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10 sales management books every sales leader should read

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Author photo: Kent Holland

Kent Holland

Vice President of Sales at Copper

There are a ton of ways top sales leaders differ from just average plain average managers.

Whatever the reasons are for move into a sales managementrole, one thing is for sure—things are about to change. Making the step up into a management role comes with its own unique challenges.

Maybe you made a killing as a rep last year, and now your company wants you to take control of a team rather than just your own targets.

Or maybe you’ve just shown a crazy amount of initiative and drive.

You’re going to have to learn (fast) how to manage a team, juggle sales targets, and motivate your reps to get them to achieve what you want them to.

Here are 10 killer sales management books you need to read to make the change as smooth as possible.

1. Sales Management. Simplified. The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team

By Mike Weinberg

Who’s the author?

Mike Weinberg is the founder of consultancy firm, The New Sales Coach, which specializes in sales management.

What it's all about

Weinberg has made a living out of stepping in and helping companies that are struggling to manage their sales teams.

This read doesn’t focus on your sales team. It focuses on how it’s being led. As a sales manager, you need to know that your attitude and actions can undermine your entire team’s performance. And that’s where Sales Management. Simplified can help.

The book is based around a sales leadership framework you can use to forge a healthy sales culture in your office that pushes for high-performance.

It’ll teach you how to do some of the niggly parts of sales management; offer the right compensation plans, have productive sales meetings, and give your reps achievable targets.

From the book itself…

“If you're searching for the answer to why your sales force misses the mark, the answer may surprise you. More often than not, the issue doesn't lie with the sales team, but with how it's being led.”

Good for…

Learning how to manage your sales team from the ground up through a framework.

What the reviewers say

“A clear guide which cuts through the fog and allows you to focus on what matters when managing a sales team. As someone transitioning from sales to sales management, the book has been immensely helpful and given me clarity about the actions and behaviors which drive results and create a healthy sales culture.”

2. Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management: How to Build a High Velocity Sales Organization

By John Treace

Who’s the author?

John Treace has worked in the sales and marketing space for 30 years and now owns sales and marketing consulting firm JR Treace & Associates.

What it's all about

As a sales manager, do you ever feel like you’ve been thrown into the battle trenches?

That’s because you have. But the good news is, Treacle has battled in the trenches himself, which makes Nuts & Bolts a great read. The book focuses on the unpredictable, chaotic nature of the sales world, and how to navigate it.

Treacle’s book centers on finding some stability within that chaos. You’ll learn how to ensure predictable sales performance, balance team morale, and how to get some sleep before the end of your sales quarter.

It’s not just for VPs or sales managers either. This one is written for anyone who wants to advance their career and move into management. Or, to just get a better idea of what’s going on inside the saleroom.

From the book itself…

“Employees are drawn to core values when they are explained in a personal way, and explaining them this way will make employees more inclined to believe they are working for a good company, one that has a heart.”

Good for…

Hashing out finer details of sales management like team morale and performance.

What the reviewers say

“Most sales leaders were great salespeople who were tossed into the world of sales management. No one ever taught them the intricacies of the role...until now. John Treace provides a step-by-step guide for sales leaders to help them build a process-driven sales organization that will perform at peak levels.”

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3. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

By Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson

Who’s the author?

Matthew Dixon is the managing director and Brent Adamson the senior director of the Sales Executive Council in Washington, D.C.

What it's all about

Let’s talk about customer relationships. They’re super important, and if you want to be a top sales managers, you need to be doing more than just building customer relationships. You need to be challenging them.

What’s unique about this book is that it’s study-based. It’s written using data from thousands of sales reps across a bunch of industries and geographical locations.

It’s this data that allows the book to hone in on the attitudes, skills, behaviors, and knowledge that high-performing sales managers encompass.

During the study, Dixon & Adamson found every person in sales falls into one of five distinct profiles, but only one of them consistently outperformed the rest—the “challenger” profile. This profile is where the salesperson approached their prospect with a unique insight on how they could save or make money.

From the book itself…

“The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force.”

Good for…

Learning how to shake up negotiations with clients so you can pass the skills onto your sales team.

What the reviewers say

“One of the surprising insights generated by their research was that the Sales Experience accounted for 53% of the contribution to customer loyalty, more than company and brand impact, product and service delivery, and value-to-price ratio combined! In other words, the latter three are just tickets to be able to play; how you sell is more important than what you sell.”

4. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

By Daniel H. Pink

Who’s the author?

Daniel H. Pink is a sales and marketing author, and his books have reached New York Times bestseller status.

