Dismantling the Sales Machine

by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman

SALES LEADERS HAVE LONG FIXATED on process discipline. They have created opportunity scorecards, qualification criteria, and activity metrics—all part of a formal sales process designed to help their team members replicate the approaches of star performers. This is the world of the sales machine, built to outsell less focused, less disciplined competitors through brute efficiency and world-class tools and training.

For years, tuning this machine has been the primary means of boosting sales productivity. But recently sales has been caught off guard by a dramatic shift in customers’ buying behavior. Even as leadership has tightened compliance with the processes that ...

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