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Strategies That Win Sales
by Mark Marone and Seleste Lunsford
Dearborn Trade © 2005, 249 pages, $25.00 (ISBN 0-7931-8860-1).
Best Practices of the World’s Leading Firms
The pressures of globalization, national and international competition, and consumers’ buying behavior have all gone through dramatic changes over recent decades, forcing sales managers to rethink the sales strategies of the past. To help organizations develop better tactics for closing more sales, Mark Marone and Seleste Lunsford, two sales performance consultants from AchieveGlobal, have compiled the results of their research from 17 top companies into Strategies That Win Sales. Their collection of best practices and sales tips aims to help any organization rethink how it presents offerings to customers and improve the success rate of its sales force.
After talking to 150 people at companies that have been able to implement successful sales techniques, the authors have pinpointed the following seven strategic areas that have made a difference: multiple sales channels, sales force segmentation, sales technology, consultative selling, sales force development, sales manager development and sales culture. While exploring each of these strategic areas, the authors define it, explain its key strategic approach and tactics, and present the best practices that leading companies have used to put it into action. These companies include BellSouth, Fuji-Xerox, Hewlett Packard, Honda Clio Shin, Marriott International, Office Depot and many others.
Strategies That Win Sales begins by describing the internal and external challenges that modern sales organizations must face in the marketplace, and explaining how these challenges can be overcome by pursuing specific sales strategies. For example, when discussing the challenges and opportunities created by an increase in globalization, the authors write that although globalization offers companies bigger markets, it also brings more competition, price pressures, delivery and logistic challenges, local requirements, and cultural adaptation problems. According to one company surveyed by the authors, “Globalization means interpersonal skills must become intercultural skills.” The authors point out that, although many of the organizations they studied are not global companies, all organizations are challenged in some way by the forces of globalization.
The central theme of the book, according to the authors, is that for the contemporary sales organization to be successful in the face of more demand, competition and customer expectations, it must be flexible with all its processes, structures and resources, including human and technological. They explain, “An effective and winning sales organization is one that is able and willing to be flexible, to reinvent itself, and to redeploy resources accordingly.” They add that successful sales firms must also have the right sales strategies in place.
The authors explain that there are many drivers behind the need to create a multichannel strategy to bridge the gap between a company’s offerings and segments of customers. Nearly all of the organizations they explored used a multichannel strategy, and were in the process of adding even more channels to their mix to provide customers with more options. To satisfy the needs of both the seller and the customer, the authors write that a sales strategy must answer these four questions:
1. Who are we? What is the organization’s brand identity and value proposition?
2. What do we sell? The answer to this question will impact the appropriateness of a sales channel.
3. Who do we sell to? Some strategies target specific customers while others favor a mass-market audience.
4. How do we sell? How relationships are created and managed helps to determine the necessary resources. ~
Why We Like ThIS Book
Strategies That Win Sales not only offers sales managers more tools to consider when devising strategies for better results, but it also provides salespeople with valuable stories and ideas from numerous successful companies that were able to make them profitable. These real-world business examples make the book’s survey results and statistics easier to apply in any organization that sells. ~