When it comes to B2B marketing, there’s a big question that’s been floating around for years. It’s not an entirely complex question, but it’s one that has an ever-changing answer, especially in the digital age…
What makes an average B2B marketer become a great B2B marketer?
If you’re looking for a one-line answer to serve as your silver bullet to overnight success, I hate to break it to you but you’re going to looking for a long time. The great B2B marketers like Dan Shure, Aaron Ross, Steli Efti, Shayla Price, and Aaron Orendorff are great because they realized one thing in particular early on:
You can never stop learning.
If you want to be successful in B2B marketing, you need to commit to constantly learning. Luckily for you, there’s no shortage of incredibly useful knowledge out there to be gained from the best marketing books around.
Of course, you can’t expect to just read each of these 21 marketing books and instantly become a great B2B marketer. There’s one key step in the process that typically scares people away…
You have to act.
If you spend your time gathering all of these insights and learning from the best of the best, what good is it going to be if you just keep it all in your mind and never actually ship anything or implement what you’re learning?
So on that note, here are the 21 best marketing books every B2B marketer should read if they want to be successful in the field:
1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie | 4.7 stars
This classic from Dale Carnegie is a must-read for every B2B marketer, no questions asked. In a field that’s going to require you to talk to people and influence them to do what you want, relationships are key. This book teaches you the fundamental techniques on handling people, the six ways to make people like you, twelve methods to make people agree wit your way of thinking, and the best ways to change someone’s mind without them feeling negatively about you.
2. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
Author: Grant Cardone | 4.6 stars
To be successful in the B2B world, you can’t just sit back and only do what makes you feel comfortable. The real breakthroughs come when you commit to experimentation and taking what Grant Cardone calls “Massive Action”. In this must-read for marketers, he talks about what steps you need to take to implement the 10X rule, from where to start, to fighting through where most people get stuck.
3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition
Author: Robert B. Cialdini | 4.5 stars
As a B2B marketer, you want people to start saying “yes!” more than they don’t. This book dives into the psychology of what actually drives people to say yes, and what you can do to apply these findings to your selling efforts. If you can understand how the brain of the person you’re selling to works, you’re putting yourself in a much better position to get that “yes!”.
4. Marketing to Women
Author: Martha Barletta | 4.8 stars
If you’re not focusing a real chunk of your marketing budget exclusively on women, this book will tell you exactly why you should be. In it, marketing expert Martha Barletta talks on how the path to a purchase decision is much different for women than it is for men, and provides direction on how you can structure a marketing plan to capitalize on this untapped market.
5. The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
Author: Bob Burg | 4.7 stars
Give and you shall receive. It’s a simple saying you’ve heard a million times before, but still one that holds true in the world of business and B2B marketing. If you give more than you take, and don’t attach any expectations of the favor being returned in time, the results you’re seeking will find you. This book is classic story on how this exact idea helped a young entrepreneur find the success he was looking for.
6. Ogilvy on Advertising
Author: David Ogilvy | 4.6 stars
In the digital age, advertising has transformed. It’s no longer just about giant billboards, magazine ads, and Super Bowl commercials. This book by David Ogilvy, the founder of a successful international advertising agency, is all about showing you what you need to know to see success in advertising. Everything from how to write copy that converts, to how you can run a successful agency yourself.
7. The Magic Of Thinking Big
Author: David Schwartz | 4.5 stars
Sometimes achieving success in your field isn’t just about how naturally skilled you are at what you do. If you want to be successful in B2B sales and marketing, you don’t need to have been born with the ability to sell anything to anyone. This book is all about the process of thinking and behaving in ways that can help you find that success you’re searching for.
8. Power Sales Writing
Author: Sue A. Hershkowitz-Coore | 4.6 stars
Writing sales messages that capture your prospects attention is one of the most important steps in the entire selling process. With this book, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to master the art of effect sales writing. It’s packed full with lists of power words, tips on how to break bad news and still get the result you want, techniques for getting your prospect to tell you what they’re actually looking for, and more.
9. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Author: Daniel H. Pink | 4.5 stars
As a B2B marketer, a lot of what you do is going to be directed toward motivating people to do certain things. Whether it be something as simple as motivating a Facebook user to click on a blog post, or as complex as motivating a Fortune 500 prospect to say yes and close a deal. This book breaks down the ideas in your head around what motivates people, and delivers the insights on what actually motivates someone to act.
10. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline
Author: Jeb Blount | 4.9 stars
When it comes to selling in B2B, there’s one key step that needs to happen before any actual selling can be done – prospecting. If the pipeline is empty, sales will slow down, revenue will drop, and the company will find itself in survival mode. This book speaks to the impact prospecting can actually have on fostering the success of a business, and what you can do to make sure that pipeline is always full of qualified prospects.
