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8 Books Every New Sales Manager Should Read

You were an outstanding sales rep -- and now, as a sales manager, you’re eager to cultivate the same performance from your team members.

But you quickly realize that leading a team is far different from carrying your individual quota.

Both your day-to-day and ongoing responsibilities are completely different than your previous ones. Plus, you’re calling on a brand-new set of skills, like coaching, scaling, and recruiting.

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Thousands of newly minted sales managers have been in your exact position, and many of them have written top-notch guides to thriving in this role.

We’ve rounded up the eight sales management books that every first-time manager should read. Scroll down to find your new reading list.

1) Sales Management. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg

In part one of this concise, no-B.S. read, author Mike Weinberg outlines the various ways sales managers unintentionally sabotage their team. You’ll get a crystal-clear idea of what not to do.

In part two, he shares all the information you need to create a dynamite sales machine. When you close the book, you’ll know exactly what to do at work the next day -- and the day after that, and the day after that, and so on.

2) The Accidental Sales Manager: How to Take Control and Lead Your Sales Team to Record Profits by Chris Lytle

Do you feel like you’re spending all day putting out fires, trying to rally an unmotivated team, and missing your previous job, when you only had to worry about your own quota?

If so, Lytle’s manual is a must-read. It delves into the causes, symptoms, and cure of this “sales management trap.” You’ll learn how to turn your B players into A players, recruit and hire candidates with the most potential, run more efficient meetings, and more.

3) Sales Management for Dummies by Butch Bellah

If you want to get a high-level view of what it takes to be a successful manager, Butch Bellah’s comprehensive guide is a good place to start.

Bellah, who’s been a sales trainer for the past 30 years, covers five main topics:

  1. Transitioning from individual contributor to leader
  2. Building your team
  3. Training and developing your team
  4. Running sales meetings and measuring performance
  5. Managing top performers, inspiring middle ones, and letting mediocre ones go

Not only is this book chock-full of insights you can apply immediately, there are also helpful examples taken directly from Bellah’s life.

4) Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance by Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana

You can’t lead your team to success if you don’t know what success is. This book boils down a somewhat hazy topic -- “effectively managing a sales force” -- and makes it easy to understand. More importantly, it gives you the exact metrics you should track and sales processes you should implement for your desired business results.

Yes, the data and formulas fly fast and furious. But thanks to the easy-to-read, engaging style, you won’t have any trouble finishing this one.

5) Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management: How to Build a High-Velocity Sales Organization by John Treace

Got the mission for your team down? Good, because this book is all about turning that vision into reality. Treace spends a handful of pages discussing the cultural foundation of your sales team, but he dedicates 90% of the book to what you should do in the trenches.

You’ll learn what to do when your salespeople miss their targets, how to present to your manager and other important stakeholders, how to create accurate sales forecasts, how to manage the expense budget, how to design a compensation plan, and more.

It’s practical and accessible -- and likely to be one of those books you regularly turn to for guidance or ideas.

6) Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives by Keith Rosen

In a world where sales strategies are constantly evolving, products change every day, and competition for business is at an all-time high, your ability to successfully coach reps is crucial. After all, it only takes 30 days for them to forget 87% of what they learned in training.

To make your training stick through ongoing coaching, follow the strategies laid out in Rosen’s book. It includes case studies, a month-long improvement plan for underperformers, coaching templates and scripts, and hundreds of coaching questions for every situation you’ll encounter. Having a step-by-step playbook like this one in hand will instantly make you feel more confident and in-control.

7) The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million by Mark Roberge

Here’s the thing about intuition: More often than not, it’s wrong. If you want to build the next $100 million business -- or simply a formidable sales team -- you can’t rely purely on your gut.

In this book, HubSpot CRO and Harvard Business School senior lecturer Mark Roberge shares his sales playbook. You’ll find the answers to hiring successful sales reps every time, training every salesperson the same way, holding them accountable to one sales process, and providing them with the same quality and quantity of leads every month.

People used to think sales was an art, not an science. However, Roberge’s predictable, scalable formula proves that’s no longer true.

8) Sales Manager Survival Guide: Lessons From Sales' Front Lines by David Brock

Your first couple months as a sales manager can feel overwhelming and isolating. Enter David Brock’s book.

Its first section provides new sales managers with a concrete, detailed 30-60-90 day plan, so you’ll always know what you should be doing, how much progress you should be making, and what you need to accomplish next.

Once you’ve settled in, you’ll find the rest of this “field guide” invaluable. Brock admits that he learned almost all of the lessons in the book the hard way -- but by reading his book, you won’t have to.

Use these resources to cut your learning curve dramatically. In time, you’ll be just as good a leader as you were an individual team member -- hopefully even better.

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