What it's all about

How’s this for a statistic: Pink claims one in nine Americans works in sales, but in some ways, so do the other eight. He thinks everybody works in sales, because employees are constantly pitching colleagues on new ideas, entrepreneurs are always looking to secure their next investment, and so on.

To Sell Is Human focuses on the art and science of selling that you can use in every aspect of your sales management job. Pink breaks it down into digestible pieces:

  • Improving your elevator pitch,
  • Understanding your prospect’s perspective,
  • Making your sales message more persuasive.

From the book itself…

“This is a book about sales. But it is unlike any book about sales you have read (or ignored) before. That’s because selling in all its dimensions—whether pushing Buicks on a car lot or pitching ideas in a meeting—has changed more in the last ten years than it did over the previous hundred.”

Good for…

Sharpening your management skills so you can make the most out of them, whether you’re in the meeting room or the elevator.

What the reviewers say

“It used to be that 1 out of 9 people was in sales. These days, Dan Pink argues, the other 8 are also in sales. Obviously, he's using a much wider definition of "sales" here. His argument is that we're all trying to convince people of things or ideas all the time. So while we don't exactly expect to get money in return, we still want to influence others to change their habits or their life in one way or another.”

5. Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives

By Keith Rosen

Who’s the author?

Keith Rosen is the founder of sales training and coaching academy, Profit Builders.

What it's all about

The word is out. To get a better-performing sales team, you don’t need more training—you need better coaching.

Rosen says when managers effectively coach their sales team around their competencies in their role and alongside best practices, it makes the training stick. The book is based on Rosen’s L.E.A.D.S. Coaching Framework, which promises to get your sales team performing better, faster.

Coaching Salespeople covers a lot of bases including boosting sales, how to achieve a long-term ROI from coaching, and how to retain your top performers.

From the book itself…

“The ultimate problem with management inefficiency and failure is that the leadership principles taught today are just that, principles, devoid of specific measurable actions. Most leadership training programs concentrate on ideology rather than on developing a core competency or skill.“

Good for…

Training and nurturing killer sales reps inside your own walls.

What the reviewers say

“Simply excellent. Robust. Practical. A must-read for anyone who leads, manages, trains or develops a sales force. Also, a must-read for anyone who coaches people as so much of what is written is transferable beyond sales. This book does a great job of focusing all the things that are important in coaching - asking questions, listening, coaching the process, accountability, motivation, trust, authenticity, etc.”

6. Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance

By Jason Jordan & Michelle Vazzana

Who are the authors?

Jason Jordan is a partner of sales management training firm Vantage Point Performance, and Michelle Vazzana is the CEO.

What it's all about

As a sales manager, do you want greater control over your team’s sales performance? First, you need to crack the sales management code.

Cracking the Sales Management Code is based on new research about how top-performing sales managers control their reps.

It gives a clear guide on how to mold your own reps into top performers and focuses on training your reps to get the big wins: key metrics and sales activities that will really drive results in your business and impact your bottom line.

The authors stress that this book isn’t about leadership or coaching—it’s about how to effectively manage a sales force. What’s the difference? You’ll just have to read it to find out.

From the book itself…

“Salespeople aren’t typically taught management skills, and superstar sellers are legendary for avoiding structure and formality.”

Good for…

Learning how to manage your sales force through metrics, key activities, and control.

What the reviewers say

“I recently moved into sales management and I found this book extremely helpful because it enabled me to get a good system for how to manage sales and how to categorize sales metrics. When I shared what I'd learned from this book with experienced veterans, they too found the information helpful, which leads me to believe this book is helpful no matter how much you do or don't know.”

7. The Accidental Sales Manager: How to Take Control and Lead Your Sales Team to Record Profits

By Chris Lytle

Who’s the author?

Chris Lytle has trained Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in the technical and financial field.

What it's all about

Have you found yourself in a sales management position by surprise? Maybe you smashed your targets last year, and your company decided to promote you.

It’s a scary time, but acquiring the right skill set can help you thrive as a sales manager—and pass on your knowledge to your sales reps, too.

The best sales managers come from a background of celebrated sales records.

The good news is, you’ve been in their position, so you know what you can expect from your reps. The bad news? You’ll probably get stuck doing your old sales job while trying to juggle your new manager role.

The Accidental Sales Manager can teach you how to avoid this trap, and excel as a sales manager. You’ll be given tactics to stop wasting time and shown how to take actions to boost your teams skill sets and smash your sales targets. There’s also a killer section on how to integrate learning into leading.

From the book itself…

“You outsold your colleagues and put your company ahead of the competition, so you've just been rewarded with a big promotion to sales manager. Congratulations! Now for the rub: You've gone from being an expert salesperson to an incompetent manager—and on top of that, you may be stuck doing your old sales job while you transition to your role as sales manager.”

