When you chose to enter the career field of sales and marketing you may not have known it at the time, but you also signed up to be a life-long learner. Keeping up with industry trends, new ideas, and best practices requires practitioners to have a wide scope of interests including technology, psychology, art, analytics, social science and more.
Fortunately for us, every year there are scores of brilliant minds adding to this ever-expanding body of knowledge in the form of new books detailing great ideas, and breakthrough research that will help you be more effective and proficient within your company.
For 2018, we’ve curated a short list of five essential books for sales and marketing leaders and CEOs who want to up their game from thought leaders like Daniel Pink, Robert Cialdini, and Donald Miller. Most of these titles have been published in the past few years and all will provide you with insights, and ideas you can quickly inculcate into your firms. With five books to read, that’s only one every few months.
5 Essential Sales & Marketing Books in 2018
1. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert Cialdini
You may know social psychologist Robert Cialdini from his nationwide bestseller “Influence,” which delved into the art of applying persuasion in marketing programs and campaigns. In his new book Pre-Suasion, he turns the concept of persuasion on its head by claiming there is a “Privileged moment for change that prepares prospects to be open to a message before they experience it.” This book has insights that will help both marketers and sales professionals in crafting messages and campaigns that will help move prospects to action.
Mr. Cialdini uses numerous business cases and original research to support his ideas in this compelling book.
2. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, by Donald Miller
Today, you often hear the aphorism that marketers are storytellers. That’s the main idea behind this recent bestseller by Donald Miller, who is also the CEO of his company, Story Brand. In his book, Mr. Miller teaches you what he calls his “Seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message, so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.”
Read this, and you’ll come away with excellent insights on how to create memorable messages and colorful stories that will distinguish your company’s services and products from a legion of others.
3. Sales Management. Simplified: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team, by Mike Weinberg
Consultant Mike Weinberg insists that the performance struggles many companies have with their sales teams can be blamed on sales management. He says, “Through their attitude and actions, senior executives and sales managers unknowingly undermine performance.” In this practical book, Mr. Weinberg offers the reader a prescriptive approach to improving your company’s sales organization.
Filled with rich case studies that shine a light on typical sales problems and challenges, Sales Management. Simplified. will resonate with all senior leaders.
4. They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer, by Marcus Sheridan
For companies that have embraced content marketing tactics as a component of their overall marketing initiatives, Marcus Sheridan’s 2017 book “They Ask You Answer” is a must read. Mr. Sheridan is known in the inbound sales and marketing industry for rescuing his pool company from near ruin during the 2008 recession by mounting a sustained blogging (content marketing) campaign that addressed and answered reader questions regarding swimming pools.
Mr. Sheridan's “book shows you how to structure an effective content strategy using the same proven principles that have revolutionized marketing for all types of businesses, across industries.”
5. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
Author Daniel Pink has written six books—many bestsellers—most dealing with motivation, decision making, psychology and the social sciences. While older than most other books on our list, “Drive,” nonetheless, should be a required textbook for all sales and marketing professionals.
Backed by compelling research, Mr. Pink shares how you can shape convincing narratives and stories for customers and prospects by knowing what motivates people. He asserts there are three elements that “drive” us—autonomy, mastery and purpose.
If you’re reading this article, the chances are good that you’re a life-long learner motivated by an unquenchable curiosity for what’s around the next corner.
If yes, maybe it’s time you joined a group of professionals who share your passion: a Vistage peer advisory group. Consider attending a no-obligation meeting with local business leaders and executives.