Schumpeter in The Economist: The Art of Selling

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“Management theory mostly ignores selling. Peter Drucker, perhaps the most influential guru, wrote that “the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” Most business schools do not teach sales as a separate subject in MBA programmes. Consultants have rethought strategy to the nth degree but seldom furrow their brows about sales.

It shows. According to a new book, “Sales Growth: Insights from Leading Sales Executives” by Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami and Jon Vander Ark, three consultants at McKinsey, the performance of salespeople within a single company typically varies by a factor of three. And the difference between the best and worst companies when it comes to selling is far greater than the difference for functions such as supply-chain management, purchasing or finance.”

Full 22 Oct 2011 Economist article here.

I thought of this article today as I met two young, promising friends venturing into the brave new world of adult employment. They could and will out-perform 2 or 3 others once that they meet the organization on their wavelengths. My other reminder was how important is sales, which equals revenue, and how this organizational function is so often disdained by the usual enterprise. I guess because the associated process is not measurable or actually controllable. Where or what is the bottom-line if there is not top-line or revenue?! In an unpredictable economy, those sales-types,the ones with trusting customer relationships and, of course, the capability to cultivate such, will always have satisfying employment, in my opinion.