Were you at the beach this summer? Did you take a good book with you? While most people grab the latest John Grisham, or maybe a good historical novel, you’ll find me with my nose in a business book (I know….how sad!). So now that we’re headed into cooler days, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from this year, particularly with an eye toward sales and marketing.
#1 Sprint. Three guys from Google Ventures outline a novel way to test new business ideas in a five day sprint. If you’re looking for a different approach to generating ideas, getting quick buy in from customers, or developing a new feature set to grow sales, this book is worth a read. It’s packed with real-life examples of sprints they ran with Blue Bottle Coffee, Slack, and others. And I’ve got to believe that anyone involved in one of their five day sprints would come out of the experience with a much stronger connection to the brand and the product. (Sprint by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz)
#2 The Sales Acceleration Formula. Mark Roberge outlines how Hubspot grew from a start-up to a $100M organization through constantly adapting their sales strategy as the company grew. Of particular interest is Roberge’s description of the evolving sales compensation model, as their success metrics changed. If you’re wondering how to maximize your sales plan, take a look. (The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge)
#3 Originals. Adam Grant, professor at Wharton, pulls together a treasure trove of research to support the notion that anyone can spot opportunities for change, and make themselves heard. It’s not always the “natural born leaders” who make things happen. Using interesting, believable examples backed up with research data, he highlights some unusual approaches to success, including a favorite of mine – the value of planned procrastination! It’s an easier read than the bio might suggest, and will give you some useful thought starters. Plus, the final chapter is a handy summary of “Actions for Impact.” (Originals by Adam Grant).
#4 Hacking Marketing. Written by the creator of the ChiefMartec blog, this book compares the evolution of Agile software development methodology, and how it can apply to digital marketing. The author discusses many of the techniques honed for fast, flexible software development, and shows how to apply them to build a more effective marketing process. It’s a skimmable book, but packed with ideas on streamlining your current practices. If you’re not familiar with Agile, this is a good read. (Hacking Marketing by Scott Brinker).
#5 Made to Stick. OK, so this is an old one. But I keep coming back to it, because it’s still one of the best books out there to talk about memorable messaging, and standing out from the crowd. An alternate choice is Contagious by Jonah Berger – a similar theme and style, but coming at it from a different angle. Either one will challenge your standard ideas on how to promote your products. (Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath).
If none of these appeal, there are plenty more on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. What’s on your list?
[Note: This article was originally published on the Next Level Performance website]