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Book review: Smart Sales Manager


Book reviews > Smart Sales Manager


Josiane Chriqui Feigon (2013). Smart Sales Manager, Amacom


Once upon a time, there were sales people who went out and knocked on doors. Then they got smarter and made appointments where they could sell benefits, solutions and other things that surely customers will want. And later they even got clever in building relationships and becoming solution-focused and customer-oriented.

But direct selling is expensive, so along the way 'telesales' grew up, where people phoned up customers and tried to sell to them over the phone. Times move on and now telesales is nowhere near what it was and has taken over much more of what the direct sales team might do. It not only uses the phone but also all the other electronic means we have today, from email to social media. It builds relationships, uses smart databases, researches industries and more. This is a long way down from just taking orders over the phone and is now known as the 'Inside Sales' team, to reflect the wider scope and greater skills that are needed.

New attitudes, new skills and new tools are desperately needed. Why? Because new customers have them already and expect them to be used. If you want to fish where the fish are, you need to know how they swim, what attracts their interest and what they will bite at. And as any sales manager knows, if you don't catch, you don't eat.

The Inside Sales team needs intelligent, tech-smart and social-smart people who can make complex sales not just by phone but with email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, CSR systems and whatever the latest tools avail. They need to be personal and persistent, playing the long game as well as being clever in closing every day. They are different too. Many of them are from the new generation who grew up with technology, instability and an expectation of a meritocracy rather than waiting in line for 'dead men's shoes'.

Many sales management books are still rooted in the old system, which makes them largely irrelevant and potentially dangerous. But not this one. Smart Sales Management leapfrogs the old stalwarts to become a modern classic. I've read lots of sales books and mostly skim quickly through, looking for something new. This book took much longer to review because I read it carefully from cover to cover, as should any sales manager who is not right at the cutting edge of new customers needs, new employee attitudes and the potential of the latest technology.

A big part of the book is, unsurprisingly, about managing your team. It shows how Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 1993) think and are motivated. It shows you how to energize them, enable them and keep them focused on the whole modern Inside Sales process. As such it is a useful book even if you are not in sales.

If you have not already guessed, I really like this book. It brings a lot of new and very current knowledge to the desk of Inside Sales team managers who may be struggling to keep up. It is a breath of fresh are in the sales management literature, blowing away tired old ways. And, importantly, it is very practical. Of course you should not just read blindly and do what it says, because every organization and situation is different. But if you manage a sales team of any kind, you should read this book carefully, then look around you and think how it can help. Because I'm sure it can.



Buy Me

Josiane Feigon, Smart Sales Manager, Amacom, 2013

An excellent and much-needed book on managing 'inside sales' (an evolution of 'telesales') in the modern era. All you need to know about handling the new generation of customers and employees to create an effective connected sales team.



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