Selling is Dead

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Selling is Dead

by Marc T. Miller and Jason M. Sinkovitz

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. © 2005, 305 pages, $27.95 (ISBN 0-471-72111-5).

Moving Beyond Traditional Sales Practices To Revitalize Growth

According to sales experts Marc T. Miller and Jason M. Sinkovitz, the business of selling is currently going through a dramatic change due to the complexity of recent innovations. In Selling Is Dead, they examine why salespeople and selling teams should be ready to change the ways they approach their sales, and accept new selling frameworks to make complex sales. The authors do more than describe how traditional sales strategies are no longer as effective as they once were: They explain how organizations can transform a transactional sales team into a disciplined unit of “businesspeople who sell.”

The solution to the problem of ineffective traditional selling methods described by the authors is an approach to selling that enables companies to combine their sales, marketing, customer service and new product departments into sustainable, market-optimizing growth engines.

Three Market Dynamics

The authors write that there are three primary market dynamics that are now working to devalue salespeople and selling as a whole. They explain that these “market forces that have stolen relevance from the sales roles and strategies originally created for a no-longer-existent marketplace” are:

• The Cadence of Commoditization. Nearly every successful launch of an innovation simultaneously commoditizes another offering. What once took years to occur now occurs quarterly or even monthly. To overcome this hurdle, selling teams must get consistently good at selling innovation.

• The Bend in Buying. Technology advances, time constraints and the drive for productivity gains in non-money-multiplying functional departments create a bend in buying. If you sell commodities and don’t offer an additional source of bottom-line value, your buyers will need you less and less. Salespeople must now be able to sell the new applications and innovations that significantly impact a buyer’s bottom line.

• The Dissipation of Distance. Technology and the Internet are combining to eliminate the geographic boundaries that currently restrict commerce. This will lead to fewer salespeople being needed to achieve the same results. Increased specialization among sellers will be needed, and sellers will need to focus on more narrow niche markets unlimited by geography.

The authors write that their book is more about the resurgence of selling than the demise of selling that its title implies. The selling frameworks they offer describe how salespeople can reinvigorate sales productivity through more effective solutions to the challenges that are created by the three primary market dynamics. By presenting a new role for sales units as well as a new strategic framework for achieving greater value for both buyers and sellers, the authors provide a disciplined approach to restoring and advancing the relevance of sales teams.

Customer Productivity Experts

Major account sellers must become customer productivity experts, according to Miller and Sinkovitz. This entails adding much more significant value beyond the product or service that is currently being offered. To do this, they write, salespeople must understand the nature of buyer demand and how it affects sales strategy and “market-facing endeavors.”

The best-practice strategic selling frameworks for large sales that the authors present are based upon these five structural elements:

1. Suppositions. These guiding beliefs dictate how an organization philosophically chooses to face its market. Sales leadership has to manage these beliefs.

2. Strategies. Strategies are the broad plans for achieving sales objectives. A formal set of strategies must be included in the broad sales framework, and employed uniformly across the sales team.

3. Steps to “yes.” The best path to buyer commitment has multiple steps. Each sales opportunity has its own sequence of steps because each buyer is unique.

4. Skills. Selling large offerings that represent greater risk to buyers requires its own set of competencies.

5. Systems. Rigorous management systems maintain a cohesive selling effort across an organization. ~

Why We Like ThIs Book

By countering the common pitfalls of traditional selling with a clearly defined road map for selling large offerings to increasingly sophisticated customers, Selling Is Dead offers salespeople and sales teams a well defined way to make large, complex sales. The authors also present numerous case studies from successful companies that demonstrate how their sales techniques work in the real world. ~

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