11. How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling
Author: Frank Bettger | 4.8 stars
If selling is a part of the work you do, this book can help you. Even if you’re not a dedicated salesperson spending your day cold-calling, the insights in this book can help you understand the entire sales process, and the role you can play in that process as a B2B marketer. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, this book is built to help you sell it.
12. Selling to Big Companies
Author: Jill Konrath | 4.6 stars
Getting on the radar of those Fortune 500 companies isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Your calls aren’t getting answered, emails aren’t being read, and you’re losing faith in your marketing abilities. This book will help you draw your own map to Fortune 500 success by arming you with the new strategies required to close enterprise-level accounts in the modern day crowded market.
13. How to Master the Art of Selling
Author: Tom Hopkins | 4.4 stars
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – just because you’re not directly working in sales doesn’t mean you’re not a part of the selling process. An understanding of how to master the sales process can help you think about the big picture with all of your marketing efforts. In this book, sales expert Tim Hopkins shares his best techniques on how to create a selling climate that’s set up for success, how to lock in that first meeting, how to handle objections and the word “no”, on top dozens more key aspects of the process.
14. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
Author: Chet Holmes | 4.6 stars
As the title says, this book is all about the 12 key sales strategies you should zero in on that make the biggest difference between closing the deal and letting it slip away. The goal is to help you optimize every aspect of your business and free up the time you need to really move the needle.
15. Jill Rowley on #SocialSelling: 140 Tweets on Modern Selling the Social Way
Author: Jill Rowley | 5 stars
It’s 2021 and if you’re still ignoring social selling I can guarantee you’re leaving some serious money on the table. This book digs deep into the ideas behind developing a modern-day marketing strategy around social media and sheds some light on how successful business are currently leveraging the social world to drive results.
16. SPIN Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff
Author: Neil Rackham | 4.3 stars
This book answers a handful of big question in the world of sales. Everything from why some salespeople are consistently outselling their competition to what techniques work best when it comes to closing big accounts. Neil Rackham’s SPIN strategy is one that every salesperson and B2B marketer should understand.
17. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
Author: Noah J. Goldstein | 4.4 stars
If you want to be a successful B2B marketer, you need to know how to persuade people. Rather than just hoping you’re a persuasive person, this book is the science-backed handbook designed to help you be more persuasive in your everyday life. It’s packed full of 50 small and simple techniques that can have a drastic impact on your persuasive abilities.
18. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
Author: Matthew Dixon | 4.4 stars
Everybody is always looking for the secret to success in sales. The common response that many business leaders come up with is relationships. In this book, Matthew Dixon takes that simple response much further. He believes the best salespeople don’t just build relationships with prospects and customers and rely on that to close the deal. Instead, he says they take it one step further and actually challenge their customers and prospects. This book challenges you to think differently about how you approach these sales conversations in the B2B world.
19. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
Author: Oren Klaff | 4.5 stars
According to Oren Klaff, the art of persuasion in a pitch isn’t actually an art at all – it’s more of a simple science. In this book, he talks about how the brain actually processes and analyzes information coming its way, and introduces his own STRONG method of pitching that’s built to keep you in control of the entire pitching process.
20. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Author: Daniel H. Pink | 4.4 stars
In this book, Daniel H. Pink comes in with a fresh take on the science behind selling, and pulls from a number of social science insights to support his arguments. If your goal is to influence people, consider this book is your scientific research-backed selling guide.
21. Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale
Author: Zig Ziglar | 4.6 stars
The best B2B marketers understand how to be persuasive. This book from the persuasion guru Zig Ziglar is all about how to make prospects say “YES!” and close the deal. It’s filled with some of his tried and tested methods in the field of persuasion that you can run with right away. If you want to persuade people to act, this book is a must-read without question.
Now Over To You…
It’s time for you to start reading. Of course, I’m not expecting you to read each and every one of these books within the next week. Here’s what I’m asking of you right now:
Step 1: Choose one or two you want to read over the next couple of weeks.
Step 2: Start implementing what you learned from those one or two.
Step 3: Come back to this list and choose one or two more.
Step 4: Build on the knowledge you gained from the first two and keep implementing.
Step 5: Jump back up to step 1.
Here’s the deal…
Success in the B2B marketing world doesn’t just happen overnight.
It takes a real commitment if you want to be among the best B2B marketers out there. Even if you’re already driving some fantastic results for your business in B2B, kicking back and ignoring the infinite resources out there designed to help you get better is a surefire way to fall behind. The key here is to never stop learning.
What other books have you come across that have helped you drive results in B2B marketing or sales? Drop a comment and let us know which ones are missing from the list.
[Updated Dec 08, 2020]