6 Books for Sales Managers to Help Up Your Game

Brandon Gracey
June 4, 2015

Have you heard of decision fatigue? The more decisions you make throughout the day, the harder it gets to make each one. Being in the information age with so many facts just a few mouse clicks away doesn’t help. Sales managers aiming to improve their teams’ performance have it particularly tough. Sales gurus tend to be good at selling and especially good at selling themselves. There are thousands of books on sales, and deciding exactly what route to take (let alone leading your team along it), can be a major investment of time and energy. We can’t give you energy, but we can save you time. We’ve selected some of the best books available for sales managers from sales leaders who walk the walk as well as talk the talk. They do a great job of synthesizing a world of information into something that can make sense (and money) for your team.

Books for Sales Managers

1. Cracking the Sales Management Code

by Jason Jordan A carefully designed and managed sales process. Jordan’s key premise in this book is that sales managers can’t manage results. Instead, they can build, manage, and measure the business processes that lead to the results they want. This book is a well-organized and straightforward blueprint on how to connect the dots between processes and results. Its emphasis on metrics is particularly relevant in today’s data-soaked world, where implementing data-driven systems requires more focus than ever before.

2. The Ultimate Sales Machine

by Chet Holmes A set of 12 fundamentals. Holmes distills years of experience into a set of 12 key areas where sales managers can make the most difference. He is a salesman at heart but does a good job describing how a tactical marketing program can set the stage for more, better, and easier deals to be closed by your sales team.

3. Taking Charge of Distribution Sales

by Gary Moore A set of 9 fundamentals. Moore’s set of fundamentals closely resembles Holmes’. The real value of this book, however, is seeing how the fundamentals can be applied specifically to wholesale distribution sales. Moore has years of in-the-trenches experience in wholesale sales management and includes tips and resources aimed directly at this audience. Each chapter ends with a “real world experience” case study.

4. Topgrading for Sales

by Brad Smart A results-oriented hiring strategy. This book is a more specific version of Topgrading by the same author that focuses solely on building sales teams. Topgrading is a human resources evaluation framework designed to identify the “A” candidates for a given role. It relies less on traditional methods like reading CV’s and more on a variety of practical assessment formats. Read this book and our blog post from sales expert Nancy Bleeke to lay a solid, strategic foundation for building a high-caliber sales staff.

5. Who: The “A” Method for Hiring

by Geoff Smart and Randy Street A comprehensive hiring process. Geoff Smart is Brad Smart’s son and in many ways, this book is a practical answer to the theories in his father’s book, Topgrading. It presents a hiring process called the “A Method” which consists of multiple S’s: Scorecard (make a detailed job description), Source (find candidates, usually through networking), Select (this is where Topgrading comes in), and Sell (make sure the candidate chooses your offer). This book brings the whole hiring story together into something immediately understandable and usable.

6. You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar

by David Sandler and David Mattson A consultative sales method. David Sandler’s approach to sales is that it’s a two-way street where the seller’s decisions are just as important as the buyer’s. Lead qualification is essentially a mutual decision to proceed down the path towards an eventual sale with the salesperson advising and guiding the buyer along the way. Many sales managers are familiar with Sandler’s methods but it is worth reading the new updates by David Mattson for the 21st century landscape. Sales is all about people, and every sales team looks a little different as a result. These sales gurus will not give you a magic bullet, but they will give you a head start on designing the particular system and team that will get you where you need to go.