IT sales requires a unique combination of sales and technology savvy — two distinct skill sets. With a distinguished 20-year career in both fields, Adrian Noble is amply qualified to offer the “definitive guide” of the subtitle. Unfortunately, his book suffers from a problem typical of those steeped in their own specialty areas: the inability to organize his knowledge and insights in a manner accessible to neophytes.
This is immediately obvious in the first chapter, where Noble discusses types of IT companies. Here, he uses technical terms without context (e.g. referring to Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 technicians before describing technical support levels overall). He then goes into a highly technical discussion of network topology and Geographic Network Configurations — material far above the level of the technical novice which, in addition, fails to provide insight to those who are technologically savvy but novices at sales. The next five chapters take a similar path, jumping from “Year Plan Analysis” to forms of advertising, selling and prospecting, to an overly long chapter on “Value Added Reselling.”
In the book’s second half, Noble does a much better job detailing the administrative and procedural aspects of IT sales. In Chapter 7, “Time Management,” for example, he skillfully maps out a typical day in the sales office and provides metrics for setting quotas. He also does a fine job in subsequent chapters explaining, as their titles indicate, “Client Site Analysis,” “Quotations and Proposals,” “Service Level Agreements,” and “Customer Relations.”
Noble tries to juggle IT and sales information simultaneously, but readers would be better served if he started with sales basics and then went on to the more technical aspects of IT sales specifically. The author has much to offer — and nuggets of useful information can be found throughout —but in its present form, the book will likely frustrate sales and technology neophytes more often than it enlightens them.
Also available as an ebook.