While some business executives may find the author’s assessment sobering if not downright depressing, this book provides the...

BUILDING THE MOST EFFECTIVE SALES FORCE IN THE WORLD

IN THE POST GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

A welcome update on building a sales force in the new economic environment.

The financial meltdown of 2008 claimed many victims, but an area that surely felt intense pressure was the corporate sales force. Every company’s sales force had to adjust to a new market reality. The author of this timely book, an international business consultant who highlights some of her firm’s research into sales organizations, writes that a “new customer profile” started to take shape after the financial crisis. Customers “were less trusting and found heavy selling tactics repulsive...they wanted price and if that was right, then they would look at other key factors.” Crane says, “Effective salespeople now are those that are able to confront and challenge their customers’ thinking and influence them in such a way that changes their minds.” This new requirement, the author says, demands a new kind of salesperson: “It is about a sales force that is enabled with a broader degree of knowledge and skill that can take a strong case to customers and influence them to change their minds about how they do business.” Crane offers important advice to companies, including how to refocus, why a new kind of sales manager is necessary, the importance of systems, keys to developing the right relationship between sales and marketing, and perhaps most importantly, ways to transform not just the sales force but the manner in which the company does business. Rather than serve up a sugarcoated, lightweight primer, Crane delves deeply into the messy, complex world of corporate selling. She strongly lobbies for “embracing transformation from within,” even though she makes clear that there are no easy answers. Of course, making a case for taking action is one thing; executing a plan of action is quite another, so it’s helpful that Crane includes three pertinent case studies at the end of the book to show in detail how business’ transformations can impact sales in today’s market. “Don’t be yesterday’s company in tomorrow’s world,” she urges.

While some business executives may find the author’s assessment sobering if not downright depressing, this book provides the wake-up call many may need to stoke up their sales forces.

Pub Date: March 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-1449960353

Page Count: 226

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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