Building a Winning Sales Force

Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance

 Building a Winning Sales Force

Authors: Andris A. Zoltners, Ph.D., Prabhakant Sinha, Ph.D., Sally E. Lorimer
Pub Date: March 2009
Print Edition: $39.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437568
Page Count: 496
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814410424

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Building a Winning Sales Force

Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance

“This terrific book achieves the rare feat of providing robust frameworks for addressing the most important problems facing the sales forces of today…A masterful combination of highly practical insights gained from hundreds of industry applications and the sophistication of decades of academic thinking and writing.”

—Kash Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School

You can’t cost-cut your way to prosperity. You have to generate sales. Even in the face of a dismal economy, massive layoffs and poor forecasts from nearly every company, the selling function remains the primary driver of revenue for businesses across the globe. Companies invest nearly three times the amount of money in their sales forces as they spend on advertising. And now more than ever, sales leaders must ensure that any investment in their organization’s sales strategy, processes or people has a positive impact on the bottom line.

BUILDING A WINNING SALES FORCE: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance (AMACOM 2009), a new book from sales force strategy and effectiveness experts Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer, will equip sales leaders with the tools they need to create successful sales organizations in these difficult economic times.

Drawing on their experience consulting with over 200 companies around the world—the authors lay out a clear, comprehensive and relevant blueprint for building and sustaining sales force success in any business climate. “Making the numbers is a sign of success, but it can also be a sign of good fortune,” Zoltners notes. “True sales success depends on understanding and maximizing all the drivers of sales force effectiveness.”

Book Outlines Keys to Sales Force Effectiveness

BUILDING A WINNING SALES FORCE begins by identifying the top 12 sales effectiveness drivers—from the features that define and shape salesperson roles, such as organizational structure and hiring practices; to the factors that enlighten salespeople by giving them valuable customer knowledge and excite them and keep them motivated; to aspects that control direct sales force tasks and behavior. After shedding light on how different drivers work together and how sales leaders can pinpoint and prioritize which drivers need adjustment, Zoltners, Sinha, and Lorimer offer innovative strategies for getting maximum impact from each of the keys to sales force excellence. With in-depth discussions and real-world examples to guide them, sales leaders will learn what it takes to:

- Develop sales strategies that demonstrate value to each targeted customer segment.

- Size and structure their sales force to efficiently respond to market opportunities, adapt to competitive and economic challenges and protect the best salespeople.

- Recruit and retain the right high-quality salespeople for the company’s products, customers and culture.

- Design and implement a compensation and incentive plan that motivates high levels of sales effort from veteran team members as well as recent recruits.

- Set territory-level goals that are fair, realistic, motivating and achievable.

- Establish learning and development (L&D) programs that not only arm salespeople with the best tools and information but also continuously strengthen their capabilities.

- Leverage the power of information technology to enhance sales.

- Align the entire sales system around company objectives and provide benchmarks against which sales force activity can be measured, controlled and rewarded.

In the final section of BUILDING A WINNING SALES FORCE, the authors tackle some of the most urgent sales management challenges, such as sales force complacency—the silent killer of sales effectiveness. Sales leaders will get welcome advice, backed by instructive case studies, on how to adapt a sales strategy to unwelcome changes, such as recessionary periods, and how to maximize results by redirecting sales resources and efforts to the right customers, products and activities. Readers will also discover insights for retaining successful salespeople with an emphasis on nurturing tomorrow’s sales leaders. The book also provides unique and innovative frameworks for aligning sales and marketing functions to form an effective customer facing organization.

Culminating with a chapter on how GE has effectively implemented the ideas outlined in the book, BUILDING A WINNING SALES FORCE is a bold, sweeping and thoroughly pragmatic guide to building and maintaining a successful sales organization, even in the toughest of economic times. Informed by rigorous research, grounded in real-life experiences and written for immediate implementation, this is the one book that can help every sales leader face market challenges, stay competitive, and drive their sales force and company towards a rewarding future.


Andris A. Zoltners and Prabhakant Sinha are the founders and co-chairmen of ZS Associates, a global consulting firm specializing in sales effectiveness. Previously a principal at ZS Associates, Sally E. Lorimer is a business writer with significant sales force consulting experience. Zoltners is also a Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The coauthors have collaborated on numerous articles and reference books for sales executives, including The Complete Guide to Sales Force Incentive Compensation and The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance, both published by AMACOM Books, and Sales Force Design for Strategic Advantage, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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