As the year comes to a close, now is a good time to sharpen the saw, come up with new ideas and inspiration that can shape your 2017 goals and strategies.
Reading books is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. Taking the time to dive into a well-researched and insightful book can provide you with techniques and frameworks to take your sales game to the next level in 2017. All highly successful founders, CEOs and sales leaders are voracious learners and most attribute their success to reading, among other habits.
To help you in this journey, we have put together a list of 10 books written by the brightest and the most successful sales leaders. These books will disentangle the obscure and demystify the questions you have, making you more knowledgeable and successful.
The Sales development Playbook – Trish Bertuzzi (2016)
The success of any business-to-business company depends on how effectively it acquires new sales pipeline. The answer is simply Sales Development. Trish Bertuzzi draws on her immense experience of leading sales teams for three decades to reveal some of the best ways for B2B companies to generate pipeline and achieve growth. The book true to its name is a playbook offering step-by-step tactics and strategies for building, managing and leading a modern sales team, thus making it the most relevant book for today’s modern B2B sellers.
The book presents six elements for building new pipeline and accelerating revenue growth with inside sales.
- Strategy: A framework for aligning your sales development model with your specific market dynamics
- Specialization: Presents how to segment your prospect universe and specializing roles
- Recruiting: Offers a roadmap to bullet-proof hiring process in great detail
- Retention: Focusses on engaging, developing, and motivating sales representatives
- Execution: Presents examples and tactics on how to conduct outbound sales
- Leadership: Provides in depth advise on leadership, from establishing quota to performance metrics to building out sales stack
Many sales leaders have termed this book as “The sales development Bible” and hailed it as a true gem.
“People get hung up on the wrong questions around sales development: templates, tools, and tricks. The Sales Development Playbook asks and answers the right questions. If you’re looking to increase qualified pipeline, read this book.” – Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer, Hubspot
Sales Acceleration Formula – Mark Roberge (2015)
Sales is a science as much as it is an art! In today’s B2B world, it is becoming more and more essential for sales leaders to embrace a metrics-driven climate to achieve success. Mark Roberge, who literally engineered sales success at Hubspot reveals the tactics that he used to build a sales machine that generated a $100 million business. He unravels his success formula of utilizing metrics and processes for scaling sales, predicting growing revenue streams and building a winning sales team. The book will help you understand how to apply data, technology, and inbound selling to every aspect of accelerating sales, including hiring, training, managing, and generating demand. So this is the book to be picked up if you are looking to build a metrics and science drive sales team.
The book is segregated into the following:
- The Sale Hiring Formula- Hiring sales rock stars every time
- The Sales Training Formula – Preparing salespeople for the modern buyer
- The Sales Management Formula – Implementing a predictable coaching model
- The Demand Generation Formula – Providing sales with continuous quality lead flow
- Technology and Experimentation – Using science and technology to enable better, faster selling
Sales is no longer an art form, it is a process that can be predicted and there exists a formula to do that.
The entire book is a fascinating read. I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s leading a sales team or building a company. It’s filled with tons of great advice. – Jill Konrath, Sales Strategist and Author
Selling to Big Companies – Jill Konrath (2005)
Everyone wants to land the big fish. Jill Konrath, from her extensive personal experiences reveals essential strategies on how to approach those ‘Big Companies’. The book provides advice on the best way of talking to corporates on challenges that should be overcome and should be avoided and on exploring the process of selling from preparation to pitch.
The book is segregated into three parts. Part one talks about what is required of you to be able to approach those ‘big’ companies with a sales pitch. Part two is a detailed explanation on how to lay the foundations to build a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective system for effective selling. And part three speaks about how to launch your sales campaign and execute it to perfection.
The key takeaways from the book are:
- Target the right accounts
- Create sales messaging that work
- Develop an effective, multi-faceted account-entry campaign.
- Have powerful initial sales meetings that build unstoppable momentum.
“Selling to big companies takes big ideas, and big thinking. Jill Konrath’s book will provide you with both—so that you can go out to the big boss of the big company and come back with the big order. This book will help you—BIG time.” – Jeffrey Gitomer, Author of Little Red Book of Selling and a professional speaker.
