As you browse the shelves at your local Barnes and Noble (or the digital shelves of your Kindle), it can be hard to decide which sales management books you should pick up for your summer beach vacation. Each of them, with their shiny jackets and similar-sounding names, looks just like its neighbor. Fortunately, we have done the hard work for you and selected our official list of the 12 Best Sales Management Books EVER Written! Whether you were a sales rep who was recently promoted to a managerial role last week, or a grizzled old veteran looking to sharpen the managerial tools in his arsenal, we have just the book for you in this list below (with links in each title to purchase the book on Amazon.com).
1. Cracking the Sales Management Code – Jason Jordan
Quite simply, this is the data-driven sales manager’s bible. Beyond organizational leadership or individual coaching, this book is an operating manual for how to effectively manage a sales force. Jordan shows you why focusing on Results and Sales Objectives is completely wrong. Surprised? Well, yes, you should be! So read this book. He then identifies the key sales performance metrics that all managers should focus on and the fundamental sales processes that will drive sales success. It’s eye opening and critical to read and follow.
2. 52 Sales Management Tips: The Sales Manager’s Success Guide – Steven Rosen
Over a 20-year career in sales management and sales coaching, Steven Rosen collected the lessons he learned and the insights he gained into a handy reference guide for sales managers to reinforce their managerial best practices. Sales managers looking to develop their skills should not miss this very easy read with one tip after another.
3. Building a Winning Sales Management Team: The Force Behind the Sales Force – Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, Sally E. Lorimer
This book, like most books from Andris Zoltners and his team from ZS Associates is both academically and scientifically precise but also incredibly useful in the hands of a practitioner. A key part of sales management is constructing an effective team that will execute your tactics and vision while challenging and bringing out the best in you and each other. Sales managers looking to build a successful team from the ground up should check out this book for learning about “sales effectiveness drivers” and its tips on how to nurture successful first-line sales managers and improve sales force productivity.
Many sales managers focus heavily on their vision and the strategy needed to execute this vision. Unfortunately, not enough attention is paid to tactics in the trenches. Hands-on sales managers looking to get their hands dirty can look for practical answers to their daily problems – such as improving morale or identifying key sales performance metrics – in this book.
5. What your CEO Needs to Know about Sales Compensation: Connecting the Corner Office to the Front Line – Mark Donnolo
With how competitive the sales industry has gotten in recent years, it is imperative that sales managers properly compensate and incentivize their sales reps in order to retain the best ones. Mark Donnolo’s book highlights the tough questions sales leaders need to ask themselves about effective compensation plans and how incentives drive the business.
6. Sales Force Design for Strategic Advantage – Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, Sally E. Lorimer
This is another sales management gem from Andris Zoltners and his team of experts. Is your sales team properly aligned to your marketing team and the rest of the company? Does the structure of your sales force optimize efficiency for everyone? Are you tracking the right metrics, and leveraging the actionable insights from them in the most effective way? This book asks these tough questions and answers them to guide the best design for your sales force.
7. ProActive Sales Management: How to Lead, Motivate and Stay Ahead of the Game – William “Skip” Miller
The most common mistake made by sales managers is to fall back into old sales rep habits – there is a world of difference between the two roles. William “Skip” Miller’s book is chock-full of field-tested sales management techniques that help sales managers stay one step ahead of the competitive sales environment.
8. The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance – Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, Greggor A. Zoltners
This is the third book I want to recommend from Andris Zoltners on this list. I am just a huge fan of the way they blend a textbook approach with practical advice. Improving the performances of a diverse sales force is no easy sales management feat. This book lives up to its name by acting as a complete guide for sales managers, providing best practices on goal setting, sales force structure, implementing the right culture and overall improving the productivity of your sales force.
9. The Sales Leaders Playbook – Nathan Jamail
The title of this book says it all. Just as sports coaches need playbooks, so do sales managers, coaches and leaders. Nathan Jamail has compiled a series of techniques and best practices, from higher-level strategy to down-in-the-trenches tactics, to help drive a sales leader to better execute his successful sales vision. This is a very practical manual that is a really easy read. You can finish it in just a few hours but you’ll take lessons learned and useful nuggets with you that you can apply forever.
10. The Accidental Sales Manager – Chris Lytle
This is one of my favorite books for new sales managers. Just as the name of this book suggests, many sales managers started off as high-performing sales reps before stumbling into a new managerial role. Yet, few companies find the need to train reps to become managers, wrongly believing that the same skills will translate. Chris Lytle disagrees, addressing the “sales management trap” and solving the issues that accidental sales managers struggle with. It’s full of tips and ideas that every new sales manager will benefit from and will appreciate.
11. Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance – Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, Sally E. Lorimer
Yes, this is a 3rd time I am recommending a book from this trio – I am just a huge fan of the way they blend a scientifically researched textbook approach with practical advice. In this book, the authors combine strategic insight with pragmatic advice on how sales leaders can hire and retain the best salespeople, motivate them, teach them the necessary skills and put them in the best position to succeed.
12. Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives – Keith Rosen
Sales management is sales coaching. A sales manager’s greatest responsibility is turning his team of sales reps into a team of undisputed sales champions, necessitating a heavy and effective dose of sales coaching. The proven framework outlined in this book has been endorsed by such top sales organizations like Microsoft and Oracle, as well as thought leaders such as Jill Konrath and Zig Ziglar. Keith has also done a webinar with Salesforce.com helping thousands of sales managers learn tips on coaching their sale reps to become champions.
Do you have any other sales management favorites on your book shelf? Share them in the comments section below!