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Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors That Drive Effective Selling [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Frank V. Cespedes

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2. September 2014
That gap between your company's sales efforts and strategy? It's real--and a huge vulnerability. Addressing that gap, actionably and with attention to relevant research, is the focus of this book. In Aligning Strategy and Sales, Harvard Business School professor Frank Cespedes equips you to link your go-to-market initiatives with strategic goals. Cespedes offers a road map to articulate strategy in ways that people in the field can understand and that will fuel the behaviors required for profitable growth. Without that alignment, leaders will press for better execution when they need a better strategy, or change strategic direction with great cost and turmoil when they should focus on the basics of sales execution. With thoughtful, clear, and engaging examples, Aligning Strategy and Sales provides a framework for diagnosing and managing the core levers available for effective selling in any organization. It will give you the know-how and tools to move from ideas to action and build a sales effort linked to your firm's unique goals, not a generic selling formula. Cespedes shows how sales efforts affect all elements of value creation in a business, whether you're a start-up seeking to scale or an established firm looking to jump-start new growth. The book provides key insights to optimize your firm's customer management activities and so improve selling and strategy.

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"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." -- 800 CEO READ ADVANCE PRAISE for Aligning Strategy and Sales: Lou D'Ambrosio, Chairman, Sensus; former CEO, Sears Holdings and Avaya Inc.-- "Finally ... a business book with real, pragmatic insight about the crucially important, but often ignored, discipline of sales and why it's vital to any plausible strategy. Written in an effective and sometimes edgy tone, Aligning Strategy and Sales is a compelling playbook for companies looking to accelerate their growth." Jeffrey Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners-- "You spend a lot on sales. A LOT. Read Cespedes' wise words to get a better handle on how to make your sales investments pay off through smart, strategic alignment." Charles Wilson, CEO, Booker Group-- "It often feels like salespeople are from Mars and strategists from Venus. Little wonder so many strategies fail when tested by real-world customer contact. Whether you are in sales, strategy, or a CEO, you should read this book. It addresses thorny issues like culture and compensation, and it will help you get results." Mardia van der Walt, Senior Vice President, Middle East and Africa, T-Systems International-- "The execution of strategy within an organization is dependent on two critical elements: the creation of a culture that enables strategy execution, and the ability of the sales force to execute on the sales tasks aligned to the strategy. And this is what Frank Cespedes manages to do with Aligning Strategy and Sales." Jeanne O'Kelley, cofounder and CEO, Blueprint Technologies-- "Frank Cespedes has brilliantly captured why aligning strategy and sales is so darn difficult. He walks you through the alignment process in a methodical yet witty manner, reminding you of the nitty-gritty intricacies that will provide the wind in the sails of your strategy. This book should be required reading for all senior executives and sales managers."

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Frank V. Cespedes is the MBA Class of 1973 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has run a business, served on the boards of established corporations as well as start-ups, and consulted to companies around the world. He is the author of six books and many articles in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, California Management Review, and other publications.

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Great summary / reference guide 8. September 2014
Von Lance - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is great for specific audiences, but will leave others unsatisfied and wanting more.

-Very good overview for someone new to sales or with a narrow role trying to expand their understanding of how their individual selling role fits into the broader company. Provides a survey course of all the key sub-functions / adjacent functions and how they are critical for a successful sales operation (finance, HR, compensation, incentive systems, sales operations, recruitment, training, management, marketing, etc.). This book will allow the reader to understand how the different pieces of the machine interact and operate with a more nuanced understanding of their organization.
-For more seasoned executives, individuals with a critical interface with sales, or those middle managers looking to expand their roles, this book acts as a checklist to ensure best in class behavior. Each chapter should produce a number of opportunities to evaluate yourself against best in class and identify ways in which your current model may not be totally aligned.
-For an academic this book is exceedingly practical and real-world rather than pie in the sky ideas. It understands that sales is not easy or totally controllable and does not suggest "consulting" solutions.

-The book intentionally takes a very high level perspective. An individual looking to go deep on any one topic or to get the latest innovation in management thinking should look for best of breed books elsewhere.
-Cespedes at times can be a long-winded writer, taking a bit longer than the reader would like on specific topics often not core to sales
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Is your strategy making you sell more? 11. September 2014
Von Ron Immink - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Sales is a 900 bln spend

The amount invested in sales forces (including salaries, benefits, and other components of SG&A--selling, general and administrative expenses) is about $900 billion annually. This is more than five times the $170 billion spent on all media advertising in 2012 and more than twenty times the $40 billion spent on all online advertising and marketing in 2013.

Hiding behing social media

"Do you do anything in sales?" is a question we get regularly. We do, particularly if you combine it with marketing and social media. Sometimes we have the impression that selling is nearly a lost art, and that companies (particularly the small ones) are hiding behind "likes" and "friends".

