A lot has changed in the sales world in the last 13 years. Inside sales, inbound, outbound, Account Based Marketing, lead generation, buyers journey, etc. are just a few of the new terms that have penetrated our sales vernacular. Therefore with all the changes, keeping up with the new and valuable selling methodologies of today is critical to success.
This list was built to help sales people and sales leaders crush it in the 21st-century sales world.
Growth is critical to success, and deliberate learning is the best and most productive way to achieve that growth.
If you’re interested in expanding your skills, broadening your understanding the new world and learning new skills these are the sales books for you. (To order or read more, simply click on book thumbnail)
1) The Only Sales Guide You Will Ever Need – Anthony Iannarino
This book should have been called, “The Anatomy of a Sales Person” because that’s what it describes. With chapters like Self-Discipline, Optimism, Competitiveness, Story Telling Diagnosing and more, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need will snap you in shape. Anthony’s direct approach leaves little for interpretation. Broken into two parts, Mind Set and Skill Sets, Anthony walks you through how these two very different elements come together to create a powerful description of what it takes to become a true badass sales person.
If you haven’t read a sales book in a while, this is the first one you should read. It will revive those parts of your skill set and mindset you already had AND help you develop new ones to be successful in the 21st-century.
2) Fanatical Prospecting – Jeb Blount
If nothing happens until something gets sold, then nothing gets sold until you can prospect. Prospecting is where everything happens. It’s how we build our pipelines. It’s how we position ourselves for success. If your prospecting is suspect, nothing can save you. Jeb has written a killer book designed help you build a solid pipeline faster. Learn about the 30-day rule, the law of replacement, the P’s holding you back and more. If you want a bigger pipeline, this book can help you get it.
3) How to Get a Meeting With Anyone – Stu Heinecke
This book completely surprised me. It tackles the most difficult challenge salespeople struggle with, getting prospects to respond. Stu Heinecke triggers your mind to think in entirely different ways. Leveraging his own unique stories and those of others, How to Get a Meeting With Anyone teaches you how to get your buyer’s attention and get them to respond to you. This book is not about email meetings, but rather how to build targeted, specific campaigns for your most valuable prospects. This is a must have compliment to any organization doing ABM (Account Based Marketing).
4) Sales Manager Survival Guide – David Brock
In full disclosure, I consider David Brock a mentor. When I first started my consulting company, David offered amazing insight, support and most importantly confidence building. He convinced me I was capable of things I wasn’t sure I was ready for. That’s what makes David’s book Sales Managers Survival Guide so valuable. David has practiced and lived sophisticated sales leadership for decades and he’s good at it. This book should sit on EVERY sales managers desk and be part of the on-boarding for new sales manager. Sales Manager Survival Guide covers everything from hiring and firing to comp plans, to performance reviews, to succession planning and more. David has written the definitive guide to sales management. Go get it.
5) Deal Storming – Tim Sanders
Tim has written the book for large, complex selling. As you’ll see in the next book I share, the complexity of selling is drastically increasing. This increase is being driven by more and more buyers in the decision process. To drive deals forward in today’s complex selling world that has an average of 5.4 decision makers per sale, sales has to leverage the entire organization. Deal Storming walks you through how to leverage all the intellectual capacity of your organization to compete and win the deal. Deals Storming helps sales people get deadlocked deals unstuck and helps capitalize on the creativity of the entire organization. Deal Storming leverages a 7-Step process that has helped Yahoo, Conde Naste, and Career Builder win their big deals. Don’t lose a stuck deal again, read this book.
6) The Challenger Customer – CEB
Our customers’ buying process is going through dramatic change. Deals are no longer made by one or two people, they’re made by committee and that “committee” is made up of 5.4 people on average. That’s 5.4 people you need to get behind saying yes to your product or service. The Challenger Customer is a fantastic follow up on its predecessor, The Challenger Sale. Leveraging their research on the 7 types of buyers and what it takes to move them to a yes, The Challenger Customer helps you understand the different buyer types and whether or not they are friendly “mobilizers” or “blockers.” If you sell to large scale organizations with long sales cycles, The Challenger Customer is a must. Combined with Deal Storming, you’ve got a powerful combination.
