Archive for October, 2008

Making the Number. How to use sales benchmarking to drive performance. Alexander, Batels & Drapeau

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Making the Number. How to use sales benchmarking to drive performance. Greg Alexander, Aaron Bartels & Mike Drapeau. 2008. ISBN 9781591842170.  This book should take sales from Art to Science.   This is a very comprehensive work which any sales manager looking to make a difference in the next 10 years, should read and start to implement.  If you are also  looking at top grading for sales, then this is a book you will need to learn from. The authors website has  published a list of sample data to help you get started on benchmarking. Its illuminating to see where some of the “top” 100 companies actually come out.

They do a good job of isolating the various dependencies in sales.

  1. Industry segment
  2. Geographical areas
  3. Sales channels
  4. Sales force organization
  5. Public, private, NGO
  6. History.

Then they give a sample of data  required in each category of sales such as:

  1. Account planning – churn rate, lifetime value, customer share
  2. Budgeting – break-even, gap to goal, net income/rep, return on sales
  3. Channel – Outside sales contribution, outbound lead ration
  4. Comp- sales quota attainment, total available income, variable comp rates
  5. Expense – cost of advertising, cost of marketing, cost of sales, cost per rep.
  6. management – Sales quota/sale, sales productivity/rep, forecast accuracy, pipeline ratio
  7. methods – sales activities to close sale, sales cycle length, deal size
  8. staff – ramp time to full productivity, sales rep/manager ratio, sales rep/ sales support ratio
  9. talent – turnover rate, interview pool needed, sourcing pool needed, time to backfill a rep
  10. infrastructure – sales growth rate, CRM/SFA utilization, lead source utilization, mobile utilization
  11. territory – close rate, customer acquisition cost, customers /rep, potential leads /rep
  12. training – budget, training hours per rep.

They break out sales types into an interesting six categories

  1. Delivery
  2. Order taking
  3. Missionary
  4. Technician
  5. Demand creator
  6. Solution provider

This is a very useful book which could help save your job if you are a VP Sales and its tough going. The job is not easy , but this is a terrific way to help you manage.  A bonus is the epilogue where they describe sales peering.   Visualize a souped up Linkedin Questions all about best practices and benchmarking sales. Something really needed.

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Sales on the Line. Sharon Drew Morgen.

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Sales on the Line. Sharon Drew Morgen.  1993. 978-1555520472. Meeting the Business Demands of the ’90s Through Phone Partnering  Oh how I wish I had known about this book many years ago. This is the NY Times best selling book that launched SDM on her exploration of effective sales techniques.  The advie is timeless and lays the groundwork for what she has continued to learn in Seling with Integrity and Buying Facilitation.   I believe that she has written the complete guide to telephone qualification for every sales force.  But it  is more than that, her approach I think frees up most sales people to do a much better job in their entire approach. This is a quick ,easy read , but needs to be taken in with the rest of her material as she has covered a lot of ground since 1993.

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Conversational Capital. How to create stuff people love to talk about. Bertrand Cesvet, Tony Babinski, Eric Alper

Cirque du Soleil

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Conversational Capital. How to create stuff people love to talk about. Bertrand Cesvet, Tony Babinski, Eric Alper. 2008. ISBN 9780137145508. This is very relevant material as it really delves into the power of WOM.  The book uses so many relevant examples to drive their five attributes home:

  • Rituals eg –  lemon in Corona
  • Exclusive offer – your Ipod , Itunes
  • Myths –Michael Dell started where?
  • Relevant sensory oddity – Altoids
  • Icons – Coke bottle
  • Tribalism – Apple users
  • Endorsement – celebs
  • Continuity – contiguous story

In a time when consumer have unlimited choice they will chose the product that has the richer more meaningful experience (Cirque de Soleil) .  A book for todays’ marketer/CEO. A well written quick easy read to boot.

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Perfect Selling. Open the door,close the deal. Linda Richardson.

The Rocks Market 8

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Perfect Selling. Open the door,close the deal. Linda Richardson. 2008. ISBN 9780071549899.  This is  a quick and easy read built around Richardson’s five steps to success. She addresses how sales professionals think and act about their sales process, strategies, and dialogue. Richardson not only focuses on the “what” to do, but goes to a deeper level with a strong focus on “how” to do it and relevant application.  This book requires careful reading to allow the changes to behaviour to take place. It is very durably bound book, that fits nicely in your sales bag so that it is always available. he has lots of resources on her website

The bulk of the work hits at sales efficiency, but if you pay attention at the beginning of the book,  you will have more effectiveness happening as well.  All in all a traditional sales training approach, which would give newbies a decent process to follow.  The seasoned seller will find benefit in the tools provided.

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Internet Dough. Create a business internet strategy to make more dough. Don Philabaum.

Tigre Market 2

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Internet Dough. Create a business internet strategy to make more dough. Don Philabaum. 2008. The numbers of ebooks that are finding my inbox is rising by the week. One of the best is this one. Internet Dough (200pp) is well research


d, with thoughtful comments and examples. It is very current on all the various Web 2.0 applications. If yo

u are a marketing person, who is looking for one volume to point you in the right direction with all this “stuff” then I recommend this

The book offers:
· Dozens of best practices and examples of how companies have adopted Internet strategies.

· Proven technologies they can immediately get started with.
· 30 exercises to help the

reader develop an Internet strategy for their firm.

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· 5 critical elements to include in a business Internet strategy.
His strongest part is the chapter on ROI. It is one of the better analyses I have seen.

If you want a version of the book goto .

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Selling with Integrity. Sharon Drew Morgen.

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Selling with Integrity. Sharon Drew Morgen. 1997. ISBN 1576750159. This a New York Times bestseller that is the basis of SDM’s Buying Facilitation method. Like her other books this one is clear, concise with good examples and testimonials sprinkled throughout. Revolutionary when she wrote this, the material is still very much leading edge in sales.  As is, the books stated approach is exactly fitted for any type of “commodity’ (In the view of the buyer) sale. For the specialized B2B market, one needs to put in place a smart pre-qualified lead gen marketing program, before using this very powerful method, since all resources are constrained.  Then your sales guys will then show an improvement in their qualification abilities and a resulting dramatic increase in sales. I believe her statement that her method shortens sales cycles. I question her “marketing free ” approach as today we see a much bigger sales landscape with an huge dependence on great marketing.  The method releases the salesperson from any form of old style sales manipulation/techniques and allows them to be very true to a more service oriented sales role, which follows much of the recent books I have reviewed this year. This is the only pure sales book that I would say improves sales efficiency and sales effectiveness

Over the past three weeks I have read all books she has published and listened to some of her training seminars. To practice my learning I have increasingly used her published approaches in my client interactions so I could improve.  These are early days, but I am seeing that her questions structure and ordered thoughtful approach allows the client to open up more and bring forward information that sometimes could hurt the sale further on if it was not dealt with early. Every thoughtful sales guy should have a copy of this one on his shelf – and he should read it annually.  (Her earlier book on telephone skills is still useful to our new style of sales guy, but the ‘assumptions” may appear dated.) At least the prices today are quite right!

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