Benjamin Franklin said "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other." In other words, you can rely solely on first-hand experiences to gain sales knowledge but it might be painful. There are plenty of blogs and websites dedicated to SaaS out there, but sometimes nothing beats a good book.
An expertly written book offers a great way to learn in-depth strategies and tactics that you can explore in your day-to-day tasks and along your long-term career path. It’s always a good idea to explore new resources to continually grow your knowledge, so I present you some of the best sales and marketing books. Some are sales related, some offer a fresh perspective on content marketing and others cover great growth hacking techniques.
Most Recommended Sales and Marketing Books
Get one or more of the books listed below, read them cover to cover and enthusiastically apply the techniques these experts reveal to help your SaaS business enter new realms of growth.
- Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
- Growth Marketing Handbook
- SaaS Marketing Essentials
- Smarter, Faster, Cheaper
- Predictable Revenue
- From Impossible To Inevitable
- They Ask, You Answer
- The Lean Startup
- Start Small, Stay Small
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
- by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares.
In Traction, serial entrepreneurs Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares give startups the tools for generating explosive customer growth. Most startups don't fail because they can't build a product. Most startups fail because they can't get traction. Building a successful company is hard. Smart entrepreneurs know that the key to success isn't the originality of your offering, the brilliance of your team, or how much money you raise. It's how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers.
Traction will teach you the nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base, and offers a three-step framework to figure out which ones will work best for your business. No matter how you apply them, the lessons and examples in Traction will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs.
Growth Marketing Handbook
- by Julian Shapiro
This advanced handbook explains how to acquire customers for your site/app, and how to entice them to purchase. It is widely recommended within Silicon Valley because it actually teaches growth marketing to a professional level. It doesn't waste time on self-evident, nonsense advice.
Julian says “If you're skeptical of marketing advice, know that I am too. This handbook is unique in that I have years of diverse data: I've run thousands of experiments for clients like Microsoft, Imperfect Produce, Perfect Keto, Webflow, Tovala, Clearbit, and others.” This material applies to companies of every size and vertical. It covers both introductory and advanced B2B and B2C tactics. Marketers of every skill level will encounter new material.
SaaS Marketing Essentials
- by Ryan Battles
SaaS Marketing Essentials by Ryan Battles is a great primer covering essential marketing strategies and tactics with concrete, actionable examples. Whether you're kicking a SaaS idea around in your head or are looking to level-up your current recurring revenue, this book shows you how to attract & convert new users. This book gives so many great ways to find and convert customers, it's a no-brainer for anyone that wants to grow a successful SaaS product.
Smarter, Faster, Cheaper
- by David Siteman Garland
With huge recent shifts in the way enterprises are built, marketed, and monetized, these are "wild west" times for business. Smarter, Faster, Cheaper gives you an innovative, approachable new guide on how to market, promote and improve your business drawing on real world examples and offering practical advice as opposed to fluffy theory.
It presents a complete roadmap for marketing and promoting your business with the latest techniques. Strategies and ideas are easy to understand, digest, and immediately put to use. From learning when to skimp and when to splurge to mastering the art of online schmoozing, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper will save you time, money, and aggravation whether you're building your tenth business or your first.
- by Jeff Walker
Launch will build your business—fast. Whether you’ve already got a business or you’re itching to start one, this is a recipe for getting more traction. Launch is the treasure map into that world—an almost secret world of digital entrepreneurs who create cash-on-demand paydays with their product launches and business launches. Once Jeff started teaching his formula to other entrepreneurs, the results were simply breathtaking.
Tiny, home-based businesses started doing launches that sold tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars in sales with their launches. Whether you have an existing business, or you have a service-based business and want to develop your own products so you can leverage your time and your impact, or you’re still in the planning phase—this is how you start fast. This formula is how you engineer massive success.
- by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler
With the help of this book, discover the outbound sales process that, in just a few years, helped add $100 million in recurring revenue to Salesforce.com, almost doubling their enterprise growth, without cold calling or a boiler room approach. This is NOT another book about how to cold call or close deals. This is an entirely new kind of sales bible for CEOs, entrepreneurs and sales VPs to help you build a sales machine, and a sales culture that people love.
This book answers the questions like what does it take for your sales team to generate as many highly-qualified new leads as you want, create predictable revenue, and meet your financial goals without your constant focus and attention? What does it take to attract top sales talent, people who exceed and want to stay and grow with your company?
From Impossible To Inevitable
- by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin
From Impossible to Inevitable details the hypergrowth playbook of record-breaking companies like Zenefits, Salesforce and EchoSign. Whether you’re a small business owner or have a $1 billion firm, you can use the insights from these notable companies to learn what it really takes to break your own revenue records. The authors show how you can grow your company by developing repeatable processes that will consistently drive revenue and increase your growth. This book is a seminal work in the field of SaaS sales and focuses in on a number of critical cogs in the growth process of a business.
They Ask, You Answer
- by Marcus Sheridan
They Ask You Answer is a straightforward guide to fixing your current marketing strategy. Regardless of your budget, you are almost certainly overspending on television, radio, and print ads, yet neglecting the number-one resource you have at your disposal: the Internet. Content marketing is no longer about keyword-stuffing and link-building; in fact, using those tactics today gets your page shuffled to the bottom of the heap.
Quality content is the key to success, and you already have the ingredients in-house. This book shows you how to structure an effective content strategy using the same proven principles that have revolutionized marketing for all types of businesses, across industries.
The Lean Startup
- by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. The book provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
Start Small, Stay Small
- by Rob Walling
Start Small, Stay Small is a step-by-step guide to launching a self-funded startup. This book intentionally avoids topics restricted to venture-backed startups such as: honing your investment pitch, securing funding, and figuring out how to use the piles of cash investors keep placing in your lap.
This book assumes:
- You don't have $6M of investor funds sitting in your bank account.
- You're not going to relocate to the handful of startup hubs in the world.
- You're not going to work 70 hour weeks for low pay with the hope of someday making millions from stock options.
- There's nothing wrong with pursuing venture funding and attempting to grow fast like Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It just so happened that most people are not in a place to do this.
Start Small, Stay Small also focuses on the single most important element of a startup that most developers avoid: marketing. There are many great resources for learning how to write code, organize source control, or connect to a database. This book does not cover the technical aspects developers already know or can learn elsewhere. It focuses on finding your idea, testing it before you build, and getting it into the hands of your customers.
I hope that this list provides enough books to keep you busy for a while – and to help transform your business. Give them a try and understand how it changes your startup. Also, give us suggestions of books that you read and can benefit others in the comments section.