Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: The Art of Sales Management: Lessons Learned on the Fly by Michael Delaware

 Genre: Non-fiction, sales

Synopsis: The author has compiled tips and lessons learned from his years as a sales manager, and his experience running his own business. There is a nice combination of text-book information and real-world application. The author covers such topics as how to handle your sales people (with chapter headings like "Playing Sales as a Game, Sales Meetings with Results, Signals from the Bench, and Reaching for the Monkey in the Drawer) as well as managing sales work (with chapter headings such as Bonus Systems, The Man Behind the Curtain, Remembering the Ground Game, and Long Range planning)

The Good

I have worked a lot of my career in sales (retail and restaurant while in college, book sales now) and there was very little in this book that did not resonate with truth. (Except the idea that cash bonuses aren't nearly as effective as rewards bonuses. I know a lot of my colleagues from back in the day would disagree, so that is probably just me!) The author uses clever pop culture references that most of us can relate to, and when he uses sports metaphors he does such a good job of explaining the relation that I actually learned a lot about baseball while learning about sales management!

For each tip he gives, he sites real-world experiences he has personally had that apply to the principle he is promoting. This book took me nearly three months to read, because there was so much information crammed into the short 208 pages, and I was trying to figure out how to apply many of the lessons to my current situation. A great and educational read.

The Bad

This book took me three months to read. I suppose that is not really a bad thing, if your goal is to become a better sales manager, but if you are working in sales and trying to formulate a system to make this book work, I suggest you read through the whole thing, rather than implementing step by step. Keep your copy to refer back to when implementing. I am a one-book-at-a-time type reader, so this put all of my other books for review WAY behind. Fortunately, I devour fiction, so I'll get caught up quick enough.

The Ugly

This book would have benefited from a good editor. Not only were there copious amounts of grammar errors, and spelling errors,  but the organization fell way off towards the end. That is one thing that is soooooo important in non-fiction, especially self-help type books. Without excellent organization, the book just does not work. Fortunately, most of the book was extremely well-organized. Unfortunately, that made the end feel like the author/ publisher said "You've got some great material, but we need the book to be at least XX pages, so we need more content from you." Nope, bad call there.

Overall, I really appreciated this book. The tips are great and the examples are engaging. I found myself sharing a lot of the tips with a friend who is currently in sales management and he was excited to come back and tell me how he had employed them and how they had worked! Great material, not-so-great delivery of all of the material. I am definitely hanging on to this gem to refer to as needed. Yeah, it is good enough for that!!

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