The Sales Reading List
Finding *believable* and *useful* content is like finding a gold mine. Here is a list of books and articles that have been useful and believable for me when trying to learn about sales.
(Last updated: 2022.09.28)
As I've dived deeper into sales for both a CPG company and a SaaS company, I've had to suss through a lot of content to find stuff that was both believable and useful. Anyone who is going through the same journey will hopefully find this helpful as well.
Enteprise SaaS Sales
- How to Sell (Nabeel Qureshi)
A better way to think about it is "how not to sell but get things bought". It goes into quite a bit of detail but the crux is that "The actual “selling” process goes extremely smoothly if you’ve qualified the person correctly. Most pain is caused by people not doing this qualification process correctly, overselling or underselling their product, and then being mystified by the inevitable “no” / being ghosted by their customer. Once you’ve qualified somebody as a good fit for you, actually selling to them is remarkably easy and seems to “just happen” effortlessly." This is believable for me because I've seen these patterns play out at many different companies now.
- If SaaS Products Sell THemselves, Why Do We Need Sales? (Mark Cranney, A16Z)
Mark Cranney is a legend from a number of A16Z companies and Ben Horowitz's books. He is believeable and his post is also really useful. Again, "The true purpose of sales is to create new value for customers. Especially for a startup or growth company that’s addressing a new market or trying to solve a complex problem. That’s why enterprise/SaaS sales requires a well-developed process and guidelines... [and] even though the enterprise sales process has many steps and stages, it ultimately has to answer three questions for the customer: why buy, why you, why now." An interesting thing that Cranney also dives into is the "but they don't have a budget for X" problem when you're trying to break into new opportunities.
- I Changed My Mind About Product-Led Growth (Greg Kogan)
Product-led growth isn't neccessarily sales, but it is sales-adjacent. It's about targetting users (rather than enterprise buyers), and it works for a subset of software. Reading Greg Kogan can sometimes give the impression that enterprise-buying is entirely on the outs (which is wrong - see why with Mark Cranney's article, above), but that doesn't detract from a lot of great product-growth focused content. You can start here and work through the blog.
- The Sales Learning Curve (HBR)
Other Reading Lists
- A Land & Expand Reading List for B2B Sales (CommongCog)
This one is member-gated, but feel free to reach out to me for a PDF version. Covers a lot of fantastic books and concepts in each book, as well as how to go through them in order to understand how each concept builds upon the prior one.
Thank you for reading.
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