I was recently interviewed by Stephen Schneider (aka the author, S.A. Schneider) for his Discovered Wordsmiths Podcast. It was a fun and interesting chat. He quizzed me on my early years, why I wrote The B2B Selling Guidebook, and the process I used. In fact, I had no idea how to start, but just got myself a blank sheet of paper and it all came from there! Have a listen. The website is www.discoveredwordsmiths.com and I am in episode 17. My episode section on the website opens on two short sample clips, with the full dialogue immediately below. Enjoy it, I did! - #writing #books #authors #writers #b2bsales #b2bsalescoach #salesbook #salesskills #selling
The image above shows my book. OK, so what? Well, it's on the FRONT page of the Discovery Website as their 'Featured Business & Economics' book. I am pretty pleased!!!!
Having already received some great reviews from the Discovery website and the Institute of Sales Management (ISM), as well as from a number of well known authors, I couldn't be happier to have now also received a strong, positive review from the CIM. It appeared in the latest edition of their magazine, 'Catalyst'. I am building quite the collection! Please see below...
After the recent positive review of The B2B Selling Guidebook' in the ISM magazine, 'Winning Edge', I was again delighted to see yesterday that my book has also been reviewed on the 'Discovery' books website. They use professional reviewers to dissect books and then recommend - or not. I got a 4* review with the title "Loved it!" Click the link to see the review itself, if you are interested in the details. Oh, and if you do have a look please, please do give me an 'upvote' too. This helps with my ongoing visibility on their site. 😀 Go to https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/the-b2b-selling-guidebook-jim-irving #b2bsales #salesbooks #salesdevelopment #salesexcellence #businessbooks #businessdevelopment
FOOTNOTE: I am delighted to be able to add that Discovery decided to add me into their weekly newsletter as their favourite new business book! See image below...
When I started on my journey towards finishing my first book on selling - The B2B Selling Guidebook - little did I realise just how much fun and learning I would have from the process! First, have a look at the photo. It's a selection of the books on selling I have accumulated over the last 30 years. Some that I bought were, to be honest, poor, but these ones are all excellent. Some 30 years old, 20 years old, from the last decade - and quite a few over the last year! But that's not the only learning. Once published, I reached out to the community of established sales authors and trainers. I have had great conversations, superb discussions on selling and I am still learning every day. So, thanks in particular to Alison Edgar FISM, Patrick Tinney, Simon Hares, and Niraj Kapur for making my journey enjoyable so far. Thanks also to The ISM and to SalesHaven. And here's my big news - the first draft of my second book, which is on sales and business leadership is done! I hope it will be out there within the next 3 months now. #salesauthors #sales #salesexcellence #salesleadership #salesmanagement #salesandmarketing #ISM
I am more than a little pleased to be able to announce that the leading sales industry professional body - The ISM, has given a highly positive review of The B2B Selling Guidebook! They limit their reviews to a very small number each quarter and my review was one of only two completed this time. The other was the new book by Jeb Blount, which shows the company I am keeping!
The review was very positive. Even better, it was written by Roger Bradburn, who is the Chief Operating Officer and Director of the ISM. So to read the comments from him was pretty special to me. It's always great to gain recognition for your work, but to have it from the head of your professional body is extra special! To read what was actually said, just see below, directly from the magazine. To visit the ISM website, go to www.ismprofessional.com
I had the pleasure of being interviewed today by Kenny Galloway, the founder of Sales Haven.
Sales Haven is a Youtube based service. Kenny carries out serious interviews with sales leaders from around the world (He is based in Northern Ireland, as am I). His goal is to create a library of sessions with 100 Worldwide sales leaders and he's well on the way to getting there!
We had a great - and detailed - chat which covered my career, thoughts on selling today, critical do's and don't's, and my top 3 tips for those sales professionals who are interested to learn.
Just click here to see the full interview...
The title of this article might just confuse you! Surely, they are both just as important, aren’t they? Here is the reason for what might seem to be a very strange question -
In these times of enforced isolation, I decided to carry out some primary research in my own area of expertise. Sales and Marketing…
Over my very long (now 43 years +) career which has covered sales and marketing, then promotion to sales and marketing management and ultimately large corporate business leadership I have always felt that society (at least in the UK) seems to accept or admire marketing quite readily, but looks down on selling. So, with some spare time I went online and looked for undergraduate (1st Degree) courses in the UK that focussed on marketing or sales in 2020. The results, quite simply, astonished me. Here is what I found through my searches…
According to the Guardian's University Guide 2020, there are more than 500 undergraduate courses in the UK with a major/core marketing component (marketing led). While some are combined with related fields such as economics, psychology, design or fashion, there are a lot of ‘pure’ marketing courses. There is a total of 2,809 courses across 133 institutions covering “management, marketing and business”. On searching, I quickly realised there isn’t even a search category or sub-category in the University Guide for sales!
