Jill Konrath has published a new book, titled “Agile Selling.” You should read it. Jill’s two previous books,” Snap Selling” and “Selling to Big Companies” were very good. So I took the chance and invested the time to read her new book. I am glad I did. And you will be as well, so give it a read.
Why You Should Read Agile Selling?
You live during a time of great change. And this has created the overwhelmed sales person/manager/executive. You cannot change this. Macro conditions, such as social, mobile, big data, the cloud, etc. are causing this and are outside of your control. Fighting these changes, or denying they exist, is pointless. You need a new skill to cope with being an overwhelmed worker. The skill needed to exceed in this environment is agility. Jill discusses why, and how.
Why is this Book Different?
This book is different because it does not teach a new approach to sales. It does not advocate a new selling methodology, nor a new selling skill. It teaches how to be an agile learner. Jill suggests that if you become an agile learner, you will rapidly adapt to best practices. The best practices themselves are important. But, learning how to learn the best practice is more important. Learn how to be a learner.
This is a significant contribution to our field of sales effectiveness. I am grateful to Jill for adding to our collective body of work. The reason this is a meaningful contribution is because the number of best practices is growing. Therefore, the ability to learn many of them, at once, has become mission critical.
In my practice, I meet executives who often say “we cannot do too many things at once. We need to pick a small number of programs and do them well.” Comfort is found in these words. The overwhelmed executive says these words to deal with being overwhelmed.
This is a flawed approach. Although it feels good, it will not work. The world is changing too fast. As you take comfort in the small number of initiatives, the world changes, and renders these “small number of initiatives” obsolete.
Consider this illustrative example:
Let’s say you spend 6 months installing a new forecasting process to improve forecasting accuracy. The new forecasting process is based on a sales process with 5 stages. Half way through your project, you realize your buyers have changed the way they buy. Your buyer follows a journey that now has 8 stages. This makes your 5 stage sales process obsolete. Your forecasting process is now missing 3 stages. Instead of improving the accuracy of your forecast, you made it worse. Back to the drawing board you go. Frustrated.
This scenario, and many like it, plays out dozens of times a year in almost all sales organizations.
The implications of this reality are that sales persons/managers/executives need to implement many best practices, at once, in perpetuity. The macro changes in your environment dictate this. The need to rapidly adapt is mission critical, and not going away. It is increasing in intensity. This is why Jill’s idea has merit.
The concept of Agile has been around for a long time. For example, this is not the first book which applies agile to sales. Accenture released this book almost two years ago. In addition, my firm has been writing about how to apply agile to sales for years. Here are a few examples, if you are interested:
- Energize Sales On Boarding- Make It Agile
- The Rise of the Agile Performance Review
- Agile Sales Training Guide
- Agile Territory Planning
- The Agile Approach to Selecting Channel Partners
Although the idea is not new, this is a great book for those who are new to agile. Jill’s writing is superb. She explains a complicated subject in easy-to-understand terms.
If I was to offer any constructive criticism, it would be that advanced teams, who are agile already, might find this too elementary. The agile method, derived from the world of software development, is quite a bit more complex than Jill goes into in this book. My guess is this is deliberate. Jill knows her audience very well and the adoption rate of agile selling sits below 25% as of mid 2014. This means three quarters of the world’s sales teams need an introduction to the concept, which this book does very well.
Jill’s primary business is speaking and writing. And she is excellent at both. I recommend you read her book and invite her to speak at your next sales meeting.