Recommended Resources for salespeople, management and business owners.

Sales and Selling

Even the best products in the world don’t sell themselves. Selling is a professional activity and salespeople need to be taught the tools and techniques to do the job professionally. Below is a selection of recommend books that we refer to most and that we feel are the most useful for salespeople to self-study.

 

Contemporary Selling: Contemporary Selling: Building Relationships, Creating Value

In our humble opinion this is THE ultimate sales text book.  But don’t be fooled by the phrase “text book” it really is an easy read.  In fact it is so good some university sales courses are exclusively based on it.  If you are looking to build a career in sales this really is the go-to book.  The fact that it provides a complete training course in one book suitable for either reading through front to back or dipping in to when you need a solution to a problem makes it an incredible resource for all sales professionals.

 

Sales Manager tip:  This book has everything you need to run sales training sessions for your team.

SPIN Selling

The customer-orientated perspective of the sales process is what makes this read truly outstanding. It debunks the myth that a so called “clever sales technique” can convince buyers to buy and instead it helps a salesperson to think through the stages of a sale from a customer’s perspective.  It effectively helps salespeople to understand how to create opportunities that deliver real business value to their customers.

The Challenger Sale

What we really like about this book is that it guides salespeople to become more aware of the customer’s commercial position and to work at acquiring knowledge that will be of benefit to their customer.  It exhorts becoming an expert in the customer’s business and by doing so become a provider of genuine business advantage.  In short, if the customer knows what their problem is, they can find their own solution.  It is the salesperson’s job to help the customer to identify an opportunity or problem they the customer didn’t know they had and then provide a solution.

Managing Customers Profitably

What we like about this book is the way that Ryals uses financial assessment to determine the value of customers and identify ways to increase their profitability. The book contains practical advice that salespeople or sales managers can use to assess their current customer base and identify ways in which the customer can become more valuable both in financial and relational terms.  

Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts

If you shudder when the client says “pop a proposal in the post” then this book is for you.  Writing quality sales proposals deserves recognition as a skill in itself.  It starts with questioning what a good proposal is then moves on to providing advice that can be adopted for any length of sales proposal:  from a simple email to a large tender.  What we like about this book is that it can help anyone to learn or brush up proposal writing skills. Let’s put it this way, whenever we have an important proposal to write, it comes down from the bookshelf for a quick revision session. 

Essentials of Marketing

Where does marketing end and sales start?  In our experience there is quite an overlap between the discipline’s, so we classify marketing as a skill that all sales people should have.  Essentials of Marketing delivers a good all round precis of the subject.  It treads the line between academic knowledge and real-life experience and is crammed packed full of case studies that show the facets of marketing in action.  We particularly like chapter 3 which explains buying behaviour.  While a lot of marketing text books are directed to business to consumer (b2c) buying, this chapter includes a substantial analysis of business to business buying behaviours.