Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World's Sales Leaders

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The challenges facing today's sales executives and theirorganizations continue to grow, but so do the expectations thatthey will find ways to overcome them and drive consistentsales growth.

There are no simple solutions to this situation, but in SalesGrowth, experts from McKinsey & Company provide a practicalblueprint for achieving this goal by exploring what world-classsales executives are doing right now to find growth and captureit—as ...

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The challenges facing today's sales executives and theirorganizations continue to grow, but so do the expectations thatthey will find ways to overcome them and drive consistentsales growth.

There are no simple solutions to this situation, but in SalesGrowth, experts from McKinsey & Company provide a practicalblueprint for achieving this goal by exploring what world-classsales executives are doing right now to find growth and captureit—as well as how they are creating the capabilities to keepgrowing in the future.

Based on interviews with more than 120 of today's mostsuccessful global sales leaders from a wide array of organizationsand industries, Sales Growth puts the experiences of theseprofessionals in perspective and offers real-life examples of howthey've overcome the challenges encountered in the quest forgrowth.

The book, broken down into five overarching strategies forsuccessful sales growth, shares valuable lessons on everything fromhow to beat the competition by looking forward to turning complexanalysis into simple messages for the front line. Page by page,you'll learn how sales executives are digging deeper than ever tofind untapped growth, maximizing emerging markets opportunities,and powering growth through digital sales. You'll also discoverwhat it takes to find big growth in big data, develop the right"sales DNA" in your organization, and improve channelperformance.

The in-depth interviews with sales leaders at BMW, Caterpillar,Coca-Cola Enterprises, EMC, Google, Lattice Engines, Novartis,Pioneer Hi-Bred,, Samsung, SWIFT, VimpelCom,Vodafone, and Würth provide rare insights into a range oftopics. Their stories, as well as numerous case studies, touch onsome of the most essential elements of sales, from adaptingchannels to changing customer needs to optimizing sales operationsand technology, developing sales talent and capabilities, andeffectively leading the way to sales growth.

Engaging and informative, this timely book details provenapproaches to tangible top-line growth and an improved bottom line.Created specifically for sales executives, it will put you in abetter position to drive sales growth in today's competitivemarket.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sales Growth belongs in the selling-as-science school.The book argues that data, process management and outsourcing cando as much for sales departments as for other areas of thecorporation. Companies should create sales ‘factories’where sales teams are ministered to by support people from otherdisciplines, and equip them with computing devices rather thanbriefcases. This book, which finally gives the field some properattention, is long overdue."—The Economist "Can the Dubious Art of Selling Become More Scientific?"(Book Review, April 6, 2012)

"Reading this book is like walking into a room where more than ahundred of the world’s sales leaders are openly sharing theirperspectives. Sales Growth puts sales management back whereit belongs: at the center of management thinking about what makesbusiness successful."
—MARC BENIOFF, Chairman and CEO,

"If timing is everything, then Sales Growth has it made.We are at an inflection point where massive changes in technologyand customer behavior point to growth opportunities. This bookprovides a critical blueprint for bridging thoseopportunities—both those in future and right in front ofus."
—RICHARD KELLAM, Global Chief Customer Officer,Mars

"This book is a must read for sales executives in emergingmarkets. The research and practical ideas clearly spell out how tocreate a global sales strategy with a local edge."
—RICARDO VILLELA MARINO, CEO, Itaú Latin America,Board Member, Itaú Unibanco

"Sales Growth shares wisdom that successful sales leadershave cultivated to create greater value for their customers andtheir companies. It offers a compelling set of case examples thatcombine the art of selling with true analytical rigor andoperational know-how."
—GERHARD GSCHWANDTNER, CEO, Selling Powermagazine

"Improving sales performance with methods and tools is a must. Arefreshing change beyond the common focus on back office andoperational excellence. This book is fact based and takes a uniquecustomer perspective. I have no doubt that the practical insightslaid out here lead to sales growth."
—MICHEL CROCHON, Executive Vice-President, SchneiderElectric

"Sales Growth is essential reading for business leadersand MBA students. It is a thoughtful and practical addition to thediscipline of sales management. Using timely stories andprovocative anecdotes, the authors provide executives with animportant and accessible book."
—DAVID SCHMITTLEIN, John C. Head III Dean, MIT SloanSchool of Management

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118343517
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 602,245
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Baumgartner is a partner in McKinsey &Company's Vienna office. He co-leads McKinsey's work on sales andchannels globally. Baumgartner advises clients in industriesincluding high-tech, electronics, transportation, basic materials,telecommunications, and consumer goods—where he helps themoutline and drive large-scale, top-line growth programs.

Homayoun Hatami is a partner in McKinsey & Company'sParis office. He co-leads McKinsey's work on sales growth. Hatamihas a broad range of experience working with high-tech andtelecommunications clients in Europe, the United States, andAsia.

Jon Vander Ark is a partner in McKinsey & Company'sDetroit office. He co-leads McKinsey's work on sales growth. He hasdeep expertise in sales and channel management across industriesincluding travel, automotive, industrial, and consumerdurables.

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Read an Excerpt

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Preface xv


The best sales leaders drive growth for their companies. Theyuse data and insights to anticipate market momentum and pinpointwhere untapped potential lies. They steal the march on competitorsand lock in new customers first.

CHAPTER 1 Look 10 Quarters Ahead 3

Insights from economic, technological, and behavioral megatrendstranslate into opportunities at the front line. The best salesleaders invest ahead of emerging demand and cultivate demand forproducts that won’t be available for years. Peering into thefuture and harnessing tomorrow’s trends is a job for salesleaders, not just visionary CEOs.

Interview: William J. Teuber, Jr., EMC 14

CHAPTER 2 Mine Growth beneath the Surface 17

Averages are misleading. Take a microscope to existing marketsand see the opportunities that competitors routinely overlook.Drill down to the zip code level or look at customer segments byindustry or demographic characteristics to reveal untapped pocketsof growth. Then turn the analysis into a simple message for thefront line.

Interview: Alejandro Munoz, Pioneer Hi-Bred 28

CHAPTER 3 Find Big Growth in Big Data 31

The explosion of big data (such as customer behavior or socialmedia chatter) opens up amazing sales opportunities. This is rocketscience, but if you’re left behind, you’ll missout—perhaps for good. Retailers could boost operating marginsby up to 25 percent, and all kinds of companies could follow suitif they build insights from a wide array of internal and externaldata sources and create tailored selling propositions based onpersonalization. But to maximize the benefi ts of big data, itneeds to be at the very heart of the sales culture.

Interview: Shashi Upadhyay, Lattice Engines 45


Sophisticated customers are not interested in traditional salesmodels. They demand faster, more seamless, and even enjoyable salesexperiences; they want more information and more value, and theywant it now. Delivering all this is hard enough—doing soprofi tably in both mature and emerging markets is a majorchallenge. Leading sales organizations are fi nding ways to improvedigital, direct, and indirect channel performance, and are crackingthe code of how to integrate them.

CHAPTER 4 Master Multichannel Sales 51

No company can compete today using only a single sales channel.But with so many channels to manage, how can you ensureconsistency, maintain close contact with customers, and raiseprofitability? The best sales leaders blend remote and fi eldsales, integrate online and offl ine channels, orchestrate directand indirect sales teams, and even use service as a saleschannel.

Interview: Gregory Lee, Samsung 62

CHAPTER 5 Power Growth through Digital Sales 65

You have a website, but can your company really claim to becutting edge with its digital strategy? The most forward-thinkingorganizations see sales fi gures and conversion rates skyrocketwhen they get online and mobile platforms right. They test andtweak constantly to delight the customer and turn clicks intosales. They embrace social media and understand that buzz is onlyvaluable if it hits the bottom line. Finally, they recognize thatdigital cannot stand alone—it is seamless integration withother channels that wins the day.

Interview: Margo Georgiadis, Google 81

CHAPTER 6 Innovate Direct Sales 85

When did you last change your direct sales approach? Leaders ofthe most successful direct sales forces have done just that. Theynow engage customers early—often before any salespitch—for example, by putting customers in touch with theexperts who will infl uence their decisions. Even for the biggestsuppliers in the most highly developed markets, there are alwaysnew ways for hunters to land new customers.

Interview: Jan Geldmacher, Vodafone 95

CHAPTER 7 Invest in Partners for Mutual Profit 99

Often a partner is the best or only way to reach thefastestgrowing markets, but the partner relationship can befraught. The winning approach is simple: treat partners as anextension of the sales force, help them with their bottom lines,and set clear guidelines for channel confl ict. Companies thatmaster the challenge improve channel revenues by 10 to 20 percentand cut cost of sales by 5 to 10 percent.

Interview: Stu L. Levenick, Caterpillar 110

CHAPTER 8 Sell Like a Local in Emerging Markets 113

Fast-growing emerging economies present huge salesopportunities, but successful sales organizations don’t rushin. They balance the need for speed with a nuanced understanding ofthe specifi c local market; they overinvest in fi nding the rightpartners to spare a lot of grief later on; and they thinkbig—building up sales capacity well in advance of needingit.

Interview: Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom 127


Sales leaders can’t deliver growth or optimize channels bywaving a magic wand. No frontline effort can succeed without theright back-offi ce capabilities. An effi cient and effective salessupport operation is critically important for supporting both thedirect sales force and channel partners.

CHAPTER 9 Tune Sales Operations for Growth 133

Sales operations not only represent a huge opportunity for costimprovement (reducing back-offi ce costs by 20 to 30 percent is notunusual), they are also an important contributor to customerexperience, and sales force and channel effectiveness. An effectiveback office can boost revenues by 10 to 25 percent by givingfrontline sales teams 50 percent more time to sell. Customers,meanwhile, love the smoother fulfi llment and faster turnaroundtime.

Interview: Alain Raes, SWIFT 143

CHAPTER 10 Build a Technological Advantage in Sales147

Sales technology continues to evolve, but companies must ensurethat it enables success instead of gathering dust in a metaphoricalbackroom. Technology helps sales leaders pull ahead of their peers,arming account managers with killer insights or improving betterintegration with channel partners. It requires investment, but thetop companies understand the benefi ts, and they focus on acquiringthe right analytical tools and talent so that technology deliversthe high returns it promises.

Interview: Frank van Veenendaal, 157


Sales leaders can have all the market analysis, all themultichannel processes, and all the technological wizardryavailable, but without investing substantially in the right talent,they will achieve little.

CHAPTER 11 Manage Performance for Growth 163

Performance management is the bedrock of many salesorganizations, especially as performance varies more in sales thanin other functions. The best management invests enormous energy inthis fi eld and can see close rates rocket by 25 percent, highercustomer satisfaction ratings, and up to 30 percent higher contractvalues. To achieve this, they coach rookies into stars, set theright tempo for reporting and intervention, and know motivationgoes deeper than money.

Interview: Mario Weiss, Würth 175

CHAPTER 12 Build Sales DNA 177

Achieving excellence in sales for six months is great, embeddingit in the genes of the organization is better. World-classcompanies create a culture fi t for the long term. They give middlemanagers a starring role as agents of change, and they focus oncreating crack teams, going beyond individuals’ skills tobuild institutional capabilities.

Interview: Ludwig Willisch, BMW 188


It’s time to think about accelerating sales growth in yourown company. Sales leaders need ambition, determination, and thepersuasive skills to bring both the board and the front line withthem on what can be a challenging, but extremely rewardingjourney.

CHAPTER 13 Drive Growth from the Very Top 193

Sales leaders know they themselves must be at the vanguard ofchange. Without strong leadership any growth program will flounder. Best-practice leaders challenge the status quo, theygalvanize their team, they model change, and they demand resultsabove and beyond everything else.

Interview: Hubert Patricot, Coca-Cola Enterprises 199

CHAPTER 14 Make It Happen 201

The preceding chapters are rich with ideas, examples, casestudies, and interviews with leading sales practitioners. Nowit’s over to you. For sales leaders determined to drivechange and seek the sales growth on offer, we have a selfassessmentguide and some benchmarks to get you started. Stakeholder alignmentis essential, as is a clear vision of how to prioritize thetransformation effort. Only 30 percent of change programssucceed—ensure yours is one of those that make the grade.

Interview: Huw Tippett, Novartis 220

Epilogue 225

Sales Growth Online 227

About the Authors 229

Acknowledgments 231

Index 233

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012


    Um guys? Whose impostering me?

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    Posted June 4, 2012

    To "real selena"

    I know your ben cuz youre my nook friend and i can see wherever you posted and what you posted.

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    Posted May 26, 2012


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    To guy

    Where again?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012


    Ya u r ben

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    Posted May 26, 2012

    Begger to selena

    Ru on

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