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5 Must-Read Books, According to Top Sales Leaders

Have you ever wondered what top sales leaders are reading? Have you ever wondered what their #1 sales book recommendation for success is?

If you have listened to even one episode of the Hey Salespeople podcast (if not, what are you waiting for?), you know that SalesLoft’s self-declared sales nerd and podcast host, Jeremey Donovan asks every guest two questions:

  1. What is the first thing you remember selling?
  2. What is your favorite sales book of all time and why?

We have built up a pretty impressive book list from some of the most successful and influential sales leaders of all time. From that list, we focused in on the 5 most frequently recommended books and noticed something pretty important:

They aren’t all about selling. 

Not directly, at least. Of the 26 books mentioned by our guests, only 40% are explicitly about selling techniques and tactics. The remainder cover everything from leadership and organizational health to psychology and lifehacking. The takeaway? Achieving success in sales transcends simply meeting your quota.

From Daring Greatly by Brené Brown to Major Account Sales Strategy by Neil Rackham, these 5 recommendations have helped top sales leaders gain success and should be added to your sales book bucket list ASAP.


Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

daring greatly

Recommended by: Kristina McMillian, VP of Research @ TOPO

The New York Time best-seller, Daring Greatly is about finding strength in vulnerability and authenticity. Any salesperson knows that authenticity in how you engage with people is crucial, whether it be from a leadership perspective, or from a sales perspective.

Even though Daring Greatly is not explicitly about sales, Kristina McMillan explains that Daring Greatly is her favorite sales book because it discusses how to make deeper, more meaningful connections in order to get to someone’s pain. Being vulnerable gets prospects to open up and trust you, and Daring Greatly is a great resource to learn how to do that. 

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

influence

Recommended by: John Barrows, CEO @ JBarrows Sales Training

For John Barrows, understanding psychology is a crucial lesson for any salesperson, which is why his #1 sales book is not a sales book at all. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini dives into why people do the things they do the way they do them.

This book breaks down the psychology of persuasion in seven principles that are easy to understand and apply to sales. According to John, Influence has had a significant impact on his career and is sure to change the way you see people and selling as well. 

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

crossing the chasm
Recommended by: Trish Bertuzzi, Founder & CEO @ The Bridge Group

Are you a vitamin or an aspirin? Find out in Trish Bertuzzi‘s favorite sales book, Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore. For Trish, Crossing the Chasm articulates how to plan and navigate through a growing business in a way that has never been done before. This book goes in-depth on go-to-market strategies for start-ups but keeps it simple and easy to understand.

The bottom line? Pick a niche, establish your beachhead, cross the chasm, and expand. Those who focus are those who win, and according to Trish, “Geoffrey A. Moore owns articulating that in a way that was better than anything I’ve ever read since.” 

Major Account Sales Strategy by Neil Rackham

major account sales strategy sales book

Recommended by: Anthony Iannarino, Keynote Speaker and Author
As a best-selling sales author himself, Anthony Iannarino’s book recommendation certainly carries a lot of weight. For tactical and actionable best practices, his favorite sales book is Major Account Sales Strategy by Neil Rackham.
For Anthony, this book served as the blueprint and key to success for winning large accounts early in his career. From reading Major Account Sales Strategy, he set his sights high, and his entire career took a turn as a result. If you are looking to be equipped with the knowledge to make a similar career shift toward major accounts, this is the book for you. 

Sales Manager Survival Guide by David A. Brock

sales manager survival guide sales book

Recommended by: Jeremey Donovan, SVP of Sales Strategy @ SalesLoft

From the man, the myth, the legend himself, Jeremey Donovan’s favorite sales book for sales leadership is Sales Manager Survival Guide by David A. Brock. Jeremey explains, “Sales Manager Survival Guide is the most comprehensive book on first-line sales management on the planet. It covers every strategic and tactical topic you need to know.”

From someone who has read almost every sales and leadership book out there, we would take his word on this book if we were you.

Happy Reading!

via GIPHY


If you have a passion for the art and the science of sales, are looking to further your career, or just want to hear some great, practical tips, ‘Hey Salespeople’ is the podcast for you. Subscribe so you can follow along as Jeremey interviews the brightest minds in modern sales to bring you immediately actionable advice. Listen and subscribe here.

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