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Building a winning sales force

Professor Andris Zoltners offers strategies to drive performance in any business climate

  Andris Zoltners
  Andris Zoltners

You can't cost-cut your way to prosperity. You have to generate sales.

Even in the face of a dismal economy, massive layoffs and poor company forecasts, the selling function remains the primary driver of revenue for businesses worldwide. Now more than ever, sales leaders must ensure that any investment in their organization's sales strategy, processes or people has a positive impact on the bottom line.

A new book by Kellogg Marketing Professor Andris Zoltners promises to equip sales leaders with the tools they need to create successful sales organizations in difficult economic times. Building A Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance (AMACOM Books) is co-authored by Prabhakant Sinha, co-founder and co-chair with Zoltners of global consulting firm ZS Associates, and business writer Sally E. Lorimer.

Drawing on their experience as consultants to more than 200 companies around the world, the authors lay out a blueprint for building and sustaining sales force success in any business climate.

"Making the numbers is a sign of success, but it can also be a sign of good fortune," Zoltners notes. "True sales success depends on understanding and maximizing all the drivers of sales force effectiveness."

The book identifies the top 12 drivers of sales effectiveness, from the features that define and shape salesperson roles to the factors that enlighten and motivate salespeople.

The authors also tackle some of the most urgent sales management challenges, including sales force complacency, the "silent killer" of sales effectiveness. They also offer advice on how to adapt a sales strategy to unwelcome changes such as recessionary periods.

"This terrific book achieves the rare feat of providing robust frameworks for addressing the most important problems facing the sales forces of today," said Kash Rangan, the Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School. "It is a masterful combination of highly practical insights gained from hundreds of industry applications and the sophistication of decades of academic thinking and writing."

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