Sales is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t have the right resources.
But, it doesn’t have to be. From setting up your sales processes to closing enterprise deals, this list of the best sales reads is bound to help you improve your approach to sales in 2018.
Listed in no particular order, here are 23 curated resources you can cozy up with, this December. Go on—don’t just barrel through though!
If you’d like to follow all 23 resources in a go, this Twitter list may come in handy!
1. Sales Hacker
Sales Hacker consistently features B2B sales tips, tactics, strategies and technology from industry and in-house experts.
Top takeaway: “Consider Marketing as part of the Sales organization aiming for the same shared goal. Maintain full transparency and constant communication to synchronize your respective processes. Implement a shared metrics system to gauge success or produce insight.”
Winning By Design develops customer-centric content to design, build, and scale sales for fast-growing companies. They often write about account-based sales and marketing, customer retention, and SaaS sales processes.
Top takeaway: “The beauty of acquiring SQLs through sales reps is that it’s a super measurable and manageable driver of growth. You can look at the activity metrics in terms of outbound emails, phone calls, and social touches that each of your reps are having.”
The Inside Sales Experts blog regularly features extensive content on calling leads, outbound prospecting, and adopting new technologies from Trish Bertuzzi, Lauri Page, and Sally Duby among others.
Top pick: Bridging the SDR-to-AE Promotion Gap
Top takeaway: “Successful SDR-to-AE transitions are crucial to making the sales development economics work. Unless you’re selling a high-ticket solution into the enterprise, I’ve found it’s hard to justify the existence of an SDR organization financially. But, when you factor in potential savings on AE recruitment plus productivity gains from successful promotions, the equation flips to positive.”
SalesGravy focuses heavily on prospecting through email, cold-calling, and social selling. If you’re looking to grow your top line, this is your go-to resource.
Top pick: Increase Your Sales in Just 15 Minutes
Top takeaway: “Write down your desired outcome for the call. Now write down the desired outcome you believe your prospects have. Are they the same? Of course, you need to have an outcome that matters to you, but you won’t get it unless you focus on what matters most to the prospect.”
At SalesFolk, they write a lot of emails. Be it choosing subject lines or setting up sales campaigns, SalesFolk has you covered on the best-practices.
Top takeaway: “Make sure you’re selling your product to people who are open to buying it. Build your campaigns around real sales conversations and apply the knowledge you’ve gained from past closed deals.”
How-to tips on cold-calling and inside sales to prospect painlessly and sell more.
Top takeaway: “Notice, and bring up similarities. It overflows onto the purchase experience—even though, rationally, it really shouldn’t.”
Sandler Training covers topics like customer relationships, management and leadership, professional development, prospecting and qualifying, sales process et al. in depth.
Top takeaway: “Set the expectation that every time you meet with your client (or prospect), you’re going to ask who they know that you can be put in contact with.”
8. Jeff Shore
Top takeaway: “Think about how most professionals do business. They use BAMFAM. They don’t let you leave the office without booking another appointment. Their goal is to go from meeting, to meeting, to meeting. That must be your goal as well.”
9. Sales Source
Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author and a professional speaker whose award-winning blog, Sales Source, appears daily on Inc.com. He writes about a range of topics including productivity, sales, and marketing.
Top takeaway: “A brilliant sales process has the seller and buyer agree upon the most likely milestone for each step in the customer’s buying process. If an opportunity stalls, salespeople immediately know when and why.”
Jill Konrath is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts.
Top pick: 17 Essential Sales Assumptions
Top takeaway: “Assume buyers won’t remember anything. After a phone or in-person conversation, follow up with a summary of key points and next steps. Take the burden off of them.”
11. OpenView Labs
OpenView provides original research and insights on a range of topics spanning sales, marketing, customer success, finance, leadership, product development, and HR.
Top takeaway: “I like promoting from within, but I also like adding people from the outside. I feel like a 70:30 mix is good. Promoting from within creates a culture of ambition and meritocracy while hiring from outside helps expand your culture.”
SBI consultants are former leaders of top-producing sales and marketing teams who have direct experience building and executing marketing, sales, and pricing strategies.
Top takeaway: “While value-based strategies typically result in higher margins than cost-plus, this is not what defines them. What defines them is that the price is set based on the willingness-to-pay of the customer.”