Little Red Book of Selling – Jeffrey Gitomer (2004)
Why do people buy? That should be million dollar question for sales people. In the world of sales, people are more worried about how to sell and often fail to look at the other side of the coin, why do people buy, says the sales guru David Gitomer. In his book he focuses on the “why” behind people’s buying habits and aims to demystify buying principles for salespeople. The book offers answers to just about every sales question a salesperson could ask and serves as a tool-kit for sales people. There’s a reason this book is described as little. The book is short, sweet and the advice given is to-the-point.
Gitomer calls it the RED book for a number of reasons. These include:
- Red is the color of passion. Passion is the fulcrum point of selling. No passion, no sales.
- Red is the color of love. If you don’t love what you sell, sell something else.
- Red is the brightest color. Shine bright in order to convert selling to buying.
- Red is the most visible color. You must be visible to your customers with a valuable message, not just a sales pitch.
- Red is fire. If you’re not on fire, you’ll lose to someone who is.
It contains 18 ways to become a sales success, 20 ways to beat a sales slump, 8.5 resources to tap in a pinch, 14 ways to create a personal brand and may more tips.
The book is a quick read; you can knock this one out on a plane ride.
“Little Red Book of Selling is a Red Bull of high energy sales tips and counsel.” – David Dorsey, Wall Street Journal
The Challenger Customer – Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner and Nick Toman (2015)
In today’s world, companies aren’t selling just products and solutions, the reality is that they are selling change. Change is hard for the individual decision makers to buy as it can also be a potential risk. So the companies mostly target buyers who are eager to build a relationship and have articulated needs; this is just human nature. But according to CEB research, the highest performing sales teams focus on customers who are far more skeptical and far less interested. Sounds counter intuitive? The authors reveal research indicating that only a specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill and will to challenge the others to embrace change. The book unveils tools that will help you distinguish the “Talkers” from the “Mobilizers” in any organization.
The book presents intriguing observations and recommendations about: 1. Buyer dysfunctionality – the difficulty buyers have in making buying decisions. 2. Who has the most impact within the customer to facilitate the process? 3. Good discussions on how we may present insight gaining and nurturing customer interest through the buying cycle.
The key takeaways from the book are:
- Buying groups are comprised of Stakeholders
- Partner with the customer’s ‘Mobilizers’ to lead the change
- Show the customers that the pain of the same is greater than the pain of change
- Lead the customer to your solution, not with it
- Collective learning drives consensus and higher deal quality
Your success or failure as a salesman also depends on who you challenge. The Challenger Customer delivers on the “What”, “Why” and “How” to execute that challenge and win in today’s buying climate.
“The authors of The Challenger Customer have done high-quality and in-depth research that maps out the road ahead for marketers. The result is a handbook of practices that will help you get into your customers’ heads, deliver good value, and win the sale.” – Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell is Human and Drive
The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes (2007)
How can you tune up and soup up virtually every part of your business by spending just an hour per week on each key impact area you want to improve? Chet Holmes, considered as one of the top 20 change experts in the country, offers one simple advice to do that: Focus! Many people often try something that looks a great idea in a half-baked way. They are then disappointed with the results and decide to move on to the next big thing. Chet emphasizes that you zero in on essential skill areas and channelize all your energy to master them to create that big difference. You will learn to blow away both the competition and your own expectations that will put you and your company on a path to success and help you stay there.
The book offers strategies on 12 key impact areas. The key here is to implement them with pig headed discipline and determination. The 12 areas are
- Really effective time management
- Instituting higher standards and regular training
- Effective meetings
- Taking a strategic approach
- Hiring superstars
- Targeting your best buyers
- The seven musts of marketing
- Better presentation skills
- Winning the best buyers
- Sales skills
- Follow-up and client bonding
- Goals and measures
The book is an easy read, powerful and inspiring. It puts a lot of emphasis on action. Pick up a copy, read it and put the ideas to practice with utmost focus to transform into a champion.
SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham (1988)
What makes success in major sales? How do few salespeople consistently outsell their competition? Why do few techniques work in small sales but fail in bigger ones? How can salespeople dramatically increase their sales volume from major accounts? Neil Rackham, former president and founder of Huthwaite Corporation answers all these questions in his book by introducing a then-groundbreaking strategy called “S.P.I.N.”
The book is heavily steeped in research with Neil and his team studying more than 35,000 sales calls made by 10,000 salespeople in 23 countries to understand sales performances. The book imparts knowledge on why traditional sales methods developed for small consumer sales, just won’t work for large sales and why conventional selling methods are doomed to fail in major sales. It will enable readers to produce sky-rocketing sales performances and dramatically increase their major sales.
The book provides details on the stages of a sales call, breakdown of classic closing techniques and their effectiveness, the right way to obtain a commitment from customers, how to uncover and develop buyer’s needs, the SPIN framework and handling objections. SPIN strategy is an acronym that relates to four kinds of sales questions that can motivate a sales prospect to buy.
- Situation Questions – Understand the facts and background of the buyer’s current situation
- Problem Questions – Understand the buyer’s difficulties that your product or service can resolve
- Implication Questions – Explore the wider effects of your client’s problems
- Need-payoff Questions – Help the client to view your product or service as a solution to their problems
This is one of the oldest published books but yet it is relevant even today. It is a timeless classic. This book is a cornerstone for training all sales representatives. If you are in sales then you MUST read this book. Period.
Amp Up Your Sales – Andy Paul (2014)
Stand out! Don’t be a common salesman. In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, sales people should themselves become the differentiating factor to find that edge says the sales sage Andy Paul. Using his massive field experience and research, he has written a strategic guide that teaches sales people how to set themselves apart and win customers’ trust. You will learn to set yourselves apart in the eyes of the buyers and transform into a trusted salesman who consistently wins new clients.
The book is broken into 8 parts:
- Simplifying your sales A
- Accelerating your responsiveness
- Maximizing value
- Growing through follow up
- Amp up your prospecting
- Qualification: doing more with less
- Mastering stories that sell
- Selling through customer service
The disseminates knowledge on how to – maximize your selling value, accelerate responsiveness to build trust and credibility, earn valuable selling time with customers, shape the buyer’s vision, integrate persuasive stories into your sales process and build lasting relationships through follow-up and customer service.
Pick up a copy to get those customers to say ‘YES’.
Predictable Revenue – Aaron Ross and Marylou Taylor (2011)
What does it take for your sales team to generate as many highly-qualified new leads as you want, create predictable revenue, and meet the financial goals without your constant focus and attention? Aaron Ross, who created a sales process which generated $100 million in recurring revenue for salesforce.com, answers it in his book Predictable Revenue. He shares his experience of creating the ultimate sales machine by building effective processes for prospecting and sales pipelines.
The book mainly covers these topics:
- How an outbound sales process without cold calls can generate a 9% response rate and millions of dollars from cold prospects?
- The Seven Fatal Sales Mistakes CEOs and Sales VPs make time and time again.
- How outbound sales and selling can be friendly and enjoyable?
- How to develop self-managing sales teams?
If there is one take away from this book, it is this: Separate your prospectors from your closers.
Get this book to start building that sales team which can generate predictable revenue!
“I couldn’t put it down. It’s saved me so much time, and now revenue is ramping up. After reading the book, we closed major deals immediately with the strategies.” = Kurt Daradics CEO, CitySourced.com
To Sell Is Human – Daniel H. Pink (2012)
Daniel Pink uncovers a startling truth – ‘All humans are salesmen!’ Daniel explains this intuitively – One in nine Americans works in sales, but so do the other eight says Pink. Whether pitching strategies to employers, courting investors or even trying to talk our children into studying more, all of us spend our days trying to move others. So like it or not, we’re all in sales. To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling helping you to refine your sales messages.
The book reveals the new ABCs of sales, explains why extroverts don’t make the best salespeople, describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and provides many counter – intuitive insights to influence people more effectively.
This is a perceptive and practical book that will change the way we perceive the world to be and transform the way we do things. The book is a treat for anyone who want to be a more effective persuader in work or in life.
Are there any books that we missed? What are the books that inspired and made a big difference in your career? Let us know in the comments section!