Welcome to the Beyond the Sales Process Blog

In Posts by Dave, Posts by Steve by Dave Stein

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As a first blog post, Steve and I thought that providing you with the introduction from the book would, in fact, be the best introduction. We’ll cover many other topics in future posts.
co-author Dave Stein

ASK A CEO to name his or her organization’s most important asset and you’re sure to hear “our people,” followed closely by “our customers.” Everything else takes a backseat, and yet few books are written about how these two most valuable assets interact, engage, align, collaborate, innovate, and create value together.

Much has been written about sales, much has been written about marketing, and much has been written about customer service. But we see remarkably little about how the world’s top companies are going beyond the sales process and leveraging proven strategies before, during, and after the sale—not just when the customer is buying, which is where the majority of sales books tend to focus. Perhaps this is because, in order to write such a book, you must gain entry into the actual companies and their customers, and that’s not easy to do. Or perhaps it’s because, on the supply side, we have historically had such a one-dimensional focus on the sale that there hasn’t been much appetite left for when the customer isn’t buying, which is most of the time. Or perhaps it’s because so much of what is currently being written about sales is being produced by those whose approaches are new and unproven, or were hatched as far back as the 1970s.

Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: business-to-business (B2B) commerce has changed dramatically in the last decade, and there’s no going back. Basing your customer engagement and sales best practices on yesterday’s approaches simply doesn’t work any more. Top-performing salespeople and account managers have learned that in order to be successful, new and more holistic approaches are required for engaging effectively with customers, developing and winning new opportunities, and growing and sustaining their customer relationships before and after each sale.

Beyond the Sales Process focuses on the frontline of engagement with customers. It is specifically intended for salespeople, account managers, their managers, and sales leaders, as well as others who have responsibilities and pressures associated with developing and winning business, and those who are tasked with extending and expanding their relationships with customers. In the case studies that follow each section, you’ll learn how top companies engage differently and grow successful customer relationships based on collaboration, innovation, and mutual value creation and co-creation. These case studies provide an in-depth perspective on how industry leaders across the globe engage, win, and grow with their customers. Adecco Staffing U.S., BNY Mellon, Hilton Worldwide, Honeywell Building Solutions, Merck/MSD, Panasonic Corporation, Securian Financial Group—Group Insurance, Siemens AG, and Zurich Insurance Group have generously provided us with their stories.

While this book is largely intended for those who want to consistently be at the top of their professional peer groups and are willing to consider new ideas to help them succeed, it will also be of value to the managers and leaders who motivate, coach, and support the efforts of their teams. Thus, this book is for those customer-facing professionals who need to drive their performance to the next level of effectiveness.

Before, During, and After the Sale

Take a moment to think about the success you hope to achieve over the next 12 months. Identify a customer that you believe will significantly impact your results. Choose wisely, because you will reflect on this customer many times as you “try on” the concepts, best practices, and tools that this book offers. Also think about your network of personal relationships within this customer organization and identify someone who is involved and invested in doing business with you. Once you have selected your customer and your individual contact, you’re ready to move forward.

Most of us consider the length of a typical work year to be about fifty 40-hour workweeks, excluding vacation and holidays, which totals about 2,000 hours. With this in mind, think about your customer and consider this question: What percentage of the customer’s total work time is spent actively buying from you? Here are some potential responses:

  1. 25 percent (500 hours/year)
  2. 10 percent (200 hours/year)
  3. 2 percent (40 hours/year)
  4. 1 percent (20 hours/year)

What percentage most closely matches your actual experience with your customer? We’ve asked this question many times, and found that the responses are nearly always 3 and 4. Why? Because even when you have a successful relationship, it is likely that your customer spends less than 2 percent of their time (only 40 hours per year!) actively buying from you. In other words, your mindshare with your customer is minuscule compared to how they spend the vast majority of their time. Unless you change this, your odds of becoming important or strategic to your customer are virtually nonexistent.

Your customer doesn’t care about your sales training, sales tips, sales forms, sales processes, sales strategies, sales plans, or your sales quota attainment, because that’s not what’s important to them. Yet far too many salespeople and account managers expect their sales tools and techniques to miraculously win business for them, when the real problem is that they only show up when the customer announces an intention to buy. How can you expect your customer to respond favorably to you when you’ve been out of sight and out of mind? In this book, we demonstrate that when you pay careful attention to the other 98 percent of your customer’s time, you become strongly positioned to impact that highly leverageable 2 percent—when they’re actively buying. By interviewing many of the world’s most successful salespeople and account managers and capturing the best practices of these top performers, we offer a proven approach to engaging with customers that spans the entire relationship. Customers today want more effective engagement with their most important suppliers. This book provides proven strategies and tools for determining what you need to do and instructive examples of how to do it.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into three sections that document twelve proven strategies that top performers use to drive success before, during, and after the sale. The Engage/Win/Grow model (Figure Intro-1) will be your guide as you advance through this approach, and the case studies that follow each section will validate what we have presented. Coaching questions at the end of each strategy will help you assess your progress and effectiveness along the way.

