Top 5 Sales Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2018

Jessica Janda
Posted by Jessica Janda on June 26, 2018


We recently published a post outlining the Top 5 Marketing Books Every Salesperson Should Read in 2018. The topics ranged from creating an agile marketing team and positioning your company as an outlier, to leveraging social media and simply writing better content. After all, it’s important for sales to understand marketing’s role in generating leads and how partnering together can help close more deals.

Turnabout’s fair play, so we thought it appropriate to challenge all you marketers out there to read at least one sales book. Honestly, there’s much to be learned when it comes to effective sales tactics and how to apply them to your marketing strategy — so much so, that we think you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. Here are some recent and classic must-reads.

1. The Sales Acceleration Formula

By Mark Roberge


Veteran salespeople will often tell you there is no formula for making a sale and that it’s an art rather than a science. The author of The Sales Acceleration Formula would beg to differ, and suggests that such a traditional mindset is possibly why “so many great ideas have gone from the startup phase straight to the graveyard.”

Author, Mark Roberge, used the strategies outlined in this book to catapult HubSpot past the $100 million mark to become the leader of inbound marketing amid a highly competitive landscape.

Why marketers should read this book: This reviewer said it best: “I've always looked at things from the marketing perspective… Seeing Inbound Marketing from a sales perspective is… obvious and on the other hand completely eye opening.”

2. Building a Story Brand — Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

By Donald Miller

Building_a_StorybrandWhen the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Amazon rank an author’s work at the top, you know the acclaim has some merit. Is it a sales book or a marketing book? Author, Donald Miller, masterfully blurs the lines in Building a Story Brand to offer a new (and effective) way to reach prospects and simply sell more.

Many sales and marketing messages of the past have focused on how a product or service will swoop in to “save the day.” Miller, however, creates a paradigm shift and positions the customer as the hero (nope, not you). And, of course, all great heroes are part of a narrative that tells their stories in compelling ways. Not a great storyteller? No worries, Miller provides you with a framework and practical techniques, plus real-life examples and, of course, stories to show you how it’s done.

Why marketers should read this book: This book challenges sales departments and marketers to go beyond the tactical to the true “heart” of the matter. One marketing agency owner put it this way: “Many business owners and marketing managers invest heavily in tactics (websites, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.), but rarely have they developed a clear and compelling message that actually worked.”

3. The Challenger Sale

By Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon

The_Challenger_SaleSales approaches and processes are evolving because of inbound lead generation and other technology influencers such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Most salespeople would agree, however, that one thing remains: building relationships is of utmost importance.

Not so, say the authors of The Challenger Sale. They challenge the conventional relationship-building approach and use data to back up their assertions. While not entirely discounting the importance of relationships, they suggest that B2B buyers want more; they want results that grow their business. This book shows how to guide customer conversations and focus on results in addition to relationships.

Why marketers should read this book: The authors emphasize the importance of aligning sales and marketing. If your marketing department has found sales alignment to be a challenge, reading a book that positions itself from a sales perspective will offer new insights.

4. SPIN Selling

By Neil Rackham

SPIN_SellingWhile there are many thought leaders sharing new perspectives on the best way to make sales, some techniques have stood the test of time. A classic sales book that is a must-read for any sales professional is SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, who goes beyond philosophical musings and shares actual sales methods and tactics to use when communicating with prospects.

SPIN is an acronym that stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need Pay-off, and the author outlines practical techniques for navigating each point. Think an older book on sales isn’t relevant in today’s digital age? This recent review might convince you otherwise: “This is the first sales book that I’ve come across that tackles sales from a fresh perspective. The last chapter on how to apply the techniques was one of the best payoff endings I’ve ever gotten from non-fiction literature.”

Why marketers should read this book: These techniques can be translated to various forms of communication, whether in person, by phone or email, or through nurturing campaigns as part of your marketing strategy.

5. To Sell is Human

By Daniel H. Pink

To_Sell_is_HumanIn To Sell is Human, Daniel H. Pink starts off by convincing readers that, no matter their job titles or professions, they are all in sales — it’s part of human nature.

The book also points out that people aren’t convinced to buy merely because of a product’s features or the quality of service they might receive. Rather, buyers are moved to make purchasing decisions when they can envision what a product or service will allow them to do. Is your company positioning itself as an empowering force that moves buyers to reach their goals, or are you mistakenly communicating your product or service as just another commodity? Not sure? Then, read this book!

Why marketers should read this book: The entire premise of the book is that we are all salespeople to some degree in that we are all driven to help solve problems. Identifying a customer’s problem or pain point is the foundation of any effective marketing strategy.

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts below, or recommend another good read to add to the list. We’d love to hear your insights.

Close the loop between marketing & sales

Topics: Inbound Sales, Marketing & Sales Alignment

click here to take the state of industrial sales and marketing survey