Sales Growth Book ReviewYou can find my review here.


The most interesting response I received was directly from McKinsey. Contrary to general opinion, McKinsey did not go on the attack.  They did not agree with my assessment but voiced their disagreement with professionalism.  I appreciate McKinsey reading this blog and engaging in the discussion.  It is this kind of debate that will further our collective knowledge on the subject of sales force effectiveness. So, to my peers at McKinsey, thank you.


However, I do find their rebuttal inconsistent with what their clients have told me.  I also find hiding behind client confidentiality to be disappointing.  No one is asking for them to reveal secrets. 


I requested an interview with the authors and they declined. My hope was to post the audio recording of the interview for you.  Maybe next time.


Having said all that, they deserve to be heard.  There are two sides to every story and you deserve to hear theirs.  Below is this response to my review.  Enjoy. 


Friday, July 06, 2012 4:27 PM
Greg Alexander
Some helpful clarifications of your book review

Hi Greg,

Thanks for taking the time to read our book, Sales Growth, and I appreciate your candor. I thought it would be helpful to point out a few factual inaccuracies in your review that are worth pointing out:

– Aside from the research methods you listed, the book was also based on 300+ engagements a year that we conduct as a firm. Those engagements include many ride-alongs and channel partner interviews, including hundreds conducted by the authors

– The book is also based on the voice of the customer. We surveyed 1,200 B2B customers as noted on pages 53-54 of the book.  We have done similar research on B2C customers as well.

In addition, I wanted to clarify our perspective on a few of points you raised:
– You’re right that we focused only on the largest companies, a fact we highlighted in the preface. We took this approach because it’s particularly difficult to outgrow your competitors when you’re that large, especially over time. We also thought those learnings would be particularly instructive for larger organizations, which was our primary audience. While that segment was the focus, the sample does include a number of companies outside the Fortune 500

– We completely agree that B2B sales leaders are under lots of pressure and have difficulty looking much farther ahead than six quarters. But in interviewing those leaders that consistently found growth in trends, they were able to look 10 quarters ahead. Certainly difficult to do, which is why we focused on the best sales leaders.

– We agree that the opportunities of big data cannot be the sales function’s responsibility alone. We do mention in the chapter that at the best companies, big data capabilities are often organized within a center of excellence at the corporate center with other functions as well. You might be interested in a piece we just published in the Harvard Business Review where we focus on the opportunities B2B sales can find in data and address the need for cross-functional collaboration.

I hope this has been helpful. Keep up your posts; I enjoy reading them.

Barr Seitz
Director, Digital Publishing & Marketing



Follow @GregAlexander

Follow @MakingTheNumber

Greg on Google+

Greg Alexander




Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.


A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.


Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.




Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.


What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.


What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

Read full bio >