New EWG Model

Figure Intro-1. Beyond the Sales Process: Twelve Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World.

What Matters Most to Customers

If you talk with enough customers (and we have), you realize that the things that are important to them today are vastly different from what many organizations and the people who sell and market to them seem to think they are. Customers expect more, and they deserve it. We’ve asked some of the world’s most successful companies what their customers expect in terms of value, alignment, relationships, and growth. Their responses are consistent, profound, and decisively contradict the assertions that customer relationships are no longer important. Customers don’t want to be coerced, controlled, or otherwise pushed around. They value authentic relationships based on transparency, competence, credibility, and trust, and they’ll pay more for these qualities, even in today’s difficult selling environment. We’ve asked hundreds of customers about their experiences with vendors, suppliers, and partners, and their feedback provides a compelling case for stronger alignment, collaboration, innovation, and mutual value creation in this exciting new era of customer engagement. It’s time for a change of mindset, a change of attitude, and a change of heart regarding how sellers and buyers engage and do business together. If you’re interested in reaching the next level of success in our customer-driven world, this book is for you.

Steve Andersen and Dave Stein

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  1. Dave and Steve, I’m looking forward to the book’s release. From the introduction it’s clear it will be a significant milestone in the current dialog about sales effectiveness.

    1. Author

      We know it is, Everett. Thanks for your support.


  2. Great anticipation for the book’s release. Thanks to both of you for leading us into the sales future and reminding us it is all about the customer we serve.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Sue. You were such a determined and helpful resource. Having been copied on all the emails, I know how hard you worked on the Honeywell case study and getting it approved. Hope to see you again in 2016.

    2. Thanks, Sue…we certainly could not have done it without the support and thought leadership of you and Honeywell. Dave and I look forward to hearing your feedback after your read, and hope to see you soon in the New Year.

  3. Steve and Dave, congratulations on the publication of Beyond the Sales Process. I know how hard you worked on it and I can’t wait to read it. All of us at Zurich Insurance Company are proud to be one of the case studies. Wishing you much continued success, Ron Davis

    1. Author

      Thanks, Ron. We are seriously grateful to all the folks at Zurich who contributed to and assisted us with the case study.

      Needless to say, Steve and I are very excited.

  4. Thanks, Ron, and thanks to Zurich for being a part of our book.

    Dave and I are delighted to feature Zurich, and I believe that our readers will enjoy learning about how you go “beyond the sales process” with your customers as you create and co-create value with them.

  5. “Customer expect more, and they deserve it.” Maybe they do, but B2B customers also behave irrationally. I operate in the IT sector, and compete with some of the world’s biggest IT companies. I notice that customers can be bullied – by the big IT companies and these big vendors get away with it, often without as much as a word of dissent from senior executives, who should know better. If you’re a smaller B2B vendor, customers expect champagne service, at beer prices, and they bully the small vendor. I hope the new book therefore deals with the most important sales lesson of them all: who not to do business with and where your sweet spot lies.

    1. Author

      Hi Michael, Nice to hear from you.

      I agree with your points.

      However, this book is about higher-level relationships than what you’re discussing. Where there isn’t any manipulating or bullying.

      I hope you’ll give it a read.



  6. Hi Dave and Steve, I certainly am interested in the insights you are providing in your important book. Are there any plans to make it available on Audible as well?

    1. Author

      Yes, Aaron.

      It’s available on Audible!

      Let us know what you think.

      Even better, write a review on Amazon, please.

      All the best,


  7. Hi Steve and Dave,

    I am working on my final assignment for my Master´s in Coaching and Personal Leadership at the University of Barcelona, Spain. It is a practical guide for the brand-new coaches to start capturing customers.

    Amongst others, and with your permission, I would like to quote “Beyond the Sales Process”. Mainly name and succinctly explain (in Spanish) the 8 strategies within Engage and Win, citing you guys and even putting the pic of the cover and the EWG graph. I appreciate a great deal the value creation and delivery process that you present.

    sounds good to you?

    btw, writing now a review on Amazon. I got the audible version (not the graphical content that is supposed to come with, though)

    1. Author

      Hi Ali,

      By all means, you can quote our book. Please include the authors’ names, the publisher (AMACOM), and a link to buy the book on Amazon in your location.

      I will send you a PDF of the graphics, but please only use those for yourself unless you’d like permission to use one or two other graphics. Let me know.


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