Building a Winning Sales Force

Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance

 Building a Winning Sales Force

Authors: Andris A. Zoltners, Ph.D., Prabhakant Sinha, Ph.D., Sally E. Lorimer
Pub Date: March 2009
Print Edition: $29.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437353
Page Count: 496
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814410424

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The sales function is front and center in the challenge to meet or exceed

business growth objectives. Sales force effectiveness is a critical success

factor, as sales leaders are challenged to respond to events within their

companies, their markets, and their environment, while at the same

time, striving to continuously improve sales force performance.

We wrote Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving

High Performance to provide current and aspiring sales leaders with

innovative yet practical strategies for dealing with their most critical and

frequently faced sales force challenges and opportunities. The book lays

out an actionable and relevant blueprint for building and sustaining sales

force success in any business environment. It is designed to help you

assess how good your sales organization really is, identify current and

future sales force improvement opportunities that have large bottomline

impact, and implement tools and processes that immediately

enhance sales effectiveness.

Drawing on our experience consulting with companies all over the world, we strive to make complex and elusive

concepts easy to understand and to provide ideas that can be implemented

right away to address challenges and opportunities such as:

• Creating a winning sales organization by aligning the sales system

around company goals and strategies to drive results.

• Developing sales strategies that demonstrate value to customers

and create competitive advantage.

• Sizing, structuring, and aligning the sales organization to effectively

and efficiently realize market opportunity and drive long-term success.

• Attracting and retaining talented salespeople by developing worldclass

recruiting processes and building a sales culture that nurtures

learning and development.

• Arming salespeople with the tools and information they need to

meet customer needs and achieve company sales goals.

• Developing sales compensation programs that motivate high levels

of sales effort.

• Setting territory-level goals that are fair, realistic, and motivational

and managing sales force performance so that goals are consistently


• Preventing sales force complacency – a silent killer of sales


• Implementing sales strategy changes as markets and company

strategies evolve.

• Ensuring that sales resources are deployed to the right customers,

products, and selling activities.

• Integrating sales and marketing strategies to create a successful customer-

facing organization.

• Using analytic tools and structured processes to constantly identify

sales force improvement opportunities and enhance sales


Kash Rangan, our colleague and friend at the Harvard Business

School, sums up the book’s contribution when he writes:

This terrific book achieves the rare feat of providing robust

frameworks for addressing the most important problems facing

the sales forces of today. It has rigor and relevance rolled into

one. The book brings a masterful combination of highly practical

insights gained from hundreds of industry applications with

the sophistication of decades of academic thinking and writing.

It lays out the blueprint for achieving excellence, presents

lucid frameworks for tackling the core issues of how to size and

structure a sales force, provides deep insights on how to manage

the human side (sales force recruiting, motivating, and

compensating), and provides advice on how to mold the sales

force organization into a dynamic customer-centric unit.

Underpinning the key ideas is breakthrough thinking on some

of the most difficult issues facing the $800 billion industry.

We have written several books before this one, including The Complete

Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance (Amacom Books, 2001),

Sales Force Design for Strategic Advantage (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004), and

The Complete Guide to Sales Force Incentive Compensation: How to Design and

Implement Plans that Work (Amacom Books, 2006). These books have

been mostly reference books. Bestselling author Neil Rackham shared

with us: “They are the best sales management books out there, but they

are a serious read.” With Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies

for Driving High Performance, we aim to capture the attention of sales

leaders, engaging them through an array of deep yet practical insights

on what works when running a selling organization. Kash Rangan

observes, “The book is organized into short, crisp chapters and concepts

are illustrated clearly through stories and a broad range of examples.”

For readers who desire greater detail, our reference books are a complement

to this book.

How the Book is Organized

Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance

includes twenty chapters organized into three major parts.

• Part 1 – A Blueprint for Sales Force Excellence – organizes the components

and complexities of the Sales System into a framework that

shows sales leaders how the decisions, processes, systems, and programs

that they are accountable for (called the sales effectiveness

drivers) influence salespeople, their activities, and ultimately customer

and company results. By managing the sales effectiveness

drivers well, sales leaders can build a high-quality sales force that

engages in the right selling activities to meet customer needs and

achieve company financial goals.

• Part 2 – Improving the Top Sales Effectiveness Drivers – presents

strategic frameworks, case studies, and real-world analyses showing

sales leaders how to get maximum impact from the top 12 sales

effectiveness drivers — sales strategy, sales force sizing, sales force

structure and roles, sales territory design, recruiting, learning and

development, culture, the sales manager, leveraging information,

compensation and incentives, territory-level goal setting, and performance


• Part 3 – Addressing Common and Challenging Sales Management

Issues – helps sales leaders use the sales effectiveness drivers to

create solutions for important sales force issues. The issues

include those that we hear about frequently and consistently

from sales leaders — preventing sales force complacency, changing

the sales strategy, allocating sales resources profitably across

customers, products, and selling activities, retaining successful

salespeople, managing tensions between sales and marketing, and

establishing successful programs for continuously enhancing

sales effectiveness.

Readers who desire a complete look at how to build and sustain a

winning sales force can read all the chapters sequentially. Other readers

who are looking to solve a particular issue or concern can start by reading

Part I. Then, they can jump directly to the chapters most relevant to

their needs, guided by the diagnostic process suggested in Chapter 2.

Excerpted from Building a Winning Sales Force by Andris A. Zoltners, Sinha Prabhakant, and Sally E. Lorimer. Copyright 2009 by Andris A. Zoltners, Sinha Prabhakant, and Sally E. Lorimer. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved.

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