marketing books

21 Best Books for Marketing and Sales Professionals

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If you’re looking to up your marketing and sales skills, it’s time to start. I have pulled together this list of best marketing and sales books to read for you.

These are the best books for marketers, sales and other business professionals. And this list of best sales and marketing books offers a range of perspectives and practical tips to improve your skills.

Table of Contents

Contagious, by Jonah Berger

Contagious is a book about how content impacts people. Jonah has discussed the power of word of mouth in the digital age. The book explains how it works and the different ways to use it. It’s a brilliant guide to building word of mouth and creating viral content. Contagious is an essential book for anyone looking to create buzz for a product or brand.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.

Making things more observable makes them easier to imitate, which makes them more likely to become popular.

Virality isn’t born, it’s made.

Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.

People don't need to be paid to be motivated.

Also Read: 7 Best Books for Product Managers

Influence, by Robert Cialdini

Influence is a seminal book on the psychology of persuasion. In this book, Robert has defined persuasion and the psychology behind it. He has talked about how to influence people and how to motivate others to get their work done. It’s one of the best books for sales professionals and marketers alike. It explains the various tactics to drive human behaviour. A must-read for anyone in sales or marketing.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

When we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed.

We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.

There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news.

Often, we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.

Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Made to Stick is a book about persuasion and communication. It’s another of the top books to read for sales professionals to understand basic human psychology. It’s an exploration of the anatomy of ideas that stick and that fade away. The authors have studied human behaviour and psychology. And they have covered everything about the ways to create messages that are memorable and impactful. A must-read for anyone in marketing and advertising.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern.

Anger prepares us to fight and fear prepares us to flee.

To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from "What information do I need to convey?" to "What questions do I want my audience to ask?”

The first problem of communication is getting people's attention.”

The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it's like to LACK that knowledge.

Also Read: 14 Best Books for Communication Skills

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic book on personal development and interpersonal communication. It’s the best book to help build relationships and get people to see things your way. Dale has provided with timeless advice on how to build relationships and win people over.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.

Don't be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

When dealing with people, remember you are dealing with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

Also Read: 12 Best Books for Personality Development

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm is a guide to bridging the gap between early adopters and the mainstream market, based on the technology adoption life cycle. It’s a book for marketers and salespeople and anyone launching a new product or technology. Geoffrey has shown how companies can cross the “chasm” and achieve their disruptive marketing and sales objectives.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

The number-one corporate objective, when crossing the chasm, is to secure a distribution channel into the mainstream market, one with which the pragmatist customer will be comfortable.

Pragmatists are more interested in the market’s response to a product than in the product itself.

There is something fundamentally different between a sale to an early adopter and a sale to the early majority.

Chasm crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.

When pragmatists buy, they care about the company they are buying from, the quality of the product they are buying, the infrastructure of supporting products and system interfaces, and the reliability of the service they are going to get.

The Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon

The Challenger Sale is an essential guide to sales, based on a study of high-performing sales reps. It’s a book for the sales people that challenges prospects to rethink their business and approach. It’s one of the best B2B sales books that goes into the changing nature of B2B sales and provides a framework for success in the new selling environment.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

What sets the best suppliers apart is not the quality of their products, but the value of their insight—new ideas to help customers either make money or save money in ways they didn’t even know were possible.

53 percent of B2B customer loyalty is a product of how you sell, not what you sell.

Just as you can’t be an effective teacher if you’re not going to push your students, you can’t be an effective Challenger if you’re not going to push your customers.

“What’s currently costing our customers more money than they realize, that only we can help them fix?” The answer to that question is the heart and soul of your Commercial Teaching pitch.

What if customers truly don’t know what they need? What if customers’ single greatest need – ironically – is to figure out exactly what they need?

The Challenger Customer, by Brent Adamson

The Challenger Customer is for salespeople to handle complex B2B sales. It’s another of the best books for sales and marketing people to read. It gets into finding the hidden influencer who drives change and innovation within their organizations. The book gives insights into the buying habits of complex customers and provides strategies for selling to them. It contains a wealth of data and insights for understanding customers and their needs better.

