23rd Edition — July 14, 2019
We read to know we’re not alone.
1. B2B Sales Management
The best book on the B2B sales management process has to be Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. The Sales Acceleration Formula by Roberge and The Sales Development Playbook rank high too. But I’m giving the nod to the short book by Ross who was once the Director of Corporate Sales at Salesforce.
Salesforce may have been one of the early SaaS pioneers in parsing out the sales development rep (SDR) role, The SDR is tasked with finding, filtering, and qualifying leads. There has been little written about the position itself, until now.
If you work in the B2B space, suggest Sales Development by Bray and Sorey which is the A-to-Z manual for SDRs. Written for up-and-coming SDRs, it’s readable, practical, and heavy in visual frameworks. This is also a must-read for leaders in the B2B sales management role.
2. Some of the Best Content Ever Written about Financial Intelligence
I will be forever envious of Karen Berman and Joe Knight who own these two simple words in cyberspace–financial intelligence. And yes, they wrote the book on these two important words too.
But Jeff Bezos may have written the best-ever, short discussion on financial intelligence in his 2004 Management Discussion and Analysis for the company he founded.
Bezos states, “Our ultimate financial measure, and the one we most want to drive over the long-term, is free cash flow per share.” He defines free cash flow as operating cash flow less capital expenditures (my preferred definition is operating cash flow less maintenance CapEx). His teaching on this topic is simple and to the point. I’ve included the 3-pager which can be read in less than 5 minutes.
3. Oldie But Goodie
I’m stepping out on a limb in betting that you have read at least one Patrick Lencioni book, right? I don’t have a favorite as it’s a tie between The Ideal Team Player and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
This past week, I visited with 3 team members of a company I love dearly. In that meeting, the COO took a picture of the 5 dysfunctions recapped in the self-assessment section on page 194 of the hardback version. The 5 dysfunctions are the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.
Look around your team, department, division, or company. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to revisit this book?
4. A Framework for Financial Analysis
I’m a fan of the work of Stephen McDaniel. Stephen and his wife Eileen are consultants in the visual analytics space. Stephen wrote a workbook-style manual on a frameworks approach to data analysis projects several years ago.
The book is The Accidental Analyst, and it’s a title I recommend to all young analysts I’m coaching. Accordingly, I’d characterize the content as entry-level subject matter, but any manager will still gain value from this practical book.
The data framework includes Stephen’s Seven Cs of Data Analysis which are choose your questions, collect your data, check out your data, clean up your data, chart your analysis, customize your analysis, and communicate your results.
5. Homework Assignment
It’s your turn on building a mental model for data/analytical projects. If you read McDaniel’s book mentioned above, you’ll have a head start.
Think back to the last analytical project you performed. What steps did you roughly follow? Do you generally repeat that process for all such projects?
I’d like for you to document your typical actions into a simple framework. When finished, hand it to someone else to see if they can follow it and even apply your thought process.
If you are not a design person like me, start with 5 to 6 large boxes in a spreadsheet. You’ll travel from left to right. For instance, Step 1 might be encountering or being introduced to a problem to solve. List the 2-3 key activities under that step.
Step 2 might be chasing down the data. Then list the 2-3 key actions performed under that step. Do not get too detailed. That’s because a framework is nothing more than a simple mental shortcut for getting work done. The framework then becomes a great teaching tool for those you are coaching or mentoring. You can also continually update your framework to ensure you are not falling victim to tunnel vision on your own thought process. Put another way, keep challenging the way you think about problem solving.
When you wrap up, check the steps that deliver the most value to your internal customer. I guarantee it will not be in collecting and cleaning the data. Yet, where do we spend the most time? How do we shorten that step without jeopardizing the quality of the data?
Thank You Very Much
Thank you for reading. If you like the content above and the posts at CFO Bookshelf, may I ask a favor? Feel free to share this with other readers along with commenting on your favorite blog posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.