7) Sales Development Playbook — Trish Bertuzzi
Broken down into 6 key elements or parts, The Sales Development Playbook takes you on a journey towards sales growth and acceleration. The 6 Parts: Strategy, Specialization, Recruiting, Retention, Execution, and Leadership, are carefully and meticulously laid out in a fashion that doesn’t let you forget the others. Trish had done a masterful job of framing what a winning 21st-Century sales organization should look like. If you’re a CRO, Sales VP and responsible for sales development in your organization, this book should be on your shelf.
8) Social Selling – Tim Hughes
As the digital landscape has changed buyers’ habits it’s increasingly difficult to reach them early enough in their decision-making process using traditional sales methods. Developing relationships with decision-makers through social networks has become an increasingly critical skill – enabling sales professionals to engage early on and ‘hack’ the buying process.
As the digital landscape has changed buyers’ habits it’s increasingly difficult to reach them early enough in their decision-making process using traditional sales methods. Developing relationships with decision-makers through social networks has become an increasingly critical skill – enabling sales professionals to engage early on and ‘hack’ the buying process. Social Selling provides a practical, step-by-step blueprint for harnessing these specific and proven techniques. Social Selling is real people, Tim’s book is a winner that will make you that much more web popular and improve your digital engagement. Don’t start social selling without it.
9) The Perfect Close — James Muir
Have you ever wondered if there were a way to close a deal with out being pushy and obnoxious? This book is your answer. Using science, James Muir offers sales people a simple two-question close that will do just that. In The Perfect Close Muir shares his approach to get customers to close with a 95% closing percentage with zero pressure. Many of you know my thoughts on closing. Closing is a journey and Muir’s book helps you go on that journey with respect for your prospects.
10) High-Profit Prospecting – Mark Hunter
Yeah, yeah, I know two prospecting books, really? Well yup, because prospecting is that important. Plus, Jeb Blount wrote the foreword. High-Profit Prospecting helps salespeople maximize the time they spend prospecting in order to fill their pipelines faster and with better opportunities. I especially liked Mark’s don’t cold call, inform call thesis. High-Profit Prospecting addresses everything from email, social media, to gate-keepers, referrals and more. Read this and Jeb’s book and watch how fast your pipeline grows.
11) New Sales Simplified
If there is a new sales bible for sale reps, this is it. There are number of new sales books coming out every year touting a new and complex selling methodology and some of them are good. The problem is, like many other things, if you don’t have the basics, those books can’t help you. New Sales Simplified is all about the basics. I recommend this book to every new sales person or any salesperson who feels they need to “hone” their skills. New Sales Simplified is fantastic book that delivers the sales basics with a punch. If every new sales rep read this book before they ever made a sales call, the profession of sales would have an entirely different brand. Get it, read it every two years or so, and don’t deviate from it.
12) Whale Hunting with Global Accounts — Barbara Weaver Smith
We’re in a global economy and yet there are so few books on selling to global accounts. Barbara leverages the expertise of fourteen current global practitioners and current sales experts to help readers navigate the complex world of global selling. Whale Hunting with Global Accounts walks you through a 4 strategy approach that will help you compete for and win global accounts.
13) Social Selling Mastery – Jamie Shanks
Social Selling is so critical to sale today, I would have felt I was cheating you if I didn’t recommend both of these books. Jamie Shanks is the CEO of Sales for Life, a social selling training company. Sales for Life is the permanent social selling training company in the world. Therefore, technically speaking, you could say Shanks wrote the book and training on social selling. Social Selling Mastery helps sales people connect with their buyers and prospects where they live. Social Selling Mastery provides a blue print for sales people trying to engage with prospects all across the Internet. Leverage his companies training curriculums, provide readers with the insight and information required to be seen by their prospects as valuable resources, not pesky sale people pushing and agenda. Social selling is a real thing and Social Selling Mastery makes sure you do it right.
K, there you have it. The world of sales has changed drastically in the past 15 years.
Products, methodologies, systems, that are dominating the sales environment that didn’t’ even exist 5 years ago, never mind ten or fifteen years ago. The best salespeople and the best sales leaders stay abreast of the changes and maintain their stock in what it takes to sell in the 21st-century. These 13 books are the foundation to staying ahead of the curve and on top of your game.
Well, that is for the next few years. Things change pretty fast these days.
If there’s a book you guys thing should be added to this list, feel free to share in the comments. I’m curious to see what everyone else is reading.