People.ai

Because who can read more than one sales book per month these days?

Whether you’re a seasoned sales veteran trying to stay tuned to the industry’s trajectory, or just getting into sales, these are the best books on sales for you to read. We wanted to deviate from the standard lists of sales books that feature only the classics, despite many of them being outdated and irrelevant. Our list only contains books written in the last decade.

We also organized the reading list by quarter, focusing more on planning and execution in the early quarters, and closing deals and Revenue Operations & Intelligence (RO&I) in the second half of the year.

Understanding the importance of time management and sales productivity, we also took the liberty of calculating the time it would take to read each book. Our methodology is based on the number of pages (assuming 300 words per page on average) and a reading speed of 200 words per minute. 

Q1: Sales Planning Books

Kicking off Q1 with a sales plan and sales playbook is essential to meeting goals throughout the rest of the year and effectively achieving those goals. 

1. The Sales Plan: The Definitive Five-Step Guide to Selling | By: Carlos Horner

Carlos Horner has decades of experience in business development, growth, and sales training. In his book, The Sales Plan, Carlos distills success in sales down to five key areas:

  1. Build a sales framework based on real data 
  2. Implement a simple sales process for repeatable success
  3. Leverage sales activity data insights to guide process accountability
  4. Grow accounts through relationship management and retention
  5. Ultimately build a well-tuned growth machine for consistent results

2. How To Plan Your Entire Year On One Sheet Of Paper: The Simple Plan For Doubling Your Sales And Profits | By: Laura Posey

Laura Posey is a widely acclaimed author, speaker, and consultant who has asserted her influence in the planning processes at thousands of companies. In this book, Laura brings the latest in neuroscience research applied to the art of making a plan and sticking to it. 

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to become laser-focused on the highest-leverage activities for productivity and profitability. 
  • How to plot your roadmap to achieve the optimal route for achieving your goals and vision.
  • How to creatively solve your companies biggest challenges and increase profits. 

3. Business Outcome Selling Strategies | By: Jeb Blount and Jason Eatmon

The subtitle to this book is almost as comprehensive as the book itself: How Next Gen B2B Sales Organizations Accelerate Sales Productivity, Operationalize Hyper-Growth Strategies, Lock Out Competitors, and Expand Customer Relationships.

Jeb Blount self-identifies as a sales acceleration specialist and co-wrote this book with Jason Eatmon, a former master sales trainer, and current chief experience officer. 

As technology continues to remove barriers to entry and margins are squeezed in a race for the bottom, there’s a growing need to differentiate your business and deliver more valuable outcomes for customers. 

Blount and Eatmon advocate you dig a moat around your sales strategy through accelerating sales productivity and operationalizing hyper growth strategies. Some of the areas covered in the book include:

  • Qualification methodologies, discovery, and value-driven partnerships with customers
  • Stakeholder mapping and winning mindshare
  • Aligning departments and consensus 

Q2: “How to Sell” Books

In our hypothetical year of sales books, Q2 is reserved for books on “how to sell.” From inside and outside sales to a streamlined methodology, these books can help encompass your team’s strategy and selling style. 

4. Sales Development Playbook: | By: Trish Bertuzzi

Trish Bertuzzi has spent the greater part of three decades building, scaling, and optimizing inside sales teams, which is the subject of her cookbook for inside sales recipes. 

The subtitle suggests you’ll learn to “build repeatable pipeline and accelerate growth with inside sales.” To meet this lofty goal, Trish breaks down her playbook into six distinct areas:

  1. Strategy
  2. Specialization
  3. Recruiting
  4. Retention
  5. Execution
  6. Leadership

5. Outbound Sales, No Fluff: Written by two millennials who have actually sold something this decade | By: Ryan Reisert and Rex Biberston 

Ryan Reisert and Rex Biberston set out to write a book that has relevance in today’s environment and doesn’t require much time to read—if that wasn’t made clear by the title. 

The shortest read on our list, clocking in at just under two hours, Outbound Sales, No Fluff, is a great introduction to modern outbound selling. It covers a few key topics:

  • Outbound prospecting to fill your pipeline with sales qualified opportunities
  • How to cold call effectively
  • Funnel math

Since Ryan has a degree in mathematics, you can bet this last bullet is a well-thought-out and trustworthy source for learning how to think about your funnel.

6. Triangle Selling: Sales Fundamentals to Fuel Growth | By: Hillman Sorey and Cory Bray

Yes, another book by these prolific authors and influential sales leaders. Triangle Selling is a modern take on the fundamentals of selling today wrapped up into a “five-minute framework.”

Their book and framework will help you:

  • Uncover reasons your buyers are making their purchasing decisions
  • Understand the psychology of a highly-effective demo, increasing sales velocity
  • Avoid common deal killers

Q3: Books on Revenue Operations

Although Revenue Operations & Intelligence (RO&I) should be an area of focus at all times, in the context of our book curriculum, we placed it in Q3.

7. The Qualified Sales Leader: Proven Lessons from a Five Time CRO | By: John McMahon

John McMahon has the unique distinction of being the only Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for five publicly traded companies. In his widely acclaimed book, The Qualified Sales Leader, John covers a few key domains of a successful sales leader:

  • The quarterly business review (QBR)
  • Analyzing the progression of deals
  • Forecasting strategies

8. Predictable Revenue | By: Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler

Aaron Ross gained his early experience in generating predictable revenue when he helped add $100 million in annual recurring revenue to Salesforce. Marylou Tyler has a 34-year track record of sales process systemization and making everything from revenue to prospecting more predictable. 

In their book, Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com, Ross and Tyler provide insight into the outbound strategy that they coin “cold calling 2.0” which increases response rates by 9% and boosts revenue from cold prospects. They also cover how to turn sales teams into autonomous vehicles and employees into mini-CEOs.

9. The Sales Acceleration Formula | By: Mark Roberge

Mark Roberge, an engineer by training and an early employee at HubSpot helped grow annual revenue from $0 to $100 million. Roberge then went on to be HubSpot’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for their sales division. 

The Sales Acceleration Formula provides an engineering-driven roadmap for building and scaling a sales engine for predictable results. Revenue isn’t the only thing Roberge advocates for predictability, but also:

  • Sales Hiring Formula: Hire quality sales people every time
  • Sales Training Formula: Replicate onboarding and training for consistent results
  • Sales Management Formula: Instill accountability for activity and process unification 
  • Demand Generation Formula: Provide quality leads to the team on a regular basis

All of these variables comprise the Sales Acceleration Formula, which leverages technology and data to increase success with inbound sales. 

Q4: “How to Close” Books

Hopefully by now you’ve learned enough to close on predictable revenue, but in our Q4 reading curriculum, we cover how to do just that: close more deals. 

10. Never Split The Difference | By: Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Chris Voss is a former expert hostage negotiator for the FBI and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience at the negotiating table. Some of the strategies Voss suggests run counter to most previously established beliefs about the psychology of sales and negotiation. 

In his bestselling book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, Voss covers nine principles, many of which are counterintuitive, about getting the best result for everyone involved in a negotiation. 

11. Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No | By: Jeb Blount

We introduced Jeb Blount earlier in the context of planning and processes for driving B2B growth. In his book, Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No, Jeb discusses the science of resistance and why customers have objections.

With that foundation, this book helps:

  • Establish a framework for turnarounds to various objections
  • How to go from brush-offs to next steps
  • How to avoid aggressive reflex responses to objections 
  • Negotiation techniques for moving beyond objections and closing the deal on favorable terms

12. Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence | By: Shelle Rose Charvet 

Shelle Rose Charvet is an expert on language and the founder of the ​​Institute for Influence, a leadership training program for women. In this book, Shelle helps you decode the buyer’s language to influence their decisions without being manipulative.

This book will help you close more deals by:

  • Uncovering the subconscious ways people get motivated, process information, and make decisions. 
  • Finding ways to “pry open mental space in closed-minded people.”
  • How to build rapport and establish credibility with any and everyone.

Biased Bonus: Best Sales eBooks

1. The Ultimate Guide to Annual Planning for Data-Obsessed Revenue Leaders

As an extension of our Q4 curriculum, this eBook provides a step-by-step guide to the annual planning process for your GTM initiatives in 2022 and beyond. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Leverage historical deal engagement data to refine your ICP
  • Model territory capacity to optimize performance and maximize productivity
  • Align your GTM teams

2. The Sales Manager’s Playbook for Data-Driven Account and Opportunity Management

The modern sales manager is so busy playing and coaching the game that there’s little time left for performance evaluation or the post-game analysis. Ultimately, however, this latter process is what helps iterate your sales process toward its full potential. 

In this eBook, you’ll learn a data-driven approach to account-based everything (ABX), especially account planning and opportunity management. 

3. The Power of Managing with Leading Indicators

Many sales teams make the mistake of analyzing past performance to gauge future results. This is akin to using the rearview mirror to drive to your destination. 

That’s not to say that you only need to look out the windshield and aimlessly drive until you someday reach your goal destination—you need to use the sales equivalent of GPS navigation. A BI dashboard built on leading indicators is the GPS of sales.

In this eBook, you’ll learn how leading indicators enable more predictable revenue growth and help organizations anticipate risks, take action, and proactively drive results.

Read Our Game-Changing B2B Sales Operation Playbook