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2020 has been a difficult and complicated year for many. Between Covid-19 and the uncertainty that it brings, and trying to still meet your sales goals, this year can feel impossible. Thats why we’ve gathered 18 of the best sales books right here for you to dive into in 2020. A great mix of classic sales books that should be on any sales leaders bookshelf and newer titles extremely suited to 2020’s problems. Here they are in no particular order:
Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership: The Secret to Building High-Performance Sales Teams
Author: Colleen Stanley
Focused on sales leadership, the first entry in our list of best sales books, shows how empathy and emotional management are key to building a strong and productive sales team. Inside Colleen Stanley gives simple steps on how sales leaders can create cultures that listen to their salespeople, embrace feedback and roll with change. This is a must-have book for any sales leader who’s looking to grow a department during any time – but especially during COVID-19.
Review Quote: “I have been delivering EI programs to leaders and individual contributors for many years and have seen the positive results when leaders both develop their emotional intelligence and then help team members build their EI. Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership offers specific, practical tools and approaches needed for leaders to build specific EI competencies that drive results.”
Gap Selling: Getting the Customer to Yes: How Problem-Centric Selling Increases Sales by Changing Everything You Know About Relationships, Overcoming Objections, Closing and Price.
We’ve featured some of Keenan’s Tips inside our Hoopla platform, and a big reason is because of this book: Gap Selling. With this Best Sales Book, Keenan shreds long standing sales myths and focuses on a brand new way to connect with your buyers. Remember: your customer doesn’t care about you or your business – they just want to know what you can do for them!
Review Quote: “I having nothing but high praise for Keenan and this powerful, provocative and supremely helpful book! From his motivation as a professional seller (to successfully solve customers’ problems) to his bold statement that your sale is won or lost during the discovery phase of the process, to his EPIC rant in Chapter 11 about why most demos suck (he actually uses the word “butcher” to describe what most salespeople do during their awful demos), I found myself shouting “Amen!” in vehement agreement with just about everything suggested in Gap Selling.”
The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
Authors: Mathew Dixon & Brent Adamson
This best sales book – The Challenger Sale should really be a pair of best sales books, that also includes The Challenger Customer by the same two authors. The Challenger Sale, released in 2011, created a fundamental shift in sales processes for many organizations. This helped to change sales approaches from one of relationship building to literally challenging prospects beliefs. Combined with its newer sister book, these are a must read for any sales professional looking to up their game.
“Even though this was written back in 2009, the information and insight still has value today in 2020. Customers still value a professional who can Teach, Tailor, and Take Control. A trusted advisor who shares valuable insight that can help the customer achieve the business objectives.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie
Okay, maybe this one is a bit too easy. But this classic book by Dale Carnegie has sold over 15 million copies for a reason and will most likely continue to be one of the best sales books. With time-tested advice, this book can help salespeople have a more positive outlook on life. This is a great book to read not just for sales people but for any person in business.
Addicted to the Process: How to Close Transactional Sales with Confidence and Consistency
Author: Scott Leese
Scott Leese is a consistent contributor to the Hoopla Blog, and for good reason. His first book: Addicted to the Process focuses on creating and sticking to a proven process to make sure your sales numbers are through the roof. This is a great book for sales professionals dealing with more transactional sales, but any sales person can benefit from learning how to build motivational habits and celebrate small victories.
“This is an excellent book for people who are early in their sales career. Practical advice that gives you a roadmap to a successful sales career. Scott writes with tactical to-do’s and story telling that makes his points come to life. This book is also a quick read but filled with ideas. I read the whole thing at a car dealership while getting my truck serviced.”
Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition
Author: Anthony Iannarino
Looking for a resource to help you get more aggressive with selling? While you might think that you need to be cut throat and super aggressive to win customers from your competition, this book by Anthony Iannarino proves that the opposite is the case. Broken into three parts, this goes into developing relationships, building consensus and winning with intangibles. With excellent, proven strategies for gaining customers from the competition this is a no-brainer for best sales book.
“Every now and then there comes a book with such far-reaching implications that literally everyone across the sales industry reads it and then begins fervently implementing the guidance in their personal and corporate strategy. Anthony Ianarino’s new book Eat Their Lunch is just such a book. ”
From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue
Authors: Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin
From Impossible to Inevitable throws out great examples of hypergrowth from companies like Hubspot, Salesforce and Echosign. An amazing book for sales professionals (especially sales leaders) who need to build a scalable sales team, create templates for success, and take revenue to the next level.
