What Everybody Ought to Know About Business Books

Here is a dirty little secret about all those business strategy books: They don't do any good. Thousands - sometimes millions - of people buy those books and push them to the top of the best seller lists. But all that reading doesn’t do any good.

Unless you can plug those great new ideas into your existing system.

It’s a struggle most of us have: great ideas have to be executed in order to see any benefit. This is especially true in sales and marketing. One key to implementing a new sales and marketing idea is to understand where it fits into your existing system. Is it a framework, a methodology or a process?

A framework is a flexible set of guidelines for accomplishing a goal. A framework is not prescriptive about specific tasks that must be done or how they must be done.

methodology is a refined set of rules and processes that determine an approach to doing something. A methodology is less detailed than a process but more detailed than a framework.

process is a highly systematic, tightly defined set of rules, tools and steps for accomplishing a specific task in a repeatable manner.

An effective sales or marketing system consists of a framework with a set of methodologies that contain well defined processes that a person can follow like a recipe.

For example:

A company believes in a highly collaborative sales engagement emphasizing transparency and customer participation. This is the sales framework. It provides guideline while leaving a lot of room for interpretation.

To execute the goals of the framework the company has a defined method for estimating projects. The estimation method consists of set of processes and tools used to develop and communicate an estimate. 

One of the estimation processes defines team member roles, spreadsheets that should be used and equations for calculating risk. Another estimation process defines where and how the estimate is communicated to the client.

Knowing where that new idea you read about fits into your system is critical. Implementing a framework without the supporting methodologies and processes won’t result in focused action. Implementing a process that is at odds with the existing framework results in confusion and the wrong things getting done. 

Of course, there is more consider when implementing a new sales or marketing idea. Elements like brand attributes, employee skills and customer perceptions must be thought through. But understanding where the new idea fits into your overall system can help you move from reading to actually doing.