Favorite Reads for Sales Teams: Avoid the “Book of the Month Club” Approach

It’s that time of the year again — Holiday Starbucks cups, panic over Q4 deals to close on 12/31, and finally, lists of books your sales team should read over the holidays (“Top 10  Must Read Books on Sales!”)  This won’t be one of those blog posts.  In fact, I encourage you NOT to push new sales books on your reps over the holidays.

What are the types of reads your sales team would be willing to peruse in their down time that have actual relevance to your business?

Too often, sales leaders fall into the BOMC trap.  Leadership by BOMC (Book of the Month Club) is often counter-productive, because the cool new business book may not align with the overall vision of the sales roadmap.

So what should you ask your sales team to read?  Following the KISS principle (Keep it Simple for the Sellers), here are three ideas to consider:

  • News about their top prospects, clients or partners who are publicly traded firms
    • They can focus on one account, or set up a feed for all of their key accounts
    • Here is an example of what they would see if they were just checking out Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM)
  • News about the industries they focus on:
    • It’s easier for sellers to provide insights for their clients if they understand the world they are living in
    • Here is an example of a good news source for those focused on the Pharma space
    • For a broader but narrower look at multiple industries, you can look at the perspectives shared by someone like Strategy&
  • And if you feel you must share some books, I’d encourage you to “go small” and share book reviews or abstracts:
    • Great sources include GetAbstractSoundview Executive Book Summaries, and my new personal favorite to read on my PC, phone and tablet, Blinkist
    • For each book summary shared with the team, be sure to provide clarity on the link between the book and your strategies, goals, or Big Rocks … and clearly describe the actions you want them to take based on the book

Speaking of “going small,” below is a piece that Symmetrics Group published on Top Performers which showcases top sales professionals and the best-in-class qualities that set them apart:

Download Articles on Top Performers in Sales

Respect the time constraints and attention span of your team and select the smaller, high-impact resources that encourage them to step back and learn something new to apply to their jobs.

First published Nov 22, 2016 in the Symmetrics Group Blog


Tom Martin

Tom is a member of Symmetrics Group’s Advisory Board, and brings 25 years of experience as a specialized generalist in the sales effectiveness industry, where he is sometimes referred to as “The Consultant to Consultants.” Tom is passionate about KISS (Keep it Simple for the Sellers) and focusing on the reinforcement and sustainment activities that drive sales transformations.