All you sales managers out there, admit it: When GPS technology became mainstream, your first thought was how wonderful it would be to put tracking devices on all your salespeople. No more wondering if they were really visiting jobsites until 6 o'clock like they claimed. And you could finally prove who was taking midday surf breaks.
Well, GPS has made its way into delivery fleet management, but not many people are using it to micro manage the way you know you always wanted to use it.
Besides, GPS is not nearly intrusive enough. There is a new device that will make all your spying dreams come true: a little gizmo you hook up to your sneakers that works with your iPod to track exactly how fast you are moving. I'm not making this up.
Imagine: When you look out on the sales floor and see an associate sauntering to the counter to assist a customer, had you implanted this gadget on his shoes, you could later show him empirically that he was moving way too slowly. Or when someone tells you he is going across the street for lunch, simply check the number of strides he took to see if he used the most efficient route.
Pair this tool with a GPS tracker and we'll be in heaven. First we'll use the GPS to see exactly where our salesman is going and which jobs he is visiting. Then we'll check his iPod to see how fast he hustled while doing his trim takeoffs.
“Run between rooms!” we'll shout into the two-way radio that we will patch into his iPod ear buds. “Get those knees up! And don't forget the closet doors!”
Ahh, sweet technology.
Of course, there are those among you who will tell me this twisted plan is folly. You will say that everyone works at their own pace and in their own way. You may even remind me that in this very column I have documented the importance of giving your staff the freedom to find their own path to success. Pace doesn't really matter. There are fast and successful salespeople and there are slow and successful salespeople.
We've had people who were great at selling one product to a number of different customers and others who will focus on one customer, selling them virtually everything in their project. Everyone works differently.
Fine, remind me that I've said all this.
I'll counter with one simple thought: Wouldn't it be fun to sit in your office and have your entire staff visible on a map on your computer screen? You could see where they were, how fast they were walking, maybe even check their heart rate and blood sugar levels. Managing would become one big video game. Except that I'm not good at video games. I like games like poker and golf. Games you play with people with whom you can interact. People with personalities, nuances, and differences.
Oh, forget it. You talked me out of wiring up our entire staff like in some George Orwell novel. I'll continue to trust them to work in their own manner and let them drive their own routes and even let them take as few or as many steps as they want to get to the bathroom.
But admit it, all this technology coming out today does make you think. Maybe we can wire up our customers ...