Life is a pitch

Selling is a noble art and in a world of multi channel engagement it becomes even more important. "Life is a pitch" was one of the first to bring it back from a formulaic approach to a philosophical discussion on why sales is important. In business and in life. He doesn't understand why it is not taught in universities.

Strategy and sales

Frank V. Cespedes also does not understand why sales is not part of universities. He brings it one step further and is a lot tougher in his views on selling and in particular on the alignment of sales with strategy.

Strategy is what we do a lot with clients. And he is spot on, sales is never really mentioned or covered. Only as an abstract concept, and definitely not translated into sales action.

Strategy does not work in 90% of the cases

In his view, that is why strategy does not work in 90% of the case. Strategy and sales are not connected. A 100 billion is spend per year on consultant doing "strategy". 50% of staff does not understand the strategy of the company. The same for customers.

Research into strategy

He quotes some interesting research. Two thousand executives were asked for words that they associate with strategy. Only 2 mentioned people (!!!!!!) on none mentioned sales.

Some quotes:

Unlike advertising, salespeople cannot be turned on and off. Unlike a website, they cannot be expanded and upgraded overnight."
"Selling isn't for sissies."
"I've come to see making a sales call as one of the most challenging intellectual activities there is"
"In this job, if you don't survive the short term, you don't need to worry about the long term.
First salesman: "I made some very valuable contacts today." Second salesman: "I didn't get any orders, either"
"People don't buy two-inch drill bits; they buy two-inch holes
What happens to strategy when youa re in front of potential customers?

Frank V. Cespedes has a dim view on consultants, managers and theory. The question he asks is "What happens to strategy when youa re in front of potential customers"? Strategy is about value creation and that is not created in the market place with customers, not in conference rooms or planning meetings

Value creation!
Value creation! Making money. Strategy is not the same as mission or purpose. Strategy is not the same as values. Business strategy is not the same as war or a battle plan. As Peter Drucker put it over a half-century ago, "The purpose of a business is to create a customer." That's also the purpose of purpose and any business strategy. Make customers, not war.


And focus.

Studies indicate that "loss of focus" is the most common reason that companies stall and strategies fail.

To quote Steve Jobs: "Focus ... means saying no to the 100 other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things we have done."

So we are not letting a 1000 flowers bloom and there is no point studying military strategy.

Anti book?

That is half of our recommended books ("33 strategies of war" for example) dismissed. That is our strategic box discredited. The perfect anti book (we use anti books as part of creating contrast).

Maybe not.

What is strategy?

So, what is strategy in his view? It's fundamentally the movement of an organization from its present position to a desirable but inherently uncertain future position. Strategy involves "no" as well as "yes."

A strategy must answer the question "Where and how are we going to win?" A customer value proposition is always at the core of any successful strategy.

You must serve customers in ways that produce good economic returns for your firm: a strategy also requires choices about how you extract financial value.

A strategy means continually asking, "Where are we spending too little and too much time, people, or capital?"

Companies with coherent strategies do not treat all functions equally. Some are more important, and get more resources, than others.

Coherent strategy versus a slogan

Put differently, what makes a company great--and what makes for a coherent strategy versus a slogan--is not the fact that the firm may have a great value proposition or has a terrific blue-ocean opportunity or is very good at R&D, engineering, marketing, sales, or social media. What makes a company great and a strategy something more than a wish list is how these things fit together.

Communicating the strategy

It's important to translate the choices in a strategy into statements that people in sales and other functions can understand and use.

Studies indicate that communication of priorities to the front line is highly correlated with business performance and, conversely, that this "middle ground" is often where strategy execution breaks down in companies.

Other studies find that employees need information to understand the strategic and bottom-line impact of their daily choices, that communicating strategic identity is the first step, and that "strategy maps" or other visual devices can play important roles.

Ideal customer profile

But what is our objective? Articulating strategy to the field begins with a clear-eyed answer to that question.

But choose you must: every firm is always making it easier or harder for certain types of customers to do business with it, and customer selection is a core strategic and selling decision. He calls it the ideal customer profile (ICP).

Not every customer is a good customer. Order size, product mix, profitability, opportunity cost, maintenance cost, type of sales, complexity, multiplier, lifetime value, etc.

A really effective approach was to only pay commission to sales to ICP.

If you are new you need to outweigh loss

Bookbuzz is fairly new and innovative and he gives an interesting insight on how new and innovative is evaluated:

First, we evaluate on the basis of perceived value, not just "objective" value. Second, we evaluate new products relative to a reference point, usually the products we already own or consume. Third, people view improvements (or value added) relative to the reference point as gains and treat any shortcomings as losses. Fourth, and most important for sales management, perceived losses have a much greater impact on buying behavior than similarly sized gains, Gains must outweigh potential losses by two or three times before most people find the bet attractive.

