Raj's Lab

Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Books and Me: What the customer wants you to know

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Book Title: What the customer wants you to know 

Author : Ram Charan

This is not one of Ram Charan’s latest book; but it remains one that I keep going back to often. The reason for this is that it addresses a very important aspect of business – and the book brings many fresh perspectives to the approach. No I am not taking about leadership, not about making employees sensitive or understanding customer preferences better. While al l these are important in their own rights,  this book provides numerous ideas on the sales function.  Surprisingly the managerial population in India don’t seem to consider sales as important as it deserves to be. Marketing function most often overshadows the sales function in every company, and hence one does not find too much of literature around selling in comparison with marketing.

Earlier I had written about a more recent book sales titled ‘The Challenger Sale”  http://rajshankar.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/books-and-me-the-challenger-sale/.  The current book that I am discussing, speaks more about the sales process itself, rather than individual excellence in salesmanship. Considering the book was written about five years ago, some of the basic aspects of value creation selling discussed in the book was new then and it continues to be the basis for a lot of newer extensions in thinking.  To understand the basics of value creation selling, this book provides for some basic fundamentals and thoughts.  Fundamental ideas such as learning your customer’s business in great detail, learning what matters to your customers, understanding customer’s customer (the customer value chain), the related patience of handling longer sales cycle time and hence finding fresh performance measures, provide loads of inputs to relook at how we conduct our sales function.

The book has its fair share of jargons and acronyms – but this does not hinder readability.  Some of the visuals/illustrations resembling sketches/hand written  examples – were useful as triggers in coming up with interesting and unique approaches for our own individual sales approach.

As a person who immensely believes in the power of the sales function, I find this book of good value.  If you are a sales professional , entrepreneur or any management professional with sales inclination this book  can be a useful consideration.

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