Nothing came up in any of the official guides I could find. So, I reverted to “pure google’. I found one University advertising four sales degrees. However, on digging into the site, each one is actually entitled ‘Sales and Marketing’ – the content seems about even. Another University offers a ‘Sales and Marketing Management’ degree – same story. Three more universities advertise sales degrees, but on getting into the detail, one says its management course can lead to a career in selling, the others, again, offer marketing degrees with varying amounts of sales content. So, on reflection, I would suggest that to say there are 5 real sales degree courses in the UK is actually being pretty optimistic.
For the UK then, my research comes up with 500+ marketing degrees, 2,809 ‘Business, Marketing and Business’ courses. And 5 ‘Sales’ courses. Really? Seriously?
But perhaps it is just Degree courses that have this leaning? I then searched for what we in the UK term ‘Further Education’ courses instead – you know, night school, study at home etc. I got much the same result.
How can selling become more professional and accepted, how can standards rise, against this societal judgement and backdrop? What is the picture in your country? Is it the same? Better? Even worse?
Let me step back here. Where am I coming at this from? My career has led to me being awarded Fellowship in both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Sales Management. My feet are firmly placed in both ‘camps’. I don’t have an axe to grind but I am evangelical about improving standards in sales. Not so much in marketing. Why? Well, just look above – there is already plenty of support and activity geared to helping all marketing disciplines improve.
Since I left the corporate world, I have worked to help over 40 promising start-ups improve their business prospects. When those with the big idea come from, say, scientific or academic research backgrounds I am often asked “what’s the difference between them anyway? Surely, it’s all much the same?” At that level I will reply with something like “Both exist to help the business meet its commercial goals, grow and prosper. But marketing is typically ‘one to many’ and is focussed on letting your target market(s) know you exist (market visibility, PR/awareness activities) and then creating leads to pass to sales, which can ultimately result in revenues. Sales is usually ‘one to one’ and takes those leads (or works itself to find them if there is no marketing support) and actually takes each one along the resulting sales pipeline, hopefully to the close and delivers the actual revenues required by the business”. Now, I know for this audience, that is very over-simplistic but you get my drift, when explaining at a very high level for those who have no understanding yet.
I see both sales and marketing as critical to any business. They are co-dependent, they should be synergistic. But sales actually delivers the revenues that drive the business and the economy. How then can society and education be so unbalanced? And what can we all do to influence/change things for the better?
For my part, I can imagine a situation where there are a greater number of sales degrees (or indeed, study courses of any kind). Some might argue that perhaps sales doesn’t merit a full degree course. That might be true, but I can assure you the same was said for marketing years ago! However, I can easily imagine – today – sales led and badged degree courses that have that absolute focus but which also cover other associated areas such as business studies, international trade, economics, marketing, PR and management through modules in these disciplines.
In the UK, organisations like the ISM are already doing a fantastic job in working to improve awareness and standards within the selling profession and outwards. But what can we each do? The imbalance I see today is damaging to our economy and to all our futures. What do you think?
I don’t come to this from a perspective of having all the answers. But I do see the problem every day…
Before I get to my own urgent message can I just wish everyone who reads this, both safety and health for you and your families and friends in these very difficult times. Our focus must be on keeping safe and helping others too where we can...
Anyway, this was never a message I ever imagined I would be posting! The book launch has gone very well, particularly on Amazon. Thanks to you all - another blog will cover this in more detail!
BUT, on looking for my book on Amazon a few days ago I found another book sitting alongside mine, written by 'JIM IRVING'. It has a pretty strange title ( LIFE'S GREATEST LESSON TO BUSINESS SUCCESS: LEARN THE BASIC RULES AND QUOTES TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE) and the cover is, in my opinion, not exactly professional. But it has my name on it and is listed alongside mine. Strangely enough there are no contact details or author background or any information of any sort about the provenance of the book. As you can imagine, I am investigating with Amazon. Goodreads have already removed it from my listing and 'deassociated' it. I also note that they have removed the 'Goodreads Author' title from it too.
So, until the work with Amazon is complete, please be assured I have only written ONE book - The B2B Selling Guidebook! Anything else is, well...
Keep safe, Jim
Jim is the author of The B2B Selling Guidebook and The B2B Leaders Guidebook and a 'fairly experienced' sales person, sales leader and corporate executive. He is also addicted to chocolate!