Top Lesson from the book:

Excessive collaboration adds time (but not value) to the process.

The Art of SEO, by Eric Enge

The Art of SEO is a guide to mastering Search Engine Optimization. It’s the best book on marketing to understand website content management. Eric has discussed various SEO-related techniques like content creation, on-site optimization, link building and others. He has shared valuable information and best practices to teach how to drive organic traffic to a website or blog.

Top 3 Lessons from the book:

Users tend to use shorter search phrases, but these are gradually getting longer, especially for non-navigational queries.

Having a business’s website content appear prominently in the search engines when people are looking for the service, product, or resource that business provides is critical to its survival.

Good marketers are empathetic.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit is a guide to understanding the psychology of habit formation. His book explains how habits work and how they can be used better for personal and organizational change. It’s among the best reads for marketing and sales executives to understand how to harness habits to drive behaviour change.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.

The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.

Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.

Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.

To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.

The Sales Bible, by Jeffrey Gitomer

The Sales Bible gives you actionable tools to close the deals. It’s among the best books on sales to highlight the core techniques in sales and offer tips to put them into action. It’s a comprehensive guide to sales, covering everything from prospecting to closing deals. Whether you sell a product or service, this book is an all-round guide for successful selling.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Rules are in every company for everyone to follow. Eh, except salespeople.

The referral is the easiest prospect in the world to sell. Ask any professional who hates selling – they'll tell you that 100% of their new business comes from referrals.

Questions are to sales as breath is to life. If you fail to ask them, you will die. If you ask them incorrectly, your death won't be immediate, but it's inevitable.

On a cold call: Be brief. You must generate interest in about 30 seconds or less, or forget it.

Sales solutions are easy once you identify the prospect's problems, concerns, and needs...with questions.

The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes

The Ultimate Sales Machine is a recommended read for salespeople to maximize the sales. It outlines a holistic approach to sales, with comprehensive tips to take care of sales strategy as well as execution. Chet provides practical tips and tactics to streamline processes, develop new business and close more deals.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Use market data, not product data.

The one who gives the market the most and best information will always slaughter the one who just wants to sell products or services.

You will attract way more buyers if you are offering to teach them something of value to them than you will ever attract by simply trying to sell them your product or service.

Figure out what the impact areas are in your business.

If you are a one-person army or a very small company, you personally must spend at least 2.5 hours per day growing your company.

Mastering the Complex Sale, by Jeff Thull

Mastering the Complex Sale is a must-read for everyone in sales and business. If you want to understand sales, you need to read this book. It’s an excellent guide for selling complex solutions in a highly competitive market. Jeff has provided insight into the sales process, and he has shared some real-life cases to illustrate how to overcome the complexities of sales.

Spin Selling, by Neil Rackham

Spin Selling by Neil Rackham provides a new and effective approach to selling based on scientific research. The book offers practical insights into how salespeople can respond to the specific needs of customers, and achieve higher close rates. It has a data-driven approach to selling that also leads to greater customer satisfaction, especially in B2B sales.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Success in the larger sale depends, more than anything else, on how the Investigating stage of the call is handled.

The building of perceived value is probably the single most important selling skill in larger sales.

Implication Questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences. By asking Implication Questions successful people help the customer understand a problem’s seriousness or urgency.

The purpose of questions in the larger sale is to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.

If you can’t solve a problem for your customer, then there’s no basis for a sale. But if you uncover problems you can solve, then you’re potentially providing the buyer with something useful.

Also Read: 14 Best Books for Confidence Building

Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational is a popular books on marketing and sales that explores the psychology of decision-making. In this book, Dan discussed the various irrational and emotional factors that drive our decisions, with implications for marketing and sales. It offers practical tips to understand and influence customer behaviour, including the ways to overcome common biases and emotional triggers.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Individuals are honest to the extent that suits them (including their desire to please others).

Ownership is not limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view.

Suppose we are nothing more than the sum of our first, naive, random behaviors. What then?

Giving up on our long-term goals for immediate gratification, my friends, is procrastination.

