Secrets to Sales Innovation
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Four Must-Read Books for Sales Managers

As the publisher of Selling Power, I get a lot of books from other publishers who would like us to review their books. I never judge a book by its cover, the foreword, or the table of contents. I follow a three-step process to judge the value of a book.

Step 1: I open the book to a random page and read the first paragraph. If that paragraph grabs my attention, I close the book and continue.

Step 2: I reopen the book to another randomly selected paragraph and read a few lines. If I find the material useful, the book will get another chance.

Step 3: I repeat the process.

This process doesn’t take more than two minutes. If a book is densely packed with new ideas, and if it offers me food for thought on three randomly selected pages, I believe that the book is worth reading, reviewing, and retaining in my office library. Below are four books that have passed the test with flying colors.

1. Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance, by Andris A. Zoltners, PhD, Prabhakant Sinha PhD, and Sally E. Lorimer

What do I think? It is the most complete sales management handbook I’ve seen since Dartnell stopped publishing the classic 1,200 page Sales Manager’s Handbook in 1990. Building a Winning Sales Force covers all the essential challenges sales managers face.

The downside: It’s hard to find time to read all 480 pages. I keep this as a reference book on my desk, since every chapter contains the fundamentals that every sales manager needs to master to stay competitive.

Meet the authors: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing two of the authors. If you are a sales manager, I recommend that you watch this seven-minute video.

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2. Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology by Anneke Seley and Brent Holloway

What do I think? This book is a must-read for sales managers who want to create a far more productive sales organization. There are too many sales leaders who suffer from technophobia and change aversion. This book clearly shows why the old practices no longer work, and it offers a clear blueprint for moving the sales organization to a significantly higher level of productivity. If you'd like to view her press and recorded events, click here.

The downside: Sales 2.0 is an unstoppable movement, and those who don’t recognize the incredible potential will not be able to remain competitive in 2010.

Follow the author on Twitter:

View this video as Chris Kenton interviews Anneke Seley at the inaugural Social Media Breakfast in San Francisco.

3. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff by Clara Shih

What do I think? This book can help any sales manager create fresh revenue opportunities using Facebook and other social media tools. It’s a fast read- very concise and very useful.

The downside: You need two highlighter pens for this book. Red: must implement today. Yellow: must implement soon. Once you’ve finished reading the book, you’ll ask yourself, “What took me so long to seize this opportunity?”

Follow the author on Twitter:

Meet the author:You can watch a number of Clara’s keynote presentations online. Here is a great five-minute clip from Clara's recent keynote for the Association of Computing Machinery at HP Headquarters in Cupertino, California.


4. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm

What do I think? I took this book home last Friday and could not put it down. Joel Comm covers the basics better than anyone else. It’s a fast read, and it can help any sales manager turn Twitter into a superb sales tool.

The downside: This book will be obsolete in one year. Get it now.

Follow the author on Twitter:

Meet the author: Watch this three-minute interview with Joel Comm on MSNBC in which he explains how Twitter has become the new ”watercooler,” where everybody talks to everybody.

Share your feedback: What do you think about these books? What books are on your desk? What do you like about them?

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Matt West

I've read Anneke's book, Sales 2.0 and loved it. If you are interested in Sales 2.0 (especially the new role of Inside Sales), I recommend reading Josiane Feigon's new best-selling book, Smart Selling On The Phone and Online. Check out the book and reviews at

Terence Lee

Great stuff. I have read Sales 2.0 and can attest to how good it is. Since I read it, I have been implementing a small Inside Sales effort of my own an so far so good. The other three are being downloaded to my Kindle as we speak. Thanks for the tip.

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