As one of the oldest professions, sales has been the topic of thousands of books over the years. With so many sales books out there, it’s surprising that comparatively few have focused on sales management and coaching. If you’ve found yourself looking for actionable strategies to become a better sales coach, we recommend adding the following five books to your reading list:
1. Predictable Revenue (Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler)
Aaron Ross is one of the premier thought leaders in sales. He helped Salesforce grow from $5-100M and has been credited with “discovering” the enterprise market for Salesforce. Predictable Revenue dissects the outbound sales process that ushered Salesforce to stardom (this sales process, remarkably, didn’t rely on even a single cold call). The book is a must-read if you want to scalably build a sales team and generate “predictable revenue” streams. The content is fresh—Ross covers the hottest sales topics like the importance of the SDR and how to develop an Ideal Client Profile (ICP). The best part? Ross includes actionable strategies, including specific content to include in emails, well-defined responsibilities of the VP of sales, precise days/times to send emails, and key metrics to track.
2. Cracking the Sales Management Code (Jason Jordan)
Many consider this to be the “sales manager’s bible.” It’s a go-to operational manual for sales managers. Unlike many others on the market, it’s based on extensive research rather than anecdotes and assumptions. Jordan scrutinizes traditional sales metrics and urges sales professionals to align seller activities with business results. After reading this book, you’ll have a good understanding of the most important sales performance metrics that all managers should focus on. You’ll learn about the five critical processes that drive sales performance. You’ll learn which metrics you can manage and which ones you can’t. After you’ve turned the final page, you’ll be better primed to improve your performance as a sales coach.
3. Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives (Keith Rosen)
It’s no fluke that this book has won five International best book awards. It’s a go-to resource for any manager who wants to become a better coach and improve the performance of his/her sales team. Rosen’s book includes one of the best overviews of the celebrated L.E.A.D.S., a coaching model that many of today’s top companies rely on. The L.E.A.D.S. framework (Listen, Evoke, Answer, Discuss, Support) guides sales coaches on how best to facilitate an effective coaching conversation. The book also includes actionable activities that you can put into practice tomorrow. We love the 30-day turnaround strategy for under-performers, as well as the collection of coaching templates scripts and questions.
4. Spin Selling – The actual evidence (Neil Rackham)
This book is arguably what led many to reconsider sales as less of an art and more of a science. The book is the output of a multi-year research project that looked at which sales techniques work in the real world. Like Jordan, Neil looks at the hard evidence. Through the pages of the book, Neil goes a long way in convincing readers that sales does not follow a one-size-fits-all model. That is, the techniques that drive smaller consumer sales aren’t often effective in complex deals. This book will likely cause you to reexamine traditional thinking. You’ll learn why success in complex sales relies on a tailored pattern of questions. Rackman’s recommended pattern of questions (“Situation,” “Problem,” “Implication,” and “Need-payoff”) gives the book its title.
5. The Accidental Sales Manager (Chris Lytle)
The reality is that many sales managers stumble into the role unexpectedly. In most cases, they’ve been sales reps, have performed well, and have been promoted. Many people mistakenly think that the same skills that led sales reps to perform well translate to a managerial role. Oftentimes, they don’t. This book teaches sales managers how to coach and develop an effective team of people who manage themselves. You’ll learn how to communicate up and down the chain of command so that you can propel your team to maximum effectiveness. You’ll learn the seven roadblocks that keep “B” players from becoming “A” players. You’ll learn how to recruit the best people by asking the right questions and how to hire for traits rather than skill sets. This book is one of the best vaccines against falling victim to the “sales management trap.”
As a Sales manager, you have one of the most difficult jobs out there. You have incredible responsibility, ranging from helping your sales team hit quota, maintain high spirits, adapt to changes in customer behaviour, and effectively use the sales tools at your disposal. The day-to-day life of a sales manager doesn’t need to be overwhelming. The lessons and takeaways including in these books will help you develop a strategy and arsenal of best practices that you can put into action immediately to help you excel at your job.