Gary Tubridy of Alexander Group and co-author Noel Capon, of Columbia Business School, are pleased to announce the publication of “Sales Eats First,” chronicling the operational and managerial characteristics of the most successful US sales organizations. With in-depth interviews of over 30 top sales executives from these leading organizations, the book uses quotes and anecdotes to describe the playbook that companies as diverse as Cisco and Whirlpool use to deliver solid sales results year after year.
An executive from Sony summed it up well by saying, “You keep your field strong because they’re closest to the customer. They understand more of what’s going on, and you have to empower them to make the calls and take the decisions.”
Key findings in the book show that the best sales organizations share five common characteristics:
Each has an executive team that “leads from the front.” Leadership spends time in the field working with sales managers, salespeople and customers. They’re active and visible. They are in regular and frequent contact with the troops. And they impart a proprietary attitude to the team, one that exhorts sellers to “treat the business like it was your own.”
These organizations “speak loudly and carry a big carrot.” Adapted from Teddy Roosevelt’s motto, it means that in these companies, rewards — financial incentives and recognition — play a big role. This includes ample use of “tough love” techniques. Lots of effort is expended on recruitment, training, development and coaching — in return these organizations expect results. They make significant investments in their people and then hold them accountable.
They “advance the science of sales and the art of the customer relationship.” They quantify what successful sellers do to develop close relationships with customers. Then they export these practices to all sellers by provisioning them with the tools to implement them on a mass scale.
These organizations foster a culture of “loud mistakes”. In other words, they empower salespeople to take chances; they tolerate well intentioned failure in the interest of finding new ways to serve customers better. If an idea fails, they discard it quickly with a “nice try” to the seller. When an idea works, they invest in it and scale it quickly.
These top sales organizations find sellers who “live the mission.” Sure, money counts but the best organizations energize their sellers around a larger mission. Examples abound. The healthcare organization where sellers believe they “help save lives” with the products they bring to market. The appliance manufacturer whose sellers believe they help enhance the lives of homemakers. The home electronics manufacturer where sellers are motivated by helping consumers make the most of their free time.
This book is a must read for all sales leaders looking for insights and best practices from some of the world’s top sales organizations. To learn more about Sales Eats First, please visit www.saleseatsfirst.com.
Visit the Alexander Group website for more valuable insights.
Gary Tubridy is a principal of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.
Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.