If your business is struggling to find leads, you’re not alone.
Gartner and CEB surveyed small and midsize business (SMB) leaders, 61% of whom cited client/customer acquisition as their top priority, above customer retention, improving efficiency, cutting costs, and work/life balance (2017 GSL Strategic Market Research Survey).
Far-and-away the most popular answer to the question of where these leaders are focusing their efforts was sales and customer acquisition. More than half of SMB owners said that the most difficult aspect of their business strategy is growth management and expansion.
These same leaders cited lead generation among their top three business pain points.
Use a proven method to make prospecting less painful and more efficient: Learn from the best.
Lead Generation Books to the Rescue
I found and listened to three lead generation books that can help take some of the struggle out of sales prospecting. These books offer practical, road-tested advice on most—if not all—aspects of lead generation.
There are a lot of great lead generation books out there, but I limited my search to books available on Audible. Successful sales professionals are busy. More often than not, you don’t have time to sit down and read.
What you might have time for, however, is an audiobook. You can multitask while listening to a book, whether on your commute or while folding laundry at home, in a way that you can’t if you’re reading it yourself.
To further narrow my search, I included only books published after 2015, with at least 100 ratings on Goodreads, and with a 3.5 average star rating or higher on Goodreads.
Titles presented in publication order.
1. ‘The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million’
Goodreads rating: 4.3/5 stars, 596 ratings
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Author Mark Roberge’s first sales job was as employee number four at HubSpot, where he grew revenue from $0 to $100 million in seven years. He’s now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.
In this book, Roberge teaches you how to create, train, and manage an excellent sales force (which he cites as the top priority for facilitating predictable, scalable revenue growth). It’s a well-organized book; the steps are in sequential order, and each chapter has a summary at the end reiterating key concepts.
The book is full of specific, actionable advice for finding, hiring, retaining, and rewarding stellar salespeople. Roberge not only includes real-life examples from his own work, but offers variations for you to try at your office. All of his advice is road-tested; there’s nothing theoretical about this book.
While most of the book is about hiring, there is a substantial portion about lead generation (HubSpot’s bread and butter). If you’re wondering how to turn your sales reps into lead magnets, this book offers solid advice, positing that becoming a thought leader is easier than you think and that it’ll pay off considerably when it comes to generating highly qualified inbound leads.
2. ‘The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales’
Goodreads rating: 4.31/5 stars, 198 ratings
Length: 5 hours, 58 minutes
Trish Bertuzzi is one of our “9 Sales Superstars to Follow on Twitter Today,” the president and chief strategist of inside sales consulting and implementation firm The Bridge Group, Inc., and has more than 20 years of experience helping companies with sales development and inside sales.
Many consider “The Sales Development Playbook” the bible for outbound sales. It introduces the role of the sales development rep (SDR), explains what they do, how and when to hire them, what to pay them, and how to best divvy up tasks between teams, among other topics.
Whether or not you employ SDRs, or plan on hiring any in the near future, this book is relevant for you. If you’re successful (which is every business’ goal), you’re going to need to hire people sooner than you think. Bertuzzi provides simple, clear criteria to help you do just that.
Even if you never do hire an SDR, someone on your team has to do that work. For this reason alone, you need to figure out how to set up the underlying processes for lead generation success.
Bertuzzi is an engaging writer, full of witty one-liners and colorful stories paired with examples from her own company, clients, and colleagues.
Goodreads rating: 4.28/5 stars, 987 ratings
Length: 8 hours, 2 minutes
Gary Vaynerchuk is one of our “9 Sales Superstars to Follow on Twitter Today,” a startup adviser and investor, and CEO of social media marketing agency Vaynermedia. In 1997 Vaynerchuk created WineLibrary.com, and used internet marketing to promote it.
More specifically: Vaynerchuk used content marketing to draw wine shoppers to his online store. His low-budget tasting videos, paired with some savvy Adwords moves, grew his business from a $3 million/year family wine store to a $45 million/year eCommerce business in just a few years.
Sales pros should use Vaynerchuk’s advice on drawing the attention of your target audience to attract inbound leads. The big difference between this title and the other two books on this list is that “Crushing It” is definitely more B2C.
There’s a lot of actionable B2B advice here, but it can feel a little buried under motivational language aimed at first-time entrepreneurs getting started with online marketing. If you’re looking for inspiration, though, this might be just what you need.
The advice in “Crushing It” is paired with real-world examples of how to attract high-quality leads to your business. If “The Sales Acceleration Formula” sells you on why it’s worthwhile to become an influencer within your target demographic, “Crushing It” explains the nitty-gritty of how to build your personal brand and grow your audience online.
Let’s get listening!
None of these books will solve all of your problems for you, but they’re great listens full of actionable advice for generating more leads for your B2B sales team.
What other lead generation books have you read, or listened to? What is your favorite, or the most helpful one you’ve found? Let me know in the comments!