Software sales is a fast-paced and often stressful career path, where the standards for strategies, tools, and techniques are constantly changing at a dizzying speed.
Keeping your skill set in line with these ever-changing standards can be immensely challenging when it’s stacked on top of the high daily demands, but as you likely know, one of the things that separate great professionals from simply competent ones is a thirst for knowledge, and a habit for constant growth and development.
There are countless good resources software salespeople can use to hone their skills, but as busy as you are, you may not have time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In this post, we’ll list 7 of our best prospecting books to help you supercharge your prospecting.
Best Prospecting Books
Spin Selling - Neil Rackham
We’ll start this list off with a classic of the genre, Spin Selling by Neil Rackham. Published in 1988, this book may not address all the nuances of the B2B software sales niche, but a large part of its content is as relevant now as it was when it was first written, especially when it comes to identifying the needs of your target audience.
The author, Neil Rackham, is an English sales academic and consultant, and founder of leading sales and negotiation training course provider Huthwaite International, who has worked with such prestigious companies as British Airways and IBM.
One of the core themes of the book is the distinction between small and large-scale sales, and how businesses can scale their sales operations healthily as they grow. This focus on adaptive strategy makes the book excellent for sales professionals at the start of their career, or those who are planning to go into consulting for a broad range of client companies.
Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
Fanatical Prospecting comes to us from Jeb Blount, founder, and CEO of the online training giant Sales Gravy.
If you’re looking for a book specifically to hone your prospecting, then this could be the perfect read for you. Full of practical, actionable advice presented in an accessible writing style, Fanatical Prospecting posits the idea that prospecting should always be the top priority in any sales team, and that a sales team that doesn’t address empty prospect pipelines will inevitably fail to deliver on long-term targets.
With this theme established, Blount goes on to provide a comprehensive, step-by-step path to becoming a “prospecting fanatic”, filling your pipeline with high-quality prospects, and ensuring the long-term success of your team. A must-read for anyone who’s noticing a lack of prospects in their sales pipeline and feels that it could be rooted in a cultural issue within your team.
The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi
The Sales Development Playbook is lauded as a salesperson’s bible, offering a detailed guide to gaining new business through effective sales development.
The Author, Trish Bertuzzi, is the founder and CEO of The Bridge Group, a leading Massachusetts business consultancy that’s helped more than 300 B2B companies optimize their sales process through the proper application of metrics and strategy.
Though the book is very comprehensive and has some great content on almost every facet of sales, there’s a particularly strong focus on prospecting that lays out how landing new prospects, and identifying the correct stage to get them into the pipeline, can dictate the success or failure of a company.
If you’re looking to hone your entire understanding of sales development and gain a new perspective on prospecting in the process, this is arguably one of the best prospecting books that could be the perfect choice for you.
High-Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter
With a focus on merging long-standing sales principles with tactics and methods of the 21st century, High-Profit Prospecting will not only help you supercharge your team’s prospecting performance but will also give you a fascinating look at how sales practices have evolved over the years.
The author is Mark Hunter, who consults and gives talks under his personal brand The Sales Hunter, and has a number of more-than-noteworthy accolades to his name, including working at several Fortune 500 companies.
Hunter’s impressive and long-running career is evident in the content of this book, which demonstrates a great understanding of modern sales, while also lauding the importance of sales principles that have been used for decades. Readers will love the wealth of practical advice regarding scripts for email and phone outreach, how to time your contact with customers, and how to fill your pipeline using both modern and traditional methods.
Predictable Prospecting by Marylou Tyler & Jeremy Donovan
This book comes recommended as one of the best prospecting books for all those who are gaining prospects at a healthy rate but have some concerns about the quality of those prospects.
Maylou Tyler is a veteran sales consultant and the CEO of the Strategic Pipeline sales consultancy, while Jeremy Donovan is executive vice president for the software investment firm Insight Partners.
Written for more advanced sales professionals, Predictable Prospecting assumes the reader already has a firm grasp of prospecting, and instead focuses on how B2B businesses can review their qualification process and take steps to bring a better class of prospects into their pipeline.
If you or your sales reps need to start recognizing and landing high-quality prospects more consistently, then this book will show you how with practical, actionable steps.
New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg
Though presented as a general business development book, New Sales. Simplified. Has a strong focus on prospecting, and the importance of having a steady stream of new business coming into your pipeline.
The author, Mike Weinberg, is an independent sales coach, consultant, and speaker, who’s held senior sales positions in a long list of successful American companies.
While repeat customers are often seen as the lifeblood of software sales operations, Weinberg uses his book to posit that true growth lies in a company’s ability to bring in new business. There are extensive portions that set out the importance of having a formula for prospecting, nurturing, and closing deals, and how modern sales teams can go about creating one.
If you’re generally hitting your targets, but your work feels slightly improvisational and lacking in nuance, then this book is a great first step towards codified prospecting and an easier route to constant improvement.
The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Hilary “Zig” Ziglar
In today’s post-digital world, it can be easy to do everything according to the whims of data and analytics, especially when working in software sales. The Secrets of Closing the Sale does a great job of challenging this, bringing modern sales professionals back to the bare essentials of their craft, and helping them to see sales as more of an art than a science.
The author, Zig Zilgar, was a world-renown sales executive, consultant, and motivational speaker, whose illustrious career spanned some of the most tumultuous economic chapters of the 20th century.
This classic sales book, originally published in 1982, is brimming with excellent pointers for nurturing prospects, getting leads over the line, and showing your customers that you truly have their best interests at heart.
If you ever get the feeling that your prospecting is too tightly-defined by the modern tools and data sets you use, then this book could be the perfect thing to help you re-examine your approach and get back to basics.
Whatever your prospecting is lacking, we hope this diverse selection of sales books will help you optimize processes for you and your team, and move confidently towards better results.
If you’d like to learn more about prospecting and the wider world of software sales, be sure to check out our other tips and guides, or browse our job board for your next sales opportunity.