Do You Want to Be a Great Leader? Start With These 5 Books
As sales managers, continuously adapting and testing new ideas while sticking to a process are some of the main challenges in leading a team of people with a variety of skill sets.
There is no 'one stop shop' for leadership skills and we've found the best way to succeed is by talking to other successful leaders and reading quality books for inspiration.
This list of leadership books are only 5 of what could have been 50, but we condensed it down to give you a starting point.
We recommend you test different ideas from the books with one or two of your more senior reps to get their feedback.
Testing with others on your team will help you make necessary changes to your approach and perfect it before rolling the strategies out to the entire team.
As a sales manager, one of the toughest jobs you'll have is helping your reps strategically manage their territory. For a number of younger reps, getting in their car and blindly driving around their territory is a daily exercise.
"Crossing the Chasm" is a great introductory to segmenting your customers and accounts. Originally considered a book to help startups target customers based on adoption levels, a number of sales organizations have used these techniques to strategically segment their accounts to help rep productivity.
We believe this is one of the foundation books for selling products into a new market. Take a read and then teach it to them at your next meeting.
Former Medtronic CEO, Bill George, authors a leadership classic in Discover Your True North. This expanded and updated version includes case studies on more contemporary leaders, including Warren Buffett, Mike Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg.
George does a fantastic job in helping the reader understand that being a leader is more important than a title and management skills - it is fundamentally a question of who we are as human beings.
Discover Your True North teaches the reader to use their natural leadership skills and integrity to stay on track of their True North.
The only way to truly win is to create a pretty "blue ocean" of new market space.
If your company focuses on the same boring products, tell them to read this book which includes studies on 150 strategic moves proving the strategy works.
Plus, what is more boring than selling the same old products year after year?
Ok, we'll give you a major hint - the main point of this book is that good is the enemy of great. Does that mean you shouldn't read it?
Jim Collins and his team analyzed the history of 28 companies to try and understand the key determinants of greatness and why companies make the leap and others don't.
The findings are surprising and will upset a number of traditional management theories. The companies who succeed embrace technology and entrepreneurial discipline.
We highly recommend this read as Collins and his team analyze these companies.
This book may seem like an odd choice for this list, but The Lean Startup by Eric Ries has become somewhat of a bible for startup companies in Silicon Valley.
Writing elaborate business plans are a thing of the past and continuously adapting and adjusting is the only way to compete in this day and age. The Lean Startup was inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, relying on rapid scientific experimentation, adapting and shifting direction before it is too late.
Give this book a shot and write down specific examples you can integrate into your company or leadership process.