By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
The sales profession certainly has no shortage of literature detailing various techniques, tips and strategies for becoming a great (or at least competent) sales professional. Few of them, however, have the depth of insight that Neil Rackham in his book Major Account Sales Strategy. In it, he outlines a complicated process with elegant simplicity remaining strikingly relevant more than 20 years after its writing. Mr. Rackham observes, in particular, the complexities of having multiple decision makers and long sales cycles can make a sales job. Major Account Sales Strategy breaks down the anatomy of a complex sales cycle from initially gaining access to key decision makers, through needs analysis, presentation, negotiation and all the way through the fulfilment process and post-sales follow up. For any sale more complicated than retail, this book presents a comprehensive examination of the sales process.
While the book is worth reading in its entirety, some of the key takeaways in today’s sales environment are the need to maintain a consistent pipeline of accounts moving through the buying process and to have a thought out strategy on every account. While the book predates the arrival of modern cloud-based CRM platforms, it is these challenges precisely that they are designed to alleviate. Rackham points out on many occasions throughout the book that the ability to stay organized in the management of sales contacts and leads is often the deciding factor in successfully closing a sale.
What solidly differentiates Rackham from other sales authors is his relentless quantitative experience on the subject of sales. Few other researchers have taken the time to examine what works across industries and sales professionals, instead preferring to rely on anecdotes and personal experience. With its rigorous base and valuable insights into the inner workings of a sales pipeline, Major Account Sales Strategy is a valuable addition to any sales library.