Most people don't know what they want unless they see it in context.

Buyology, by Martin Lindstrom

Buyology is a deep dive into the science of consumer behaviour. In the book, Martin attempts to identify the factors that influence buyers' decisions. He analyzes what makes people buy, exploring the psychological and neurological factors that drive purchasing decisions. The book offers plenty of practical tips and strategies for improving marketing and sales efforts.

Top 4 Lessons from the book:

Sex doesn't sell anything other than itself.

90 percent of all Gillette shavers are bought by women for the men in their lives.

When we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are.

Fear, in my experience, spreads faster than anything else.

Also Read: 9 Best Books for Project Managers

Unconscious Branding, by Douglas Van Praet

Unconscious Branding is an intersection of neuroscience and marketing. The book explores the role of unconscious processes in branding and consumer behaviour. By using the insights and techniques, marketing professionals can create more compelling marketing campaigns and build stronger emotional connections with consumers.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

The best way to build rapport with people or companies is to share in their beliefs and behaviors.

Senses take in about 11 million bits of information every second, but we are only consciously aware of about 40 bits of that information.

Today cognitive neuroscience is proving that humans make decisions irrationally, perception is illusory, and our minds are designed for self-deception.

Emotions influence our thinking more than our thinking influences our emotions. STEP.

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.

To Sell is Human, by Daniel H. Pink

To Sell is Human is probably the best book for sales. It’s a valuable resource for those looking to improve their selling and influencing skills. Daniel offers practical insights and a fresh approach to selling through real-world examples. The book offers valuable insights into how to sell effectively by providing value, rather than using manipulative techniques.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources – not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.

Anytime you're tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you're doing and upserve instead.

This is what it means to serve: improving another’s life and, in turn, improving the world.

In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers.

The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation.

Also Read: 25 Best Books for Artists and Creatives

The Content Code, by Mark W. Schaefer

The Content Code is a book that provides practical strategies for creating effective content in this digital age. It provides a step-by-step approach for developing and promoting content that engages and inspires customers. It would be helpful to anyone looking to improve their content marketing efforts. You’ll be able to create more effective marketing and sales strategies.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

The most important characteristic of content marketing today is not quality or quantity. It’s insight. And that is the differentiator lacking almost everywhere.

Business results on the web don’t come from content; they come from content that moves.

Creating great content is not the finish line. It’s the starting line.”

The key to finding your remarkability is to think about what makes you surprising, interesting, or novel.

Did you know that vending machines kill four times as many people each year than sharks?

The Psychology of Persuasion, by Kevin Hogan

The Psychology of Persuasion provides practical insights into the psychological principles of persuasion and influence. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the principles of social proof, scarcity and authority and their application. Marketers and sales people will get a deep understanding of these techniques and create more compelling campaigns.

The 1-Page Marketing Plan, by Allan Dib

The 1-Page Marketing Plan is one of the best books on marketing. It’s a straightforward guide to create a marketing plan that gets results. It provides a step-by-step approach for developing a marketing plan, distilled down to one page. The book covers the key elements of a marketing plan, including target market, unique value proposition and lead generation tactics.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

You have only twenty-four hours a day, so the only way you can get more achieved in a day is by using other people’s time.

Your job as an entrepreneur is to be an innovator and a builder of systems.

Focusing on the cause (value) rather than the effect (making money) will lead to much greater long-term success.

A customer won on price will be lost on price.

When you turn your ads into direct response ads, they become lead generating tools rather than just name recognition tools.

Also Read: 31 Best Books for Business Owners and Startup Founders

Marketing Metrics, by Paul W. Farris

Marketing Metrics is a comprehensive guide for marketers for understanding and measuring marketing performance. Paul covered all the main metrics to help marketers make data-driven decisions. The book also covers the challenges with marketing metrics, and provides practical advice for overcoming these challenges. It’s definitely one of the best books for marketing professionals to have in their collection.

OK, those were all the best book on sales and marketing I have for you today. These sales and marketing books will help seasoned professionals, new entrants as well as startups and small business owners.

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