Book Reviews: Marketing, Sales and Service

Anytime, Anywhere: How the Best Brick-and-Clicks Businesses Deliver Seamless Service to Their Customers, by Spector, Robert. Perseus Books.
Based on interviews with executives of leading enterprises, the author reveals that companies must coordinate their Web-based strategies with other established channels to meet their customers' needs, anytime and anywhere. This is a discussion of how customer service is central to success in the bricks-and-clicks era, primarily filled with illustrations. The book presents strategies for delivering seamless customer service. Five key elements of achieving such service are: making customer service a way of life; training people to provide great service; intimately knowing customers across all channels; communicate within the organization, and with customers (suppliers and partners) with clarity and targeted, customized content for developing relationships; and proactively anticipate customer needs. Recommended. 273 pp. 2002.

Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets , by Brian Tracy. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
In 21 short, easy-to-read chapters, shows how to sell effectively, concentrating on your state-of-mind. The key theme is: if you think like top salespeople think, you will eventually do the things that they do, and get the same results. Delivers pragmatic ideas succinctly and in a highly organized manner. 152 pp. 2003.

Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand, by David F. D'Alessandro. McGraw-Hill, Inc., BusinessWeek Books.
The author presents 10 rules devoting a chapter to each. Brand is whatever the consumer thinks of when he or she hears your company's name. The book provides guidelines and offers many illustrations of the good, the bad and the ugly. It has many nuggets buried in to pages, such as: if you want memorable advertising, be a great client; don't interfere unnecessarily...protect the creative. Well-written. Highly recommended. 185 pp. 2001.

The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance: How to Get More Sales From Your Sales Force, by Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha and Greggor A. Zoltners. AMACOM.
Describes and illustrates best practices for every component of a complete sales strategy, from determining the appropriate size, structure and territory design, to hiring, training, and compensating talent. Richly illustrated with many charts, diagrams and summary tables, this book's chapters focus on: role of the sales force; sales force assessment and strategy; sizing the force; structuring the organization; designing territories; recruiting; training; managing; motivating; compensating; goal-setting; market segmentation and segment-specific account coverage (the selling system); using technology in assisting the sales force in customer relationship management; performance management; and building a potential sales force culture. Addresses a very broad range of fundamental subjects and issues clearly and comprehensively. Highly recommended. 480 pp. 2001.

Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers, by Bernd H. Schmitt, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Customer experience management is the process of strategically managing a customer's total experience with a product or company. Schmitt shows how to develop and apply this approach, which involves integration along a variety of touch points. This book provides a five-step framework, methodologies and cases. The book is a sequel to the author's Experiential Marketing, 1999. This book pushes the envelop and calls for redefining the approach to marketing and creating an emotional bond with customers. 242 pp. 2003.

The Future of Competition, by C. K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy. Harvard Business School Press.
Prahalad and Ramaswamy argue that markets are moving away from the traditional idea that a given company or industry can create value unilaterally, and that value resides exclusively in the company's or industry's products or services. Increasingly, the consumer and the firm are co-creating value through personalized experiences, customized to each individual. The book explores, in depth, the building blocks of co-creation and the way companies are networking to offer more-informed customers what they demand. The authors have researched the subject extensively and offer excellent insights into how co-creation works, using technological capabilities; many illustrations are provided. The book is essential reading for those who want to understand today's competitive markets. Packed with insights. Highly recommended. 256 pp. 2004.

How Customers Think: Essential Insights Into the Mind of the Marke, by Gerald Zaltman. Harvard Business School Press.
Zaltman contends that 95% of all consumer cognition occurs unconsciously. Existing methods of consumer research only scratch the five-percent of conscious thinking at the surface. In this book he explains how to get at the crucial 95% of information that lies hidden. The book draws upon such disciplines as psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and sociology to reveal the power of metaphors and storytelling on memory and behavior, and provide research tools and techniques to understand and affect consumer decision making. Zaltman also shows how managers must think in interdisciplinary ways to achieve more effective marketing, products, and services. This is an enlightening and highly accessible book, offering lessons that go beyond marketing. 368 pp. 2003.

How to Measure Customer Satisfaction, by Nigel Hill, John Brierley, and Rob MacDougall. Ashgate Publishing Company (Gower).
Provides step-by-step guidelines for conducting a customer service survey. Contents include: setting objectives; project planning; exploratory research; sampling; survey opinions; response rates; questionnaire design; rating scales; introducing the survey; data analysis; benchmarking; the mirror survey; feedback; making the business case. Appendices provide self-completion, telephone, and mirror survey questionnaires, satisfaction benchmark, and Web links. 160 pp. 2003.

Kellogg on Integrated Marketing, by Dawn Iacobucci and Bobby Calder, Eds. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Integrated marketing is combining mass branding and one-to-one relationship marketing. The authors discuss these approaches and how they are integrated as well as a broad range of other topics including: the importance of customer loyalty; customer/brand relationships; viral marketing and buzz; customer acquisition using mass media and direct marketing; customer profitability measurement; ideal information systems for marketers; and scoring models for optimizing customer contacts. The book is filled with information and gives the reader a clear understanding of integrated marketing as a strategy. 314 pp. 2002.

Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, by Tim Sanders. Crown Business, Random House.
By "love" Sanders means intelligently sharing your intangible assets (knowledge, contacts, compassion) with others. He discusses these intangibles in detail. Using this basis, Sanders sets forth a three stage step approach: learn as much as possible and share that knowledge; grow the largest network of contacts possible; then open up these contacts to help others and be the most compassionate person you can become. Success will follow. The ideas are applicable to all walks of life. A very personal, first-rate fast-read with a unique and attractive message. 200 pp. 2002.

MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional business Growth, by Harvard Business School Press.
This book addresses the challenge of growth through marketing strategy, focusing on specific types of opportunities and "moves" for capturing them. Based on their research and experience, the authors have distilled forty such moves and present each of them with a brief guide to their usage. The moves are clustered into five strategies, each having a "lens" and "tool": 1) Transform the customer's experience. Lens: customers; Tool: consumption chain analysis, 2) transform your offerings. Lens: products and offerings; Tool: attribute mapping, 3) Redefine profit drivers. Lens: key metrics; Tool: unit of business analysis, 4. Exploit industry shifts. Lens: industry shifts, Tool: industry shift framework, and 5) enter new markets. Lens: emerging opportunities; Tool: tectonic triggers framework. Each move is explored in depth, with examples, numerous, detailed guidelines and insights, and much attention to execution. An extensive case study further enriches this excellent book. Highly recommended. 272 pp. 2005.

The Myth of Excellence: Why Great Companies Never Try to be the Best at Everything, by Fred Crawford and Ryan Mathews. Crown Publishers, Random House.
As a result of misunderstanding what customers really want and how best to serve those wants, companies have bought into the myth that they ought to try to be good at everything it does. The authors show how companies should effectively connect with customers, focusing on only one or two of five factors: price, service, access, experience, and product. Includes many good cases to make key points. Recommended. 251 pp. 2001.

The One to One Manager: Real-World Lessons in Customer Relationship Management, by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. A Currency Book, Doubleday, Division of Random House.
Examines the real issues involved in implementing one on one marketing or customer relationship management (CRM), based exclusively on two dozen case histories. This is one of a series of "One on One" books. The key theme is developing individual relationships with each customer made feasible by the state of information technology. Three technologies are at the CRM core. (1) Database technology allows an enterprise to track its customers individually and tell them apart. (2) Interactive technologies such as Web sites, call centers and sales force automation tools, provide enables unique and immediate customer relationships. (3) Mass customization technology enable firms the meet specifications demanded by each customer. Marketing is no longer in a silo; it integrates activities laterally; the entire enterprise becomes one to one focused. The book discusses implementing this strategy, using cases. Recommended. 268 pp. 2002.

Organic Growth: Cost-Effective Business Expansion From Within, by Jean-Frederic Mognetti. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Organic growth does not rely on acquisitions, mergers, diversification and total change. It is about revising existing sales and marketing strategies. Organic growth has three sources: 1) maintaining the current portfolio of customers and products or services; 2) developing sales, either by offering new products to old customers or attracting new customers with existing products; and 3) developing new business. The book is grounded in examples of several successful companies, and goes into considerable detail on a variety of cases, laying out various approaches in a step-by-step manner. Informative and filled with specifics. 298 pp. 2002.

Proactive Selling: Control the Process-Win the Sale, by William Miller, AMACOM.
Reveals the tools and qualities that set top sales professionals apart. Miller's primary message is that successful sales people sell in a process in which they use tactics, which they, secondarily, combine with a sales strategy. Putting tactics first allows sales people to gather quality information, which then can be used to develop an informed strategy. He presents a concept for prioritizing and planning that quantitatively sorts out how to effectively use time. Miller provides 15 tactics and 20 tools. The book is rich in thoughtful and well-explained guidance. The writing is lively, clear, and well organized. It's a book of great value. 244 pp. 2003.

The Slow Pace of Fast Change: Bringing Innovations to Market in a Connected World, by Bhaskar Chakravorti. Harvard Business School Press.
Examines the barriers to bringing new innovation to connected but fragmented markets and provides a strategy campaign for overcoming these impediments and getting innovation to market. 216 pp. 2003.

The 24 Sales Traps and How to Avoid Them: Recognizing the Pitfalls that Mislead Even the Best Performers, by Dick Canada. AMACOM.
The book discusses 24 sales truths, devoting a chapter to each. Chapters explain the trap, how to avoid it, and end with a sales truth. The author seeks to help clarify what people are doing wrong and right to be more effective. A key theme is that there are so many ways of doing things right, especially at the advanced level, but many fewer ways to do things wrong. Clear, to-the-point, and informative. 188 pp. 2002.

Winning Behavior: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently, by Terry R. Bacon and David G. Pugh, AMACOM.
Based on a study of highly successful companies, the authors have identified nine domains of differentiation, all of which can be copied. What is unique are new ways to create a positive chemistry with customers through four major areas of behavioral differentiation. These are: 1) Operational: institutionalizing behavior through practices, policies, procedures, and employee education and training. 2) interpersonal: interpersonal skills and attitude. 3) Exceptional: when employees go out of their way to help customers; 4) symbolic: behavior that reflects the company's key product, service, or messages and values (aligning the company's behaviors with it's intended image and promises). The book gives examples that show ways winning organizations create these behavior differentiations. While most of the book is devoted to B2C companies, a chapter also addresses B2B firms. The authors provide a treasure trove of illustrations. An excellent work, rich is real-life details. 352 pp. 2003.