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Peer Review

Sales Management: Teamwork, Leadership and Technology

by Charles M. Futrell


Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Aug 13, 2013 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This material is an open access sales management textbook. Published in 1997, this textbook covers the traditional sales management topics and provides end of the chapter mini-cases along with 13 comprehensive cases and experiential exercises at the end of the textbook. Futrell. It consists of a one-page site that permits the user to download the book, one chapter at a time, as a PDF file. The book insists of 16 chapters. Chapters cover such topics as social, ethical and legal issues; forecasting and budgets; territory management; staffing; on-boarding and training; compensation; and evaluation, among other things. Also included as clickable links are the Table of Contents, exercises, cases, chapter notes, a glossary, and an index. There are 3 exercises and 13 rather extensive cases. Essentially, this is a regular textbook that has been scanned and converted to PDF format.
Learning Goals: This material provides a comprehensive overview of the sales management process and is intended to familiarize students with basic sales management theory. Overall goal is for students to have a comprehensive understanding of the sales management function. Specific learning goals are established for each chapter.
Target Student Population: The text appears to be most appropriate for undergraduate students enrolled in a sales management course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students should have a good understanding of professional selling. A basic understanding of marketing would be useful, but not required.
Type of Material: Open Textbook
Recommended Uses: This textbook is designd for use as the primary text for an undergraduate sales management course. It also could serve as reference material for those who might be interested in learning about sales management.
Technical Requirements: In addition to an Internet browser, the user must have Adobe Reader.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: This is a very comprehensive sales management textbook. It covers the traditional sales management theory that one would expect to find in competing texts. Undergraduate students should find it easy to read and intellectually accessible. The mini-cases add value to the textbook and as a whole, are still relevant in 2013. The content quality is quite high. Coverage of topics is extensive. Each chapter is opened with learning goals and real world examples. Chapters end with key words, discussion questions, and one or more cases. Scattered throughout the chapters are highlighted examples. I reviewed two chapters in-depth. Chapter 1 was titled "Introduction to Sales Management." The author defines sales management and provides an overview of the sales management function. Also discussed is how sales management fits into the overall organization. Types of sales managers are identified (i.e., front-line vs. mid-level vs. sales leaders), and the skills of successful sales managers explored. Chapter 5 is titled "Forecasting Market Demand and Sales Budgets." The forecasting process is discussed in detail, and different methods of forecasting are explored. Students will learn how to apply these methods. The budgeting process and methods are also discussed in detail. As mentioned before, each chapter ends with key terms, excellent discussion questions, and at least one case that could be used in class or as a homework assignment.
Concerns: Although the book is excellent, the site itself is very weak and does nothing to engage the students. The book was published in 1997. Any instructor using this book would need to be mindful of the timeliness of various examples and assignments. The author, to his credit, has removed several cases, which I assume were the most dated, along with the chapter on sales force technology. As previously mentioned, the mini-cases and experiential exercises do not seem as dated. Instructors who have come to rely on instructor materials such as PowerPoint, test banks, and instructor notes would be less likely to adopt this text.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: The book is quite good, and from that standpoint students could learn a great deal. The old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" applies to basic sales management theory. With the exception of the role of technology in the industry, much of the content of this text is similar to content found in 2013 texts. A savvy instructor who could keep the students focused on the theory in the text and provide updated examples should find this text effective.
Concerns: The site is very basic, and not very engaging. It consists of the book title, along with links to the chapter and supplements. Each chapter can be downloaded, but otherwise there is no interaction for the user. An instructor who is not willing to do the updating previously mentioned should not adopt this text.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: All links are working, and it is easy to figure out the site and download the chapters. The textbook is hosted on a website. The website allows users to download the text on a per chapter basis. In other words, each file contains one chapter. Each file is in pdf format and contains a scanned version of the corresponding chapter. It is also refreshing to see a free textbook that does not contain embedded (and distracting) advertisements.
Concerns: Once you are within a chapter, it is equal to working with a hard copy of a textbook. The lack of interactivity reduces potential effectiveness and ease of use. The scanned chapters, while readable, are not in color, nor are they of the quality that users come to expect with e-books. It seems that most users would opt to print the various chapters as opposed to reading them on a computer. However, this concern is tempered given that this is an open access textbook.