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The Last Link: Closing the Gap That Is Sabotaging Your Business [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Last Link: Closing the Gap That Is Sabotaging Your Business by Gregg Crawford...

In The Last Link, Gregg Crawford, CEO of the multinational performance-improvement firm BayGroup International, exposes the money pit that impotent strategies create. For over twenty-five years, he has worked with major global companies to help them function better. He has found countless companies spending millions of dollars to develop and disseminate a strategy they believe will lead them to corporate growth, strong profits, and secure margins. Companies hope such plans will emphasize their competitive advantages and garner approval from Wall Street, but often they become expensive bookends, never used or looked at beyond the planning process. The Last Link offers hard-hitting practical advice and a watertight implementation process to move the numbers in the right direction by linking strategy with sales.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   198
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2007
Publisher   Greenleaf Book Group Press
ISBN  1929774427  
ISBN13  9781929774425  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gregg Crawford

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gregg Crawford is founder and CEO of BayGroup International, a consulting and performance improvement firm that has transformed companies for more than 25 years. He and his firm have used the techniques in "The Last Link" to help Hewlett- Packard, American Express, T-Mobile USA, and countless others.

Gregg Crawford currently resides in San Francisco, in the state of Texas.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Leadership
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Management
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Sales & Selling > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Last Link: Closing the Gap That Is Sabotaging Your Business?

Another management consulting book apparently designed to promote the author's consulting practice. Nothing special.  Jul 22, 2007

I didn't like the organization of this book. I could have handled Chapter 1 as an introduction, but not 1 and 2. I thought Chapter 8 was really what should have been the introduction followed by chapters 3-6 and then 9. I didn't like chapters 1, 2 and 7 at all. And I had no need for the "Application" section.

The book could have been so much better if it had been much less verbose. And some more real world examples mixed in the main body of the book would have been helpful, too. There was just too much theory thrown at me in an unorganized manner without some stories and examples thrown in to make the book interesting.

Basically the premise of this book was very simple. A company with a sound business plan must integrate its ENTIRE workforce into the plan, including its sales function. If the sales team is not strategically integrated into the plan so it functions seamlessly as part of the company, then there will be a "broken link." And a broken link or "gap" will create inefficiencies and loss to the company.

The problem the author identifies in this book as it applies to a sales team is equally applicable to company Web sites. Too many companies think they must just have a Web site and they throw something together that looks nice and is little more than an electronic brochure. Web sites can do much more for the company if they are integrated into the company's business plan to serve a valuable marketing purpose.

The funny thing about this book is the author says he's been making a living for 25 years selling the contents of this book to large corporations. I'm torn between giving this book a 3 star or a 4 star rating. My review is pretty scathing so I am going to throw it a bone. 4 stars!
Hits home where the rubber meets the road -- the interface with clients!  Mar 14, 2007
Based on the other reviews, it seems I am not alone in my liking this book. Obviously from my rating I appreciated the book -- it contains real examples and points that I will apply to my organization today. A simple read, but very content rich ... powerful.

We have all heard the cliché "People buy from people" - this is such a vaunted phrase in sales. We hear another cliché ties in most companies as well: "Sales drives the business". My review will ultimately tie to these. While at first I thought the theme of this essay to be around corporate strategies and their pitfalls, I quickly understood my preconception was incorrect. This book actually ties together the "Gaps" in the execution of sales strategy to the "Gap" in executing the corporate strategy.

Crawford does a terrific job of using real company numbers and examples to demonstrate what we all can agree to but rarely look to act upon. The truth about clichés is they usually contain some key truths and/or insights ... but too often we overlook their guidance (thus the term "cliché"). The Last Link pieces together a simple but critical connection between "Strategy Creation" and the "How-to's" and discipline around executing that strategy. Using what Crawford terms a "3-D model" (data, dialogue and discipline) the book introduces what seems a simple and straight-forward concept: we all have some key agreements we need (these are termed "Pivotal Agreements"). From the hundreds of agreements we gain we can likely distill these into a few "Pivotal" agreements and then we can repeatedly and consistently focus upon these. If a salesperson uses the client data available (collecting that data with some strategic intention as demonstrated in the book), and then applies some of the key dialogue skills/principles shared within this book in their customer interfaces, then their results will improve - the needle will move.

Sounds straight forward; however, tie this to a sales management, support, and leadership discipline for uniformity and replication of those same single-instance results and you will see an overall sales impact build.

Crawford then links this back to the connection between this sales build and the real execution of the corporate strategy (remember that cliché of "Sales drives the business"). Crawford gives some great real examples in the Appendices (Appendix C has some excellent examples into which you can easily relate), and also adds some fantastic behavioral improvement skills (Chapter 5 on Dialogue really hits home - key skills you can use today: again, remember that cliché of "People buy from people").
A must read for any sales executive  Mar 7, 2007
This book is full of great concepts that address the issues that keep sales executives up at night. The 3-D model is powerful and easy to understand. Great read!!!!
"Without a customer, you have no business." -- Peter Drucker  Mar 1, 2007

There are dozens of excellent books already in print that explain how to formulate and then execute a strategy that - in Lawrence Hrebiniak's apt phrase - "really works." Indeed, Gregg Crawford cites several sources throughout his narrative which would have been listed in a bibliography, had he provided one. Nonetheless, most strategies are ineffective. Why? According to Crawford, "Because although companies put huge effort into designing, discussing, and launching their strategies, they neglect the last link - they sabotage their strategy where it matters most, where the company comes into contact with its customers. They fail to forge the vital connection between strategy and execution at the customer interface, where margins, growth, and profitability are all determined. And yet somehow, companies still expect to see results." And they do, for better or worse.

In this context, I am reminded of what Barbara Bund has to say about the importance of establishing and then sustaining what she calls an "outside-in" organization. Crawford agrees that execution of a corporate strategy that is not customer-centric is almost certain to fail. Throughout the narrative in his book, he offers a step-by-step process by which to identify and then avoid or eliminate "hidden profit killers." He explains what interface management is and why it is "the most important component of successful sales strategy execution." In order to "rewire a sales organization," Crawford suggests, it is necessary to proceed as follows:

1. Consummate "pivotal agreements" with customers that are connected with the financial metrics of the given corporate strategy;

2. Have sales initiatives be guided and informed by what he calls a "3D" model which involves gathering relevant data, using focused dialogue, and executing strategy with discipline;

3. Effectively use "dialogue principles" (e.g. value creation and agreement execution) as tactics to manage customer interface;

4. Formulate a Sales Execution Plan that defines an organization's specific plans for executing corporate strategy at the point of customer interface; and

5. Successfully implement the strategy through deployment, sponsorship, and reinforcement of rigorous discipline (key term) by senior-level executives and other on the leadership team.

I especially appreciate Crawford's pragmatic approach with his primary emphasis on "what" and "how." Moreover, he also offers valuable advice on "what not to do" and "how not to do it." Excellence of performance can only be achieved through a process of elimination of what doesn't work while continuing and constantly improving what does, achieving excellence with discipline that, on occasion, must be tenacious. It takes faith and trust to remain faithful to an appropriate strategy. Sometimes courage is required when there are serious problems to solve, formidable barriers to overcome, etc. Long ago, Jack Dempsey said that "champions get up when they can't." Presumably Crawford agrees that companies that complete "the last link," while encountering all manner of difficulties that "sabotage" their efforts to do so, will eliminate the "hidden profit killers."

How to do that? A cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective answer is provided in Crawford's brilliant book.

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