Book Review: The Sales Leader’s Playbook

The Sales Leader’s Playbook provides an easily digestible and down to earth guide to managing and leading a sales team.

By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals


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The majority of sales literature focuses on a well-trodden path of good, and sometimes questionable advice and research. It’s focus, though, is almost always on how to help salespeople do their job better. It’s rarer for a book to start out with the explicit intention of focusing on the skills that sales leaders need. This single-mindedness is exactly what the Sales Leader’s Playbook provides. The book makes an excellent read for any new sales manager or a review for seasoned managers who want a fresh look at the fundamentals.

Sales managers can find themselves in a challenging position, particularly when they first enter the ranks of management. In most sales organizations, top performers are the one’s that receive first consideration for management opportunities. Most quickly find though that the skills that made them good salespeople don’t necessarily translate into what they need in their new roles.

Sales rely heavily on personal time management, and knowledge of how to move accounts forward through the sales process. Once in management, the needed skill set changes and evolves. Instead of being accountable individual performance, managers need to understand how to build, motivate and train teams.

The Sales Leaders Playbook examines these complicated issues step by step. Where many books will offer a deeper dive into sales theory and organizational management, Jamail provides short and actionable chapters that showcase the challenges and possibilities that present themselves when managing a sales team.

The book starts out with a discussion of what successful leadership entails. With this foundation, Jamail moves on to examine how vision culture and beliefs affect the performance of sales teams. His thoughts on producing a winning culture that operates with drive and vision underpin Jamail’s entire philosophy for managing sales teams.

From its discussion on culture and vision, the author goes on to look at many of the most concrete aspects of running a sales team. From expectations and accountability to business planning and training, the Sales Leader’s Playbook is laid out in such a way that each chapter can form a primer on a topic on its own. What it may lack in subject-matter depth, it makes up for in readability and action-oriented insight.

Perhaps the strongest thing The Sales Leader Playbook has going for it is that it is written for a salesperson turned manager by someone who’s walked that career path. It’s not an MBA textbook, and it’s not a book about how to sell better. Instead, it takes the same action-oriented approach that successful salespeople bring to the job every day and helps apply it to managing the success of others.

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