February 2

What is Effective Selling?


​Effective selling is the result of strategic choices and operational systems, not sales efforts alone. Having a great sales force starts with sound business choices and creating operations around those choices.

IDEA #1: McDonald’s didn’t become the largest hamburger chain relying on super chefs. A company shouldn’t rely on super salespeople, or ‘A’ players for their success either.

IDEA #2: More than one executive has told me “Sales knows what to do.” Unfortunately, that violates ​everything we know about ​human nature. ​Even if they did know, could they do it? Every great team requires managers, coaches, and players to be successful. Players aren’t expected to self-manage, coaches aren’t expected to play.


Effective selling is the outcome of strategic choices and organizational systems, not only sales efforts.

​Frank Cespedes, Aligning Strategy and Sales,

Harvard Business Review Press. 

​Why do we expect salespeople to be great in all three positions? A company must not only set the direction of the sales force but manage and coach in order to be successful.

IDEA #3: The greatest business mind of the 20th century, Peter Drucker, said that the purpose of a business is to create a customer. While completely accurate and true, in practice that isn’t enough direction for either the company of the sales force.

To answer “what is effective selling” start with asking yourself these questions:

  • ​What are the business results I want from my salesforce?
  • ​What kind of customer will produce those business results?
  • ​Where are those customers located, how do they buy, and how does the company reach and sell to them?
  • ​What is the ideal buying conditions I need to create in order for prospects to buy?

Knowing your customers and building a sales force around their needs and processes instead of yours is fundamental to having success with your sales force.

Effective selling is the outcome of strategic choices and organizational systems, not only sales efforts. ​ After making ​the strategic choices ​leadership must enable the sales force. Just as there are good systems for other departments, from the manufacturing floor to accounting, sales is empowered by good organizational systems. ​After making good "customer focused" choices and organizing around ​strategic decisions, sales efforts can be ​directed and maximized. 


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