Good for…

Bringing you up to speed as a sales manager and helping you to forget your previous life as a sales rep.

What the reviewers say

“Most companies does not have an effective training for new Sales Managers. This book can help you save time in your new role, giving you easy tools to use with your team for better performance. In each page, you already imagine how you can implement in your daily and busy life.”

8. Sales Manager Survival Guide: Lessons From Sales' Front Lines

By David A. Brock

Who’s the author?

David Brock is a consultant and author who founded the media watchdog group Media Matters for America.

What it's all about

Sales management is a juggling act. Not only are you expected to be constantly coaching, training and building your sales team up, but you’ve also got to control pipelines, processes, and revenue.

Brock’s book has one goal—to help you survive in your role as a sales manager.

Whether you’re struggling to juggle metrics performance, shifts in the marketplace or leveraging sales systems, Brock says there’s a way to overcome every challenge you come up against.

From the book itself…

“As a sales manager, your success will be based on your ability to get each person on your team to perform to their fullest potential. If you can’t get each of them to be successful, then there is no way you can be successful.”

Good for…

Figuring out how to navigate and dominate every element of sales management, from metrics to meetings.

What the reviewers say

“While many of us learned our craft the hard way down in the trenches, making many mistakes along the way, it would have been so much easier if we had an expert to consult with at the time. Frankly, we still make mistakes and can always do things better.”

9. 52 Sales Management Tips: The Sales Manager’s Success Guide

By Steven Rosen

Who’s the author?

Steven Rosen is a top sales management consultant who also runs the sales website StarResults.

What it's all about

If you aren’t looking to overhaul your entire sales management strategy, but need a few tips, this is the book for you. This one was written for sales managers who struggle within a corporate environment.

Chances are in your sales management role, you’re dealing with increased demands from your higher ups. They’re asking you to do more with less, and still expecting you to drive sales performance and boost the company’s bottom line. And you? Well, you’re one of many sales managers on the front line who are looking to improve their performance.

52 Sales Management Tips takes Rosen’s 20 years of sales management experience and condenses it into a simple reference guide. Think of it as your sales management bible.

From the book itself…

"Sales managers are the key to driving sales performance. Yet many sales managers are not well trained or coached on how to become a more effective manager. Sales executives are not investing sufficient funds in the right way to help their sales managers up their game. As a result, sales suffer."

Good for…

Getting digestible tips on how to improve your sales management performance without having to read an entire encyclopedia.

What the reviewers say

“In the digital age, we crave a quick hit of knowledge that's relevant to a current problem. There is something to be said for a book that distills 20 years of sales management experience into 52 bite-sized chunks.“

10. Race to Amazing: Your Fast Track to Sales Leadership

By Krista Moore

Who’s the author?

Krista S. Moore is the founder of sales leadership coaching firm, K.Coaching, Inc. Her client list includes startups and Fortune 500 companies.

What it's all about

A lot of the time, reps who are promoted into management roles are done so prematurely. This book will get you up to speed in your role, fast. (Because it’s a race and all…)

Instead of offering you a bunch of tactics, Race to Amazing shares experiences and stories from other sales managers who’ve battled it out in the trenches.

It gives practical advice on how to gain some clarity into your talents and how you can use them to be a better sales manager. The book also covers how to build a winning sales strategy from the ground up, and what you need to be doing as a manager to create a motivating and inspiring workspace.

This one is all about finding some inner positivity in your sales management role that will trickle through your team to your colleagues and benefit the company as a whole.

From the book itself…

“I once heard that when we think we have it all figured out when we think we know all we need to know about our product, industry, business, an area of expertise, or leadership, that’s when we regress. That’s when we grow stagnant, lose focus, and become bored, complacent, and unproductive.”

Good for…

Overcoming the fear of being promoted to a management role prematurely.

What the reviewers say

“Improving the relationship between managers and employees is the first thing that will pop up in your mind by reading the first chapter. no matter if you're the owner or the manager of a small business or already running a company, generating $18 M in revenue, you need to identify those set-backs by asking questions, set priorities or reviewing your business culture in order to grow more revenue.”

Overcome the challenge of your role with sales management books.

Whether you’ve been working hard for a sales management role for years, or you’ve found yourself with a promotion after smashing your targets as a rep, your new job role doesn’t have to be daunting.

Managing a team comes with a whole new set of challenges. The good news is, there’s a ton of help out there, including these books, that can support you in becoming a kick-ass sales manager.

Hungry for more tips? Check out The Definitive Guide to Sales Management.

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