October 10, 2022

Top 8 Books for New Sales Leaders

Written by Karli Stone

You’ve just been promoted to sales manager. In front of you lies the exciting, but daunting task of empowering a sales team and driving the company to its highest performance.

Or maybe you’re a veteran sales leader. You have plenty of sales strategies from years of experience, but lately, your results have been reaching a plateau.

No matter where you are in your sales leadership career, without proper sharpening, you’ll wind up dull.

Books are an easy and cost-effective professional development (PD) tool. That’s why we’ve put together a list of important sales reads – straight from the minds of some of the most influential and successful sales leaders out there – and the reasons why we recommend them.

From sales methodologies and metrics to sales development and hiring, you’ll walk away from these reads with actionable ways to close more deals and become the most effective and influential leader you can be.

Crush your quota with these tactical reads

Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management by John Treace

This is the all-in-one read for sales leaders looking to implement best practices that drive high-velocity sales organizations. Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management uncovers a deeper understanding of topics like:

  • Effective sales forecasting
  • Designing highly effective meetings
  • Choosing and tracking the right metrics
  • Developing a powerful sales culture
  • And more

Why we love it:

60% of sales leaders anticipate their team won’t be able to hit quota by year-end.

It’s crucial that sales leaders uncover the proven methodologies, sales tools, and management skills to boost sales performance from start to finish. The real-life examples and tactical advice from this book will help get you there.

Buy it here.

Sell with a Story by Paul Smith

Sell with a Story provides you with all the ingredients for an effective sales story. Explore this read to learn how to choose the right story, craft a memorable, customer-centric narrative, and use those narratives to build rapport, address objections, and close deals.

Why we love it:

Stories are up to 22x more memorable than your average black-and-white facts and figures.

From sales pitches and websites to video calls and emails, learning how to tell a winning story can increase buyer confidence, shorten the sales cycle, improve customer retention, and, ultimately, boost revenue.

Buy it here.

Dive into the psychology of selling with these guides

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink

From teachers persuading students to do their homework to lawyers selling the jury on a verdict, sales happen in and around us every day. This book gives sales leaders a fresh perspective on what it means not just to sell to prospects but to communicate with humans.

Why we love it:

Pink redefines the “ABCs” of selling as:

  • Attuning and listening to the buyer
  • Being upbeat and positive, even in rejection
  • Staying Clear about what is important

This is a formula that can help you create a team of empathetic sellers who connect with contacts and convert them into customers, faster than ever.

Buy it here.

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Social psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics – who knew how much science went into selling?!

This book is about aligning your sales strategies with how your prospects naturally think about purchasing. Using numerous psychological studies and professional voices, it gives sellers a practical toolkit for engaging buyers and moving deals forward.

Why we love it:

Unlike a lot of “self-help” books, The Science of Selling uses hard and fast evidence rather than anecdotes and subjective advice. It includes proven ways to help your sales teams:

  • Improve objection-handling skills by uncovering root issues
  • Engage buyers’ emotions to make them more receptive
  • And ask questions that align with the way our brains process information

Buy it here.

Books that will help you overcome obstacles

The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver by Suzanna Paling

Suzanne Paling, Founder of Sales Management Services, has two decades of sales management experience and created a guidebook for sales managers looking to up their problem-solving skills.

This book will give you an arsenal of leadership strategies to help you confront common sales issues like poor prospecting performance and unmotivated sales reps.

Why we love it:

A huge part of being a sales manager is knowing how to solve problems. This gives sales managers a step-by-step guide on effectively dealing with problems by:

  • Clarifying the issue
  • Creating a plan
  • Presenting a solution
  • And discussing the issue

Buy it here.

Bonus: If you’re looking for additional resources, check out this article on how to use problem-solving questions to lead a winning sales team.

Gap Selling by Keenan

If you feel like your team is struggling through its selling strategies, Keenan is here to disrupt your outlook. By “selling to the gap,” sales teams can revamp their processes from prospecting through to closing.

This book challenges widely held sales beliefs that have been holding sellers back for decades (e.g. ‘closing is the skill of strong salespeople’ and ‘price is the main reason why sellers lose sales’) and gives open-minded sales leaders a fresh outlook for 21-century sales success.

Why we love it:

Problem-centric selling is an indispensable part of sales leadership. Take it from our very own Director of Product Marketing, Ara Bilazarian, “The science of problem-solving is being data-driven, the art is coming up with solutions”.

Gap Selling gives you a framework for better understanding customer problems and objections and gives you the tools you need to recommend solutions.

Buy it here.

Books for becoming a better listener, learner, and coach

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

Emotional intelligence is an essential (and often undervalued) skill for personal and professional success. This book will guide you in becoming an emotionally intelligent leader that knows how to communicate with their employees and make them feel valued.

Why we love it:

This read will enable you to achieve your fullest potential by delivering a step-by-step program for increasing your EQ through four core skills:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management

It even comes with an EQ quiz!

Buy it here.

Sales Leadership: The Essential Leadership Framework by Keith Rosen

Sales Leadership delivers a chronological path to develop yourself as a better coach and a better leader. Using the L.E.A.D.S coaching framework, Rosen teaches readers how to ask more questions, give less advice, and build trust and accountability.

Give this book a read to learn how to embed coaching into your daily conversations and rhythm of business to create a thriving and high-performing sales culture.

Why we love it:

The ability to coach directly affects your bottom line.

Sales reps with 30 minutes or less of sales coaching per week receive win rates of 43%, and those that receive at least 2 hours of coaching per week, have a win rate of 56%! These are numbers you can’t afford to ignore…

This read gives you tactical, actionable advice for becoming a better coach and more effective leader.

Buy it here.

How to gain more from reading? Follow these few tips!

Before you start a new Kindle download or head to your local library (they still have those, right?), we want to leave you with a few quick tips for getting the most out of your PD reads:

  • Remember: there’s more than one way to read. You don’t need to finish a book from cover to cover or sit for hours of uninterrupted reading to learn and grow. You can scan through books for relevant bits and pieces, read summaries or commentaries, or download an audiobook for your next morning walk.
  • Try annotating. Marking up your book or document keeps you active and awake. Write down your thoughts or reactions to help you remember the thoughts of the author and set the foundation for action.
  • Satisfice your reads. To satisfice, you seek a solution to a problem that achieves acceptable results, rather than seeking a solution that receives optimal results. Don’t misunderstand; you want to achieve optimal results eventually, but if you’re looking for a sales silver bullet, (spoiler!) you won’t find one. Looking for a good solution and testing it is the better way to find out what works and what doesn’t.
  • Put your knowledge into action. You’ll only see the results if you apply the knowledge. Internalize what you read, discuss ideas with your peers, and use what you learn to create better sales processes, better salespeople, and a better you.

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone