The Machine | Justin Roff-Marsh

Summary of: The Machine: A Radical Approach to the Design of the Sales Function
By: Justin Roff-Marsh


Do traditional sales methods still work for your organization? In ‘The Machine: A Radical Approach to the Design of the Sales Function’, Justin Roff-Marsh challenges sales practices established decades ago, noting that most salespeople spend only 10% of their time selling. This book summary offers a blueprint for a radical overhaul of your company’s sales function, providing a step-by-step guide to building an efficient sales machine. Discover how to transform your sales operations into an inside-out approach, the roles marketing plays, the importance of specialized resources and centralized scheduling, and how to move away from outdated practices that no longer serve your business.

The Sales Revolution

Most conventional firms follow outdated sales operations that lead to familiar sales organizations run by a manager and autonomous outside salespeople. However, a high percentage of salespeople spend just 10% of their daily schedules selling. Building a sales machine requires radical transformation, including closing all field sales offices, not hiring external salespeople, dropping commissions, divorcing sales from production, and ensuring salespeople don’t own the customer relationship. This overhaul will create a more modern, efficient sales system that meets the changing needs of the marketplace.

Boosting Sales the Smart Way

The secret to building a successful machine is constant sales activity through a campaign coordinator. Co-locate the coordinator with your sales team to maintain a pool of leads and ensure everyone makes over 30 calls a day. Inside sales should be able to handle most sales, even for sophisticated products and services.

Building an Efficient Sales Machine

To hire or assign a field salesperson, there must be complex sales conditions requiring on-site meetings with clients. For every field salesperson, a full-time scheduler-assistant should be attached to assist with planning their schedules. Field salespeople should conduct four prospect meetings each day, five days a week. Breakthrough sales results require integrating sales with other functions in the organization. Project managers should manage relationships with customers and coordinate production or delivery with outside salespeople. Cold calling is no longer effective, so adhere to the principles of division of labor to streamline sales operations and remain efficient.

Overhauling Dysfunctional Sales Organizations

Traditional, dysfunctional sales organizations can achieve massive performance improvements by following guideline steps towards redesigning their marketing and sales structures. In most cases, forecasting consumes a lot of time and is completely wasted. Leaders may need an outsider to drive this change, though resistance may occur, especially from outside salespeople who must shift their mindset to selling all the time and comply to a rigorous travel schedule.

Sales Process Engineering

To improve sales, commit to Sales Process Engineering (SPE) and implement changes gradually. First, centralize scheduling to coordinate everyone’s activities. Hire a scheduler or assign a scheduler as the first resource in the reorganization. Schedulers control outside salespeople’s schedules and ensure they meet the goal of 20 sales meetings per week. Second, standardize workflows and make sure everyone follows the processes. Each piece of the process, from lead generation to visiting prospects, should be scalable and repeatable. Third, specialize resources by focusing people on one component of the process to avoid productivity loss. Fourth, formalize management to solve problems and make decisions when priorities or people clash. Managers ensure all pieces work in harmony because specialists cannot see the big picture. By following these steps, SPE will remove complexity from the equation and generate sales opportunities throughout the day.

The Shift Towards Inside Sales

Selling has shifted from external salespeople to inside sales, with field specialists and schedulers being a better choice when sales happen in the field. Every manager should understand the role of statistics in sales, to make data-driven decisions. Before building a sales organization, it is crucial to know your distribution strategy and consumers.

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