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

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Sales force effectiveness drives every company's success, but keeping a sales organization at the top of its game is a constant challenge. As experts in the field, Andy Zoltners and Prabha Sinha have helped sales leaders around the world perfect their sales strategy, operations, and execution. Combining strategic insight with pragmatic advice, Building a Winning Sales Force provides current and aspiring sales leaders with innovative yet practical solutions to many of the most common issues faced by today’s sales organi­za­tions. The book shows readers how to:

assess how good their sales force really is • identify sales force improvement opportunities • implement tools and processes that have immediate impact on sales effec­tive­ness • attract and retain the best salespeople • design incen­tive compensation plans • set goals • manage sales perform­ance • motivate the sales force

With practical advice and case studies of companies that have conquered even the most challenging obstacles, Building a Winning Sales Force will enable every company to drive sales and stay competitive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…chockablock full of the nuts and bolts of sales management…extraordinarily practical and highly readable… building a sales organization or are a salesperson, it’s a must-read.”

Life Insurance Selling

“… one of the most comprehensive and practical books on designing, building, and driving a superior sales team… advice from some of the top sales professionals in the world.”

Selling Power Hiring and Recruiting Newsletter

"...provides current and aspiring sales leaders with innovative yet practical solutions to many of the most common issues faced by today’s sales organizations.”


“…give sales leaders the critical tools they need to create successful sales organizations in these tough economic times.” --Consulting magazine

“…complete sales management handbook… covers all the essential challenges sales managers face.” -- Selling Power

“If you're a sales manager or some day would like to be one, this book is for you…full of techniques…the nuts and bolts of account management.” –FINS/WSJ

"One of the seven best books to read for sales"–FINS/WSJ

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814410400
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 3/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,469,450
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Andris A. Zoltners (Evanston, IL) is a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Prabhakant Sinha (Chicago, IL) is Co-Chairman of ZS Associates, a global sales effectiveness and marketing consulting firm founded by Zoltners and Sinha in 1983. Andy and Prabha are the coauthors of The Complete Guide to Sales Force Incentive Compensation (978-0-8144-7324-5) and The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance (978-0-8144-0650-2).

Sally E.Lorimer (Northville, MI) is a sales and marketing consultant and business writer.

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Read an Excerpt


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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Table of Contents


P A R T 1

A Blueprint for Sales Force Excellence 1

1 The Dimensions and Drivers of a Winning Sales Force 3

2 Achieving Sales Force Excellence 23

P A R T 2

Improving the Top Sales Effectiveness Drivers 47

3 Sales Strategies That Win with Customers 49

4 Sizing Your Sales Force for Long-Term Success 61

5 Structuring Your Sales Force for Efficiency and Effectiveness 91

6 Designing Sales Territories for Maximum Success 115

7 Sales Force Recruiting: Winning the War for Talent 129

8 Developing More Effective Training Programs 147

9 How to Create a Winning Sales Force Culture 171

10 The Right Sales Manager: A Key to Sales Force Success 199

11 Using Information Technology to Enhance Sales 223

12 How Sales Force Incentives Can Drive Results 247

13 Setting Fair and Realistic Goals to Motivate Your Sales Force 287

14 Staying on Track Through Better Sales Force Performance

Management 305

P A R T 3

Addressing Common and Challenging Sales Management

Issues 321

15 Preventing Sales Force Complacency: The Silent Killer of Sales

Effectiveness 323

16 Adapting a Sales Strategy to Meet New Challenges 347

17 Allocating Sales Resources to Maximize Results 367

18 Retaining Successful Salespeople 395

19 Achieving Better Sales and Marketing Alignment 421

20 The GE Story: Improving Sales Force Effectiveness Across

Businesses 455

Index 477

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Learned report on building a great sales force

    To reveal the potential of your sales force, analyze and evaluate 12 sales effectiveness drivers. Maximize the benefits of those drivers and you often can maximize sales. Sales experts Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha and Sally E. Lorimer explain how these drivers work. Their comprehensive book is filled with flow charts, scatter plots and other graphic presentations of data, underscoring the authors' technical rigor. The book also offers case studies that bring the authors' points down to earth. If the painstaking information is any indication, this team has thought long and hard about improving sales force effectiveness and it understands the subject exceedingly well. getAbstract believes readers can learn a great deal about building a great sales force from these astute observers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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