“What I like most about this book is that it is so much different than any other business book I’ve read and the reason for that is the advice is from two people who have “been there done that”. There’s no advice in this book that Aaron or Jason haven’t gone through themselves and seen success with. It goes through what it really takes to successfully build a fast growing SaaS company.”
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Author: Daniel H. Pink
Author Daniel Pink explores a fresh look at selling in this best sales book. Many salespeople will enjoy how he breaks down that every person works in sales in some capacity. With some great practical examples of how to improve your sales process, as well as exploring the science behind selling, this is a must have book for every salesperson.
“Awesome sales book. I especially liked how he spent the first third of the book talking about how pretty much everyone in the world today is in some form of selling. You might not see yourself as a “traditional salesman,” but whatever you’re line of work is, your survival/success will depend on how well you can “move people” …”
Virtual Selling: How to Build Relationships, Differentiate, and Win Sales Remotely
Authors: Mike Schultz, Dave Shaby and Andy Springer
For many organizations Covid-19 turned their entire sales process on its head. Outside sales people with in-person meeting quotas now simply couldn’t. How can you overcome something like that? When thinking through our best sales books list, we couldn’t ignore our current environment. Enter: Virtual Selling, a brand new book out to tackle how you can connect with buyers, develop relationships and win more sales virtually. This best sales book contains techniques and practical advice that salespeople can use right now. It’s especially pertinent right now in 2020 – and its part of why it makes our best list.
“Mike Schultz and his coauthors have written an excellent guide to virtual selling. Throughout the book they leverage the extensive research they have done with actual executive buyers, illustrating the large gaps between what clients and customers are looking for and what sellers are giving them. They weave many practical tips into the chapter on how to sell and build relationships virtually, while also sharing evergreen strategies for moving from a general conversation with a buyer to a sold contract. Whether you’re early in your career as a salesperson or account executive, or a highly experienced professional, you’ll find many valuable ideas here that you can implement immediately..”
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Author: Dan Ariely
While not a traditional sales book, (and not normally found on best sales books lists) Predictably Irrational goes over how humans make irrational decisions in an overwhelming majority of situations. This is extremely helpful to salespeople when figuring out how to position a sale, or even talk about price. Yes even when it comes to something as concrete as numbers, human beings are still not rational thinkers. Get this best sales book, read it, and then get irrational with your sales process.
“Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational is a fantastic and eye-opening read. The author describes how he at age eighteen fell victim to a terrible accident and had to spend several years in hospitals. The separation from society that came from this led to an ability to objectively observe people and society as well as question certain behaviors. The book consists of countless behavioral experiments carried out by Ariely to understand why we act the way we do. ”
Author: Neil Rackham
As a technique, SPIN selling has become nearly canon in the sales world—it’s something you’ve undoubtedly heard of whether you know it by name or not. The method, which Rackham himself fathered, calls into action a sequence of questions: first the Situation, then the Problem, the Implication, and finally the Need-payoff.
What makes this book so special isn’t simply that it gives you a road map to an extremely viable way of selling, but that it also helps you to own your process. Neil takes the time to go through every stage of what a sales person will face—and if you can manage to take some smart notes, you’ll be ready for nearly any curveball a client throws your way.
“Enter ‘SPIN Selling’ – this book delivers where all of those other books have failed. In this book is a solid layout of how you should structure your sales calls, and not only that, but data to back up their claims and examples to on how to lead. Read this book, take notes, and I guarantee if you weren’t already aware of how to sell in this style, your selling WILL improve. ”
Secrets of Closing the Sale
Author: Zig Ziglar
The late Zig Ziglar is certainly not an unfamiliar character in the world of sales himself. He made a career not only as an author, but traveling the world inspiring millions of people across a multitude of professions. And that’s what makes his writing so special.
Ziglar believed that everyone had something to sell—and a way to sell it. This massive four-hundred-plus page book gives you more than just a few simple ideas: he gives you actionable ways that you can fight past objections and get to the real close.
“This is a fantastic book. While it is especially valuable for beginners and first year sales reps, it has value for anybody in the profession. As an experienced sales professional myself, I will say that this won’t teach a seasoned sales veteran any new information about HOW to sell, but it will help to realign your thoughts with WHY they buy.”
