Reframing Sales Effectiveness

Strategy + Business Magazine

I’m calling it early: Aligning Strategy and Sales is the best sales book of the year. I know we’ve got a few months left in 2014, but I’m not too worried that I’ll be proven wrong—I’ve been waiting for a sales book like this one for a long time and the odds that another will appear before December 31 are long indeed.

With rare exceptions, sales books are about one of two things: the sales process or sales skills. The process books are aimed at providing the sales force with a path it can follow to close deals; the skills books are aimed at bolstering an individual salesperson’s results. Good ones of both ilks can be worth their weight in gold. “But,” warns Cespedes, a consultant and senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, “they also treat selling in isolation from strategy, and the focus of much sales training can have a perverse effect: It often leads a company’s sales force to work harder but not necessarily smarter .” Worse, he adds, the sales force can get “better and better at things that customers care less and less about…and the cycle can be self-reinforcing.”

Read the full review in Strategy + Business magazine.

Book Review: Getting Beyond Yes

Harvard Business School

Every company needs a strategy—a forward-looking plan for the future—and every company needs to keep that bottom line growing through sales. But all too often, the folks devising the grand plan and the folks sealing the deals are not on the same page.

In his new book, Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors that Drive Effective Selling, Frank V. Cespedes laments the fact that sales and strategy rarely make a joint and complementary appearance in MBA classrooms or academic journals. Professors stick safely to the realm of publishable strategy theories; the sales side is left in the hands of consultants and trainers. This, he says, is just the start of a larger problem: the inability of businesses to tie their sales practices to their overall strategy.

Read the full review in the HBS Alumni Bulletin.

800-CEO-READ Books to Watch: August 2014

Aligning Strategy and Sales

With so many books focused on the elevator pitch, closing the sale, or other minute sales techniques, Aligning Strategy and Sales is a refreshing change of pace. Frank Cespedes digs deeper into improving a company’s sales and performance by looking at creating stronger connections between a company’s broader mission and strategy and the sales force on the ground. The book stresses better communication between management and sales, strategic hiring, and effective delegation of responsibility that allows staff to both manage and sell.

Read the full article on 800-CEO-READ.

Glean Insights Into “Aligning Strategies and Sales”

Small Business Trends

Aligning Strategies and Sales is a book that can help growing small businesses make enterprise level decisions and appreciate the potential results more clearly.

What does it take to be effective? Moreover what does it take to be effective at the right time? Given the speed of the Internet, success is becoming more dependent on being systematic where it counts. Such organization has potentially great value when strategy and sales are aligned.

To gain that alignment in a successful way, consider the book Aligning Strategies and Sales: The Choices Systems and Behaviors That Drive Effective Selling by Frank Cespedes. The author is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. I received an advanced copy through Harvard Business Review and was intrigued by the author’s earnest effort to make selling meaningful for those who struggle to organize sales.

Continue reading on Small Business Trends.