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The Machine: A Radical Approach to the Design of the Sales Function

Don’t read this book if you’re looking for an affirmation of the sales status quo. Roff-Marsh argues that the marketplace has changed dramatically since the evolution of the standard sales model and that radical change is being forced on organizations—like it or not!

Here are just some of the radical changes that Roff-Marsh advocates (and sacred cows he slays) in this comprehensive and impeccably-argued treatise.

Salespeople should be inside, not in the field.
Engineers should perform necessary field sales activities.

Revenue should be the responsibility of Operations, not Sales.
Sales should focus exclusively on the pursuit of new business.

Only commercial relationships are truly important.
Personal relationships are more likely to be the consequence of good commercial relationships than they are to be the cause of them.

Salespeople should be paid their market value in the form of a salary.
Piece-rate pay (commissions) should be eliminated in sales, just like it has been elsewhere.

Sales performance should be mandatory, not optional.
Salespeople should be actively managed, and it should be a condition of their employment that they generate a commercially reasonable volume of new business.

Salespeople should not prospect.
The marketing department should be responsible for replenishing salespeople’s opportunity queues daily.

The qualification of sales opportunities (or leads) destroys value.
Salespeople should be selling to your competitors' customers—not to folks who are actively looking for a new supplier.

The Sales Development Rep role should be eliminated.
SDRs are one of many common examples of sub-optimization in sales environments. You increase the salesperson’s win rate but you reduce the total volume of business won.

Salespeople should focus on selling programs, not products.
Unless a product is new and revolutionary, it should be packaged into a program of some kind (or it should be sold without salespeople).

Shut down your branch offices and open (fewer) distribution centers.
It’s speed to customer that’s important (not proximity).

The Machine is a field guide for the executive who's prepared to wrestle sales away from autonomous field-based artisans in favor of a tightly synchronized team of specialists. Readers will embrace The Machine either to exploit the new sales order or to avoid falling victim to it.

If you employ salespeople and you’re committed to the growth of your organization, you really should read this book.