New Sales. Simplified.:The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development
Author: Mike Weinberg
Oftentimes here on the blog we’ll talk about what happens when salespeople get stuck in a rut—a low cycle where they don’t feel like they’re making much progress. This is often a time where employee engagement is at its lowest.
One of the most effective ways to combat low sales numbers is by focusing on your pipeline—generating new sales, rather than simply relying on renewals. And that’s exactly what Weinberg gets into in this book. With a full pipeline, you take the guesswork out of your quarterly performance. By doing the due-diligence ahead of time, you’ll reap the rewards for months down the road.
“Finished this book in a week and a half- very well written and also easy to read. Some very good and practical ideas that would help any level of seller. Mike does a great job showing the value of asking strategic questions, the power of listening, and just how important it is to search for new business in order to keep the sales pipeline full. Would highly recommend!”
The Sales Acceleration Formula
Author: Mark Roberge
Speaking of data, Mark Roberge has taken a look at the numbers, and developed a formula that every manager (or aspiring manager) should be thinking about: how to build the best sales team you can.
We firmly believe that when you build a better team, everyone benefits. It gives your employees a roadmap that allows them to see what their best can and should look like, helping them to get better in touch with their own goals—ultimately pushing their performance to the next level.
“This is a book every SaaS entrepreneur needs to read. It’s not just about sales, but the whole startup business from inception all the way to the $100M bar. It’s a lot about sales management in a fast growing context. Hiring, training, developing, coaching, managing the best sales teams possible and then repeating. That’s how you scale and grow revenue in a predictable way.”
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from The Worlds of Wall Street
Author: John Brooks
When a young up-and-comer named Bill Gates refers to it as “the best business book I’ve ever read,” it’s safe to assume that it’s probably worth reading for yourself, too. Veteran New Yorker writer John Brooks tackles twelve engaging stories from across Wall Street and beyond that will fuel your imagination of what you can accomplish in sales. Sometimes, especially for newer sales reps, half the challenge is not knowing what’s out there. Consider this your crash course.
“This book makes me feel as though I’m sitting at the knee of my grandfather, listening to wise recollections. A writer of articles in the 1950’s and 1960, many for the New Yorker, the author intelligently and thoughtfully steps through 12 events, one per chapter.”
The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales
Author: Trish Bertuzzi
The world of sales, and especially the way we build teams—whether they’re in our physical office or an increasingly popular group of remote employees—is changing at a break-neck speed. It can be hard to keep up with the changes, especially as we seek to create repeatable paths for success.
In this book Trish outlines a real path for development that gets into the nitty-gritty. It’s real world advice packaged in a totally palatable, hard-to-put-down package.
“If you are in business, or just want to have a blast and learn a bunch of super-solid, get-it-done stuff about the real world of sales development, The Sales Development Playbook is not just a must read – it is a “must consume”. And if you are a CEO, Sales VP or sales development leader, I strongly urge you to do more than read this book. Put Trish’s plays into your playbook and get ready to put up some big numbers.”
Your Sales Management Gurus Guide To: Leading High Performance Sales Teams
Author: Ken Thoreson
Aside from being an industry leader in wordy titles, Ken focuses on the idea of building a high-performance sales culture. Whether you’re in leadership or this is your first week of inside sales, everyone should be on board with nature of a high-performance culture. And ideally, everyone should be on board with helping to build that culture.
You’ll find that we talk often about creating a culture that celebrates healthy sales competition. High performance sales cultures, that produce high-performing employees, benefit immensely from this competition, as it gives everyone a chance to challenge each other as well as their perception of what’s truly possible.
“As many salespeople and CEOs can attest, good sales managers are hard to find. Ken addresses head on the problem – lack of sales MANAGEMENT development. This is the go to guide that Ken has built over many years from his successful consulting engagements with companies large & small. I would include this book on the very short list of good sales management books with “Rethinking the Sales Force”.”
Agile Selling: Getting Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World
Author: Jill Konrath
As we’ve said before, making the transition from one sales role to another (or starting from scratch) can be a totally foreign leap—and one that doesn’t feel so easy to make. But with Jill Konrath’s ever-popular and helpful guide, you’ll find that transition is something you should welcome. And what’s more, it’s something that you can thrive in.
Whether you’re going from an individual contributor role to a manager’s seat, or you’re simply looking to break in to a new industry, Jill’s absolutely got you covered.
“Easy read and the best practical plan for learning to be smart and efficient in the sales profession. You need to have this guidebook as it differentiates you and moves prospects from status quo.”
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