation's interests ahead of... Heck, that's not even funny.

Maybe the assumption is that for just a few bucks extra we can easily get everyone trained. We'll deal with that one in detail next month, but for now let me give you a hint: Wrong.

You wouldn't hire an administrative assistant who didn't know how to use a word processor or e-mail. So why are you still hiring salespeople who don't know how to use the tools of their trade in the twenty-first century?

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