The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies (9780446695190): Stephen E. Heiman, Tad Tuleja, Robert B. Miller, J. W. Marriott: Books
The Book That Sparked A Selling Revolution In 1985 one book changed sales and marketing forever. Rejecting manipulative tactics and emphasizing "process," Strategic Selling presented the idea of selling as a joint venture and introduced the decade's most influential concept, Win-Win. The response to Win-Win was immediate and helped turn the small company that created Strategic Selling, Miller Heiman, into a global leader in sales development with the most prestigious client list in the industry. The New Strategic Selling This modern edition of the business classic confronts the rapidly evolving world of business-to-business sales with new real-world examples, new strategies for confronting competition, and a special section featuring the most commonly asked questions from the Miller Heiman workshops. Learn: * How to identify the four real decision makers in every corporate labyrinth * How to prevent sabotage by an internal deal-killer * How to make a senior executive eager to see you * How to avoid closing business that you'll later regret * How to manage a territory to provide steady, not "boom and bust," revenue * How to avoid the single most common error when dealing with the competition.
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Business Plus; Rev Upd edition (April 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 044669519X
- ISBN-13: 978-0446695190
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Great for engineers, high-tech sales, professionals…
I’ve been using “Strategic Selling” in my engineering sales practice since the original edition of this book hit the bookshelves. This is a great method for people who don’t want to consider themselves “salespeople”, but who indeed sell. Engineers, architects, high-tech products sales consultants, and other professionals, will find this to be a low pressure, ethics-based approach to selling. I call it “the engineers approach” to sales because it provides such a methodological approach. For the professional salesperson, it puts into a repeatable process what they have been doing instinctively. But why leave it to chance?
The list of major companies who use the Strategic Selling process to drive their sales is extremely impressive.
Sales meets risk mitigated engineering
I am not a full time sales person, I am a software engineer and researcher who gets involved in some pre-sales consulting. I bought this book to become more educated on the Miller Heiman sales approach that is now standard for all of our sales people. I found this book very helpful and feel as though I now have a basic working knowledge of the sales system we use.The Miller Heiman training is rather expensive so I did not attend the actual classes with our regular sales staff.
The approach of this book came naturally to me. This sales strategy is much like engineering decisions in using continual review of risks and generating ideas to mitigate those risks while simultaneously advancing toward the closing of the project (a sales deal). There are many lists and sublists within the method that are pretty well known by now so I won’t try to list many of them here. The terminology is important and very memorable – “Coach”, “Economic Buyer”, “Funnel”, “Best Few”, etc.
The book is clear about what it is not and I appreciate that too since sales is not my background. It is not a book of sales tactics, that is, how to literally sell someone something face to face in the “sales event” as the book calls it. The book assumes the reader is an experienced sales person and is already perfecting this skill (a fair assumption). It also does not try to teach skills in deal closure/contracting since that subject is already covered by many other books and is another assumed skill.
What the book does talk about at length is approaching each deal as a unique project that has its own risks, dynamics and yet can be managed within a systematic framework for success. “This entire book can be seen as an analytical machine designed to produce one meticulously tested product – your Alternate Positions list.” (p171) The Alternate Positions list is essentially a list of ideas of what things you might try next along with the accompanying rationale for each idea. The ideas are very specific so they can be tested for pass/fail, they are not vague notions. Updated “Alternate Positions” are continuously needed because your current position is assumed to be in need of constant improvement until you win the sale, from beginning to end. When applied to an actual case, the strategy means to shake-out undue sales optimism with realism on specific important aspects of getting THIS deal, not just any deal generally, this one deal specifically.
There are plenty of real life sales examples throughout the book that put flesh on the theoretical framework. I relate to the systematic, risk mitigating approach, but I was reminded of my own shortcomings in reading and managing the dynamics of people who can be fluid, dynamic, fickle, irrational, etc. yet very important to winning the account. This is the sales persons’ chosen medium (people skills) and it is more tricky and unfair than dealing with things. However, the engineering, project oriented, framework makes sense in both of these worlds and the book does a great job of prompting sales people to think a bit more like engineers. Relentless information gathering (and analysis for adding to actual knowledge) is the bottom line to succesfully navigating through a complex project of any type.
I particularly like the way the book views competition as those who run the race against you trying to get to the sale first, instead of being the ones standing in front of you who must be defeated to surely win the customers business (definitely not a sure approach). Miller Heiman stresses focusing on the prospect from first to last, not the competitor. Competitors and the risks they entail must be managed, but not become the focus. The message is, carry out the Miller Heiman system (run the race) better than they do and you will typically win the business over them.