This blog by John Barrows is a repertoire of techniques and reinforcement tools to help drive adoption and influence buyer behavior.
Top takeaway: “Instead of making 50 dials a day with a generic elevator pitch, come up with two different messages to the same “persona” and call 25 of them using one approach and 25 using another. Even if you have trouble setting qualified meetings, you still had a good day by identifying two approaches that don’t work.”
Formed by a group of veteran entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers, Ambition serves content relevant to sales leaders and founders.
Top takeaway: “Consider who your buyer is. While products and services are usually designed for an end-user, in an enterprise sale, the user may not be the actual buyer. Depending on the nature of your solution and go-to-market strategy, you may be selling to a C-level executive, an entry-level employee, or someone in between.”
15. Factor 8
Factor 8 is a treasure trove of resources on inside sales written by experts with over ten years of experience in inside sales and leading sales, service, and product management teams.
Top takeaway: “Create a “list” of the emotional experiences you want your buyer to “travel through” over the course of a call. Once you have this “call journey” outlined, reverse-engineer the call flow in a way that triggers that customer emotional experience you’ve just designed.”
16. Lee Bartlett
With extensive experience selling to the financial sector and C-Suite executives, Lee has built multinational sales teams, and been co-founder and CEO of a tech startup. On his blog, he shares his personal sales methodology and experiences along with the mindset, strategies, and processes of top salespeople.
Top takeaway: “It’s far more powerful to smash your target consistently and remain humble. If you aren’t likeable you aren’t getting promoted.”
Grant is the author of seven sales and business books, including New York Times bestseller If You’re Not First, You’re Last. His blog is a collection of viewpoints on leadership, the economy, small business, and retail sales.
Top pick: How to Prospect to Dominate Your Market
Top takeaway: “Prospecting is important because if people don’t know who you are, it doesn’t matter what your price is, how good your product is, or how good your service is—none of it matters if people aren’t thinking about you.”
18. Sales for Life
Sales for Life is a dedicated resource to acquire digital selling skills, accelerate pipeline, and boost sales. Their blog consistently speaks about strategies to increase speed-to-revenue and eliminate the confusion on how to become a successful digital seller.
Top takeaway: “You want to rethink how you engage your buyers by first creating a storyboard to determine what story (messaging) you want to tell, length (how many touchpoints) of the story, and how (channel) you want to frame each shot.”
Run by Jeff Hoffman, Your SalesMBA™ Blog is an in-depth collection of content on prospecting, emails, cold-calling, and sales management.
Top takeaway: “If reps want their prospects to take action, they should orient everything around what their prospects want. Rather than saying, “I’d like to show you how X works,” they might say, “X will help you accomplish Y results. Do you want to see how it works?”.”
20. Datanyze Blog
Datanyze offers insights and tactics on sales and marketing and how technology impacts the two. Their blog is handy if you’re looking for tips to automate some of your sales or marketing processes.
Top takeaway: “It’s fine to ask for feedback on what’s been discussed, but make sure you also provide a new idea or suggestion, include a white paper relevant to what was most important to them, share more detail on your research, or add value in some other way.”
No More Cold Calling’s founder, Joanne Black, developed a system based on the premise that building relationships and getting referrals generate sales faster and more cost-effectively than cold-calling. Their sales articles reflect this emphasis on account based selling and referral selling.
Top takeaway: “Account based selling is a sophisticated and complex process that requires salespeople who know their customers, understand buyers’ industries and challenges, and offer insights based on experience. That’s something AI can’t do.”
Top takeaway: “Ask your prospect, “If you were able to solve these challenges, what would it mean in additional profit, cost savings, or additional revenue?”. With this question, you are now creating value in the sales process.”
As President and Founder of People First Productivity Solutions (and the Connect2Sell blog), Deb helps companies boost productivity through people development. She offers unique insights on sales productivity, outreach, and sales leadership.
Top pick: 12 Surefire Ways to Connect with Buyers
Top takeaway: “To gain and maintain the trust of buyers, sellers must act in a trustworthy manner at all times. Trust is so fragile that a 90% rate of being trustworthy simply isn’t good enough. The buyer will remember the one out of 10 times you did not deliver in a trustworthy way.”