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A Salesperson's customer orientation or customer-oriented selling is becoming increasingly important in today's demand-driven markets. Recent studies suggest that less than half of the customers in the US consider their salespersons equipped to understand their needs and fulfill these needs. This is an alarming signal for not only the customer organizations but also for the selling organizations worldwide. Selling processes are changing. However, customer demands and preferences are probably changing faster. The selling organizations today and its practices are too process-driven and efficiency-oriented, and it is time these processes go beyond being just efficiency-oriented, and start becoming customer-oriented. With the above priorities in mind, today's organizational sales force needs not just fine-tuned training tools, which makes them more productive incrementally. In reality, a totally new paradigm is required for aligning the worlds of buying and selling. This alignment brings not just customer-orientation into the perspective, but also goes beyond the efficiency and effectiveness orientations that have defined the sales processes and sales organizations for too long. With too many customers to care for, and too little time to spend in the field, the sales force is always in need of leveraging their time in the field, and their organizations are always on the lookout for best practices in the selling world. However, unless the selling and buying are aligned, and synchronous with one another, any incremental gain in efficiency is almost meaningless, for both customers and the sales organizations. The purpose of this book is to outline the important steps that must be considered and adhered to during the selling processes at the sales force level as well as the sales management level. Perhaps the most important aspect covered within this book is that the best sales management practices are actually very fundamental in nature, and following these fundamental mantras can make the worlds of buying and selling more aligned, and makes the world of selling a much more customer-oriented practice. Each of the book chapters underlines this philosophy, and illustrates the various fundamental concepts through case examples from around the world.
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Calcutta, India; Assistant Professor (Marketing); Indian Institute of Management
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