This is an easy read and really a nice page-turner especially if you’re new to sales reading like I am. It’s good it’s a page turner though because the book is a bit too long and redundant for the ground it covers. It is all useful info but I think at least 15% of the book could be eliminated since it is driving home the same fundamentals over and over again from slightly different perspectives like you were sitting in the classroom. I understand the merits, but my reading time is valuable to me so I subtracted a rating point for failure to streamline the book a bit more. I expect successful complex sales professionals will recognize many of the ideas here, but the information is very well organized and probably a good purchase for anyone connected with sales, especially uninitiated tech types like me.
People who follow the examples shown in this book will sell
I have many years of industrial sales experience, and I started my own manufacturing business with venture capital financing (Big time selling). This book has the best approach to strategic selling that I have encountered. I read it to get recharged and check my practices. I recommend it to all new sales people.
Perfect for salespeople managing complex sales
If you manage large sales that include multiple decision makers or multiple departments/divisions within a company you MUST buy this book. It has become the bible of large account salespeople throughout the world. The new edition expands on the concepts of the original book & adds a new concept, degree of influence. If you are in sales and haven’t already read this book, buy it… now!
There is also a cassette version which is excellent. It makes for good listening but does not substitute for the process of working your way through the text. I bought both. They are an excellent investment.
Get what you’re looking for-
A great book for the large, multimillion-dollar corporate, government, B2B complex sales executive looking to enhance, hone and build their sales strategies. The New Strategic Selling system focuses on the big fish. Many tactics and ideas may apply to smaller business sales opportunities but the main focus is toward major corporate accounts where the sale must funnel through multiple channels before closing versus smaller business accounts.
If knowledge is power, then the knowledge in this book will make you soar. Amazing how liberating and purifying insight can be! This book, in my opinion, found a perfect balance between theoretical framework and hands-on, immediately applicable knowledge. They say that knowledge is a dispeller of darkness, and that is exactly what I experienced. Although for the last five years, I am more or less successful in the sales arena, I, for the most part, never really understood the underlying sales process and the importance of a strategy, but was lost in the little techniques and good people skills. Uncertainty, and thereby fear and luck, were ruling almost all my sales efforts. What this book provided me with is a straight-forward, structured and repeatable sales system that takes out most of the uncertainty and replaces it with knowledge about oneself and the customer, and shows a practical path to creating value-based, long-lasting and satisfying customer relationships.
Get What You Want Out of Life!
I purchased this book a couple of years ago when I was trying to break into medical sales. I didn’t get the job I was interviewing for, but this book has subsequently rewarded me in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the time. It’s not just a book about completing the complex sale. It’s a book about how to get what you want out of life. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s a book that opens your eyes up to how many important things in your life are actually a complex sale.
This book is filled with specific instructions to help keep you focused on the outcome you desire, and prepared to manage the influences that can either help you or hurt you along the way. Nothing is left to chance. Red flags are identified, strategies are developed, and win/win solutions are created all the way around. The natural result is good will, and customers who feel like you helped them fill the gap between where they were, and where they needed to be.
This book is perfect for anyone who has developed a lot of technical expertise in a given field, but might be a bit inexperienced or even naive when it comes to politics. We’ve all had great ideas shot down by people whose motives were less than laudable. Don’t waste precious time and energy getting angry that these people have rank and authority. Learn how to manage them! This book shows you how.
Complex Selling Both a Strategic and Tactical Endeavor
Stephen E. Heiman, Diane Sanchez, and Tad Tuleja provide a practical, dynamic framework to approach complex selling from both a strategic and tactical point of view. Like a general, a salesperson must first master the art of planning his/her forces before being able to approach a customer/prospect effectively. Heiman, Sanchez, and Tuleja rightly recommend that their audience think about one complex selling situation that they have dealt with and analyse it using the six key elements to consider in a complex selling. The six elements are the following: buying influences, red flags/areas of strengths, response modes, wins/results, ideal customer profile, and sales funnel. Although the audience can first consider that exercise a chore, they will derive a lot of value from it by internalizing the author’s framework. Heiman, Sanchez, and Tuleja correctly remind their audience that the salesperson needs to have a broad understanding of his/her competition. Competition includes not only direct competitive offerings and substitutes, but also customer/prospect’s options such as doing nothing, in sourcing, or resource reallocation for other purposes. Furthermore, Heiman, Sanchez, and Tuleja recommend that their audience adopt a “side” strategy and not a “face” strategy by focusing first on customer/prospect’s needs and not primarily on a narrowly defined competition. With a little bit of practice, the framework described above becomes second nature and allows the audience to eventually use it in a multitude of settings. For example, applying for a job is often similar to complex selling. The job seeker needs to make a mutually beneficial value proposition not only to the hiring manager(s), but also to the assistant (s), the receptionist and any other relevant persons who can make a difference in hiring him/her or not. Similarly, a fundraiser could use the above-mentioned framework to raise funds on behalf of his/her non-profit organization.
