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January 28, 2009

Erffmeyer Publishes Professional Sales Textbook

Nearly two years ago, UW-Eau Claire marketing professor Bob Erffmeyer received a phone call from an acquisition editor at Prentice Hall asking him if he was interested in co-authoring a sales management textbook. Erffmeyer said yes, and now for the first time this spring, students in his sales management classes will use, Sales Management – Shaping Future Leaders, a new book he co-authored with Jeff Tanner (Baylor University, Texas) and Earl Honeycutt (Elon University, North Carolina).

The textbook writing process was an eye-opener for Erffmeyer, who has never written a textbook before.

“Once I accepted the editor’s invitation, I was asked to interview for the position by submitting written answers to a series of questions,” he said. “This eventually led to a number of writing auditions.”

After the fourth round of ‘interviews and auditions’, Erffmeyer was told he got the job. It was at this point in the process that he finally learned the names of his co-authors.

Erffmeyer, Honneycutt, Tanner, and a Prentice Hall editor met in Texas to discuss content for the textbook and teaching materials. After that initial meeting, all communication between the educators and their team of 15 editors, marketing directors, permission project managers, production managers and graphic artists was conducted through e-mail and phone conferences. Every chapter of the textbook went through three reviews, with 10 to 12 reviewers critiquing the book each time. With each review came additional writing. But the writing was the easiest part of the job, according to Erffmeyer, who also had to obtain copyrights, select graphics and photos, secure videos, write and edit support materials, and develop copy for a website.

The new textbook prepares students to become effective sales managers by integrating current technology, research, and strategic thinking activities. An entire chapter is devoted to using customer relationship management (CRM) technology when conducting business in sales organizations. Adopters of the book also will receive access to Aplicor, a third party CRM tool that is widely used in the industry.

Each chapter of the textbook opens with a profile of an actual sales manager explaining his or her day-to-day challenges. Many of these individuals will be familiar to UW-Eau Claire students and faculty as they are UW-Eau Claire alumni and friends. Profiled in the vignettes are Antoine Destin, Sales Training Manager, Hormel Foods Corporation; Bill Febry, National Trade Marketing Manager–Miller Import and Craft Brands, SAB Miller; Michael Kapocius, Regional Account manager, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.; and Larry Vorphal, Group VP and President of Consumer Products Sales Division, Hormel Foods Corp.

Every chapter also contains self-assessment activities, sales training role-plays, and cases. Almost half of these case studies were written by Jerry Kollross, UW-Eau Claire associate lecturer of management and marketing.

"Jerry's background in sales and sales management was a real asset and helped give the book realistic cases for the students to solve," said Erffmeyer.

Sales for the new textbook have been steady according to Erffmeyer. He attributes its success to several factors.

“Our text is up-to-date and fresh,” he said. “It is really the first “new” sales management book written in about 15 years.”

Erffmeyer also credits the book’s popularity to his co-authors writing skills, and the book’s focus on technology and real world examples. It is also the first sales management textbook to be printed in four-color.

“In the end, our publisher decided to print in color which was really a complement to us,” said Erffmeyer. “It was an investment for them which signaled confidence in our book.”