The technical stuff

It gets technical. Recruitment, talent, training, culture, incentives, performance management. Some lessons:

Grow your own and invest in training
Be scientific, gut feeling does not scale
Product knowledge is important
Observe before you recruit. Studies across job categories indicate there is only about a 14 percent correlation between interview predictions and job success (straight from "The rare find")
Focus on market right organisation principles
Some salespeople work harder and/or smarter than others.
Train regularly on use learn by doing
The customer has escaped

A lot of people may "like" a Facebook entry and tweet on Twitter. But 140 million people actually buy stuff at Wal-Mart weekly.

In fact, if you peek behind the server farms of online firms themselves, you will find big and traditional face-to-face sales organizations as the engine of revenue acquisition and firm value: at Groupon in 2012, over 45 percent of employees were in sales; at Google, it's over 50 percent; and at Facebook, the sales force's ability to translate "likes" into advertisers will make or break that company's valuation and fortunes going forward.

Sales is more important then ever

The technological options available to customers put more pressure on the sales people to add value to the experience Salespeople have to be better at closing the sale on the spot--they usually have only one shot, and there's not really a warming-up period anymore

Marketing, CRM and sales not working

Studies indicate that less than 40 percent of firms believe their sales and marketing units are aligned with what their customers want.

That most marketing collateral is considered useless by salespeople and customers;

And that, despite investments in CRM and now big data, simple lead generation from marketing to sales remains a constant source of complaints in both functions.

Over the last decade over 15 billion was spend on CRM systems. How much do you think customer satisfaction has increased as a result? Nil, nada, zip, zero. Why? CRM captures date that is relevant to the company, not the data that is relevant to the customer. And therein lies the problem.

The divide between sales and marketing

In most firms, marketing managers operate across geographies and accounts but with specific product or market responsibilities. Their time horizons tend to be driven by internal R&D, and product introduction, planning or budgeting cycles. Because they manage markets, not accounts, marketing managers often have an incentive to amortize R&D costs and stretch a product's applicability across customer groups.

In contrast, sales managers and reps tend to operate within geographical or account assignments. Their time horizons are driven by selling cycles at specific accounts, which are indifferent to the seller's budgeting or planning cycles.

Marketing career paths often emphasize frequent rotation among products, brands, or markets, but with P&L or return-on-assets criteria as key metrics.

In sales, career paths place more emphasis on account continuity, because relationships aid getting access to the appropriate decision makers, but usually with sales volume as the key metric.

In any firm, what in theory is "everybody's business" tends in practice to be nobody's business, because of the lack of accountability.

Reverse hassle mapping?

His solution is identifying those with whom you are dependent to get your job done and jointly clarifying the rules of engagement that should apply between these groups.

Then, construct a balance sheet to clarify what you must get from the other group to perform your activities effectively, and what your group must give to the other for that group to provide it most efficiently.

Reciprocity is at the heart of these interactions. Everyone as one happy family........

New strategic box

I have learned a lot from this book. If I look at the strategic box again I would now add "Sales actions" to the box.

Not sure if that is part of the frame, the tactics or the targets. I think his point is that is should be part of all three to achieve true alignment between sales and strategy. I agree.
5.0 von 5 Sternen The ultimate message from a master on a critical topic of business today (and always) 15. September 2014
Von Paul N. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There is really no other person that could bring these two business areas together so thoughtfully to get at the reasons why each fails without the other being in synch. Frank clearly knows the reality of both from real company experience, and he brings his enormous wealth of experience and insight together into a very readable book that takes both topics to their next logical stage. As one who has been involved in the study of strategy for decades now, I found his reduction of it in real business terms fascinating and insightful, and was utterly convinced by his assessment of modern sales challenges, having seen many similar situations myself. This book is a must have for anyone trying to actually implement strategy, and it should inform countless discussions about what to do next in an enormous range of business circumstances. Highly recommended.
5.0 von 5 Sternen In a better world, all strategy books would be this useful. 16. September 2014
Von David Leow - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In this stunning book, Professor Cespedes combines the verve of a practitioner, the sweep of a professor and the soul of a poet into a book that manages to be both relevant and refreshing all at once.

This is a book that eschews barely warmed over consulting aphorisms in favour of blunt reality and makes most strategy books look like packet fortune cookies sitting wanly in front of a succulent and fragment Peking Duck dinner. Even more importantly, this is not a book filled with shallow answers but designed to provoke deeply insightful questions. Strategy may be hard, but with books like this, getting to the answers should become easier. Outstanding.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A MUST read book regarding the dynamics of Strategy & Sales. 1. September 2014
Von Bruce Perryman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Exceptional in many ways. A MUST read. I found his approach refreshing and thoroughly enjoyed his candor and simplicity. For example..."This guy is one of our strategy priests: he operates where the rubber meets the sky."
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