The Latest Edition Is Even More Valuable
NOTE: The review which follows is of the revised and updated (i.e. most recently published) edition co-authored by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman with Tad Tuleja.
With Tuleja, Miller and Heiman offer a revised and updated edition of a book first published 20 years ago. Why? “The first [reason] is that our clients asked us to. Even though they found strategic Selling to be just as effective, and the concepts just as relevant, as they had been in 1985, some of them felt that…even the best processes could use a face-lift….The second reason we revised Strategic Selling [i.e. the book] relates to a basic axiom of the process itself: `Whatever got you where you are today is no longer sufficient to keep you there.” And even if it did, I presume to add, it is almost certainly not sufficient to get you where you want to go.
Miller, Heiman, and their associates examined the original and subsequently revised material (1998) with “a fine-tooth comb, sharpening and enhancing it line-by-line.” The results of those labors are impressive, especially given the new discussions of various strategy concepts such as Degree of Influence (also known as Circle of Influence); the Win-Win Statement (rigorously examined in Chapter 10); Competition (covered in an entirely new chapter in Part 2, Chapter 13; and The “Refined Sales Funnel,” a time and territory management tool which is most effective when carefully coordinated with another tool, the Ideal Customer Profile. In this edition, Miller and Heiman reverse the order: “Focusing on Your Ideal Customer “(Part 4, Chapters 14 and 15) followed by “Managing Your Selling Time” (Part 5, Chapters 16-18).
Of special interest to me is the final section, “After Twenty Years: Responding to Our Clients’ Most Challenging Questions,” to which Miller and Heiman respond. 15. Yes, the questions are indeed “challenging” — questions which everyone at least directly involved in sales should be asking of themselves on a regular basis — but the greater value of this section is derived from what Miller and Heiman have so say. Their comments are directly responsive, offered with a conversational (as opposed to a professorial) tone. When appropriate, they duly acknowledge the complexities and ambiguities in a given situation. And throughout their responses, they make a sincere and generally effective effort to “level” with their reader. For example:
14. “The Surefire Close. When all is said and done, you still have to close. Do you have any reliable closing techniques for helping us to improve our hit ratio?”
A: “In a word: No.” Why? See the complete response on pages 422-423.
15. “The Secret of Success. We’re often told that the salesperson’s single most important quality is persistence. What do you think about this?”
A: “Persistence is an admirable quality, but it won’t get you anywhere unless the people you are persistent with believe in you and are absolutely convinced that they can trust you….The one quality that every great salesperson has got to have is not persistence but credibility.” Why? See the complete response on pages 423-424.
Granted, these brief examples are taken out of context, in terms both of the section from which they are excerpted and the book within which that section serves as a conclusion. Nonetheless, I hope they give at least some indication of why a revised and updated edition was needed.
Everyone in sales should have her or his own “toolkit.” Some of its contents are provided by the given employee, others are provided by formal training and/or a supervisor, and still others from a book such as this. Long ago, I realized that strategies are “hammers” and tactics are “nails.” The former drive the latter. That said, I presume to offer a caveat. Keep in mind this bromide: a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Obviously, it would be foolish to stuff a “toolkit” with everything offered by Miller and Heiman in combination with everything offered in other excellent books such as Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling, Jacques Werth and Nicholas E. Ruben’s High Probability Selling, and Gary Hankins’ The Power of the Pitch. Presumably Miller and Heiman agree that readers of books such as theirs must be aware of everything available in what could be called “The Salesperson’s Super Hardware Store.” The challenge is to select and then use effectively those tools which are most appropriate to the given marketplace.
Opportunity Management Process
Many times a sales person can get confused identifying the players, the probability of change, the timing, the competition, the politics of a sales opportunity. Following the Strategic Selling process lays out an effective plan that leverages the key benefits of the sellers/buyers solution, and minimizes price as the principle buying criteria. Strategic Selling provides a process for what successful sale people do consistently-Plan. This book lays out a process that is also a two day class used by many global corporation’s sales forces. The book is not a replacement for the class, but if you are selling B2B the process is well documented, and will put you on the right track. I have been teaching and using this process for 13 years and I have not found a better sales opportunity planning process. I think you can learn more from this book than from 100 sales calls.
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