I Should Write a Book About The Real World of B2B Sales

I read a lot.  Half fiction, half non. Years ago I picked up Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.  (From Amazon.com: Roach delves into the many productive uses to which cadavers have been put, from medical experimentation to applications in transportation safety research (in a chapter archly called “Dead Man Driving”) to work by forensic scientists quantifying rates of decay under a wide array of bizarre circumstances.)  I loved it. I read Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex as well, as soon as it came out on Kindle. Even better!

When I finished Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void last October, I decided to send Mary an email to tell her how much I enjoyed the book.

What follows, reading down the page, is the email exchange between Mary and me regarding my idea of the two of us collaborating on a book about B2B selling.  This exchange is published with Mary’s permission.  You should also know that I edited the thread a bit to remove a bit of personal information and to clarify a few things.

On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 5:21 AM, Dave Stein wrote:

Hi Mary,

Just finished [Packing for] Mars.

You get better and funnier with each book. I laughed so hard I almost soiled my spacesuit!! And I learned a heck of a lot. What a rare combination.

I’ve read Stiff and Bonk as well. I’m about to buy Spook for my Kindle.

Keep up the wonderful work. If these get any funnier they’ll have to stick warning labels on them.

Best regards,

Dave Stein

CEO & Founder

ES Research Group, Inc.

From: mary roach

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 11:47 AM

To: Dave Stein

Subject: Re: Love your books.

Thanks, Dave! That’s great to hear.

What does ES Research research?

All my bestest,


New book http://www.maryroach.net/packing-for-mars.html

Daily Show! http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-2-2010/mary-roach

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Mary-Roach/44721462354?ref=ts

On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 9:17 AM, Dave Stein wrote:

Thanks for asking, Mary.

I spent 25 years in the corporate world of sales training, sales consulting, and writing about sales. (How Winners Sell was an Amazon best-selling sales book in 2002, when it was first published. Regretfully, it’s now out of print.) This is “big ticket” stuff, like multi-million dollar software packages. No used cars or aluminum siding, just in case you were wondering.

Spending three weeks a month traveling all over the world got old. Very old. There are just so many filled-up old passports you can show your grandkids.

…I moved to Martha’s Vineyard and started a … [research firm] … that evaluates sales training companies, compares and contrasts them, and sells reports about all that on the Internet. Now I travel on business [considerably less]. …I [do] go to Ireland where I cherish my role as Professor of Sales and Sales Management at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

If you ever get to The Vineyard, let me know. I’ll give you a personal tour. Even a plane ride around the island in my vintage Cessna. Just don’t come when Obama is here. It’s wall-to-wall with gawkers. Plus the FAA grounds us during that week.

By the way, you might think about writing one of your wonderful books about the world of business-to-business sales. The inside story is something to behold. It would make an astronaut blush.

Let me know if you’d like to collaborate! I’d even agree to let your name come before mine.

Best regards,


From: mary roach

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 1:13 PM

To: Dave Stein

Subject: Re: Love your books.

Thanks for the offer! It sounds fun. I have never heard the term “business to business sales.” What is this blush-worthy inside story? Bribes and corruption?

Dave Stein wrote:


Gross incompetence, negligence, deliberate misrepresentation, dirty tricks (à la Richard Nixon), influence peddling, bribes, corruption, copyright infringement, insider trading, fudged financials, industrial espionage, and, did I mention sex?

Just a few links to get your started:




In 2009, … [less than half] of B2B (business-to-business, as opposed to B2C, business-to-consumer) salespeople achieved their assigned quota. For a layperson like you, that means meeting minimum job requirements. 🙂

Clearly sales is the department that’s last on line in most companies when it comes to adherence to process/methodology, quality, and, most importantly, productivity. My firm estimates that, depending on the industry, 25 to 33% of salespeople aren’t qualified for the position they hold. [Some] bosses aren’t in any better shape. A recent study points out that 85% of sales managers who were promoted from the top sales person at their company fail at the management job.


Full disclosure. I’ve heard (and seen) everything imaginable during my years in the business, but certainly am not in the position to document it all, or even much of it. However, I’ve got a long list of colleagues who know where the skeletons are buried, or at least can suggest which way the cemetery is.


From: mary roach

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 2:36 PM

To: Dave Stein

Subject: Re: Love your books.

Good lord, that would be way too depressing for me Just reading the news is bad enough these days. But someone should write this book, for sure….

I’m sure some of you will have “constructive criticism” about my ill-fated selling approach. Suffice it to say that what started out as a compliment turned into just plain fun.

Sharing is caring!


  1. Larry says

    Hey Dave,

    Great exchange and now my reading list just got longer.

    Can’t wait to explore her writing.