These top sales books will keep you motivated to beat the competition and smash targets in 2021.


The right book can change your perspective, boost your sales prowess and unlock more potential than you ever thought possible.

For many salespeople around the world right now, we’re starting the year as we ended it – working from home. It’s a lot more difficult to get motivated without the buzz of the office or sales meetings with your colleagues to get you going. So, whether its motivation, new techniques or inspiration you need – we’ve got you covered!

For Techniques:

“Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Manifesto”

Author Jeffrey Gitomer reveals some of the most out-dated sales tactics, then shows you how to replace them with modern sales strategy. Helping every salesperson reach the top and stay there – this is a straightforward, no-nonsense masterclass in the art of selling.

“Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play”

Sales culture has long since moved past just getting new customers and demands a new kind of sales book. Co-authors Mahan Khalsa & Randy Illig show how focusing your efforts on helping your clients succeed is the key to closing deals and generating repeat business.

“Smart Calling”

Although originally published in 2013, “Smart Calling” remains one of the highest-rated books on selling by phone. With all-new examples from the world of sales, the 2020 updated version brings with it even more advice for turning the act of cold calling into a lucrative sales tool.

“Eat Their Lunch”

If you want to solidify your company’s advantage against its competitors, Anthony Iannarino’s “Eat Their Lunch” is the book for you. A step-by-step playbook that explains enabling growth and increasing your company’s market share by winning over your competitors’ clients.

For Motivation:

“Go for No!”

Learning how to use failure to find success is key to keeping motivated in sales. Unlike most sales books, this book features a fictional character who jumps ahead 10 years to meet a more successful version of himself. The trick is that his “future self” will only come about if he overcomes his self-limiting belief system and fear or failure. A truly intriguing read, you can find out more by watching this video.

“The Most Important Question”

This book is perfect if you have trouble defining your goals. With so many possibilities and others’ expectations, it can be difficult to get what you want and even harder to enjoy it. Peep Vain gives a simple, easy to follow method for maintaining balance so that more urgent demands don’t detract from your bigger goals.

“Mindset”

Dr Carol Dweck has written more than just a sales book. “Mindset” explores a groundbreaking, yet simple concept: those who believe their abilities can grow are more likely to succeed than those who believe their abilities are limited.

For Inspiration:

“To Sell Is Human”

Daniel Pink shows you how serving customers first and selling to them second, is a natural extension of our ability to move the people we care about to do the things we want. This is a must-read if you’re looking for a more organic approach to selling.

“Sell It Like Serhant”

For those of you new to selling, Ryan Serhant’s guide is one of the best books to start with. It talks you through negotiating tips, finding your USP and guides you through managing and closing multiple deals.

“The Go-Giver”

If you’re looking for an alternative to the ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of sales, then look no further than co-authors Bob Burg & John David Mann. This book contains valuable sales and life lessons through the tale of a go-getting executive who meets a legendary sales consultant and goes on to learn the secrets of success.

There are many more books out there teeming with knowledge; these are just a few of our favourites. What would you recommend?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not check out our others here.

And remember, if you are tempted to purchase any of these books, there are plenty of independent booksellers who would really appreciate your custom in these trying times.

Published: 4th January 2021

10 Shocking sales statistics that will change the way you sell in 2021.


For those of you that have been in sales a long time, it can be an uncomfortable thought that you need to change your approach.

These sales statistics reflect the cold hard truth of what you’re coming across every day but may not have noticed.

These statistics we’ve put together will help you get on track to boost your sales in 2021.

  1. Nearly all customer interactions happen over the phone. Email is a wonderful and powerful tool, but nothing compares to the real-life human connection.
  2. 15% of a salespersons time at work is spent leaving voicemails. Sometimes leaving a voicemail is necessary. But 15% of your total time at work is a big chunk of time that could be better spent elsewhere. So, if you must do it, make sure it’s getting results.
  3. Around 40% of salespeople don’t feel prepared for their calls. Having enough information in front of you before a call is essential. It builds confidence and makes for much more successful calls to both new and existing clients.
  4. 92% of salespeople give up after being told ‘no’ four times; however, 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before saying ‘yes’. It would be best if you got comfortable with the feeling of rejection. The more times you hear ‘no’, the closer you are to a ‘yes’ – persistence is key. 
  5. Almost 50% of prospects contacted by email will mark it as spam. You may be sending your emails from a legitimate source, but if you don’t do your research and catch their attention, chances are you’re going into the spam folder next time.
  6. 35% of prospects will access your emails on their phone. Keep your emails short and to the point and avoid including too many graphics.
  7. Increasing your client retention by 5% can improve your profits by as much as 95%. Focusing on constantly improving your service offering and continue building rapport with your regular clients can boost sales as much as new business.
  8. 80% of potential clients can be reached through social media. We live in the digital age, utilise it when trying to reach your prospects, and you will maximise your success. 
  9. 85% of prospects are not satisfied with their experience from salespeople over the phone. Make sure your calls are productive and professional by being prepared for every possible outcome that may take place on the call. Researching your prospects not only helps build rapport but also trust and credibility.
  10. 3 out of 4 managers will take action from a cold call or email. When you give your prospects the information and successfully create a value proposition, they will want to follow up with the next stage of the process.

Data and information are only as good as the action you take as a result of it. These stats aren’t hard and fast rules for every situation, but if you allow them to help you think about solving problems in different and more creative ways, then they’ve done their job.

Another great way to ensure sales success is knowing your audience, if you’re not working from customer personas already – you should be! 

Published: 28th December 2020

The final push – How to stay motivated in the run up to Christmas.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also a huge productivity killer and being motivated isn’t always the top priority.

The Christmas season is a time to celebrate and enjoy yourself, but – can you do this while staying productive at work?

We’ve put together our Top 5 Tips to stay productive, without becoming a grinch!

Plan Ahead: 

The first thing that can do wonders for your productivity is planning. December is here so set aside a little time to note down that all-important to-do list. It’s so satisfying to cross something off your list and helps keep you on track when you can see what is still left to do.

Don’t Over Commit: 

It can be tempting to take on one last project before the Christmas break, but nothing kills motivation more than an unachievable goal. Use your list from step one (check it twice!) and make sure you have enough time to add a new commitment if not, it can wait until the New Year!

Enjoy It: 

The best way to keep yourself and your colleagues motivated during the festive season is to enjoy it! Arrange small ways to celebrate together – have a festive feast in the office where everyone brings their favourite Christmas snacks or if you’re working remotely, arrange a virtual Christmas party or arrange a remote Secret Santa.

Engage With Your Customers: 

Christmas is the perfect time to really interact with your clients. Send out Christmas cards, check in with a pre-Christmas call or consider an interactive social media campaign: It’s the ideal chance have fun and strengthen relationships!

Wrap It Up: 

We’re not talking gifts here! Knowing you’re coming back to work with a list of goals you’d like to achieve in 2021 can give you that much-needed boost to get you through to the end of the year. You know you’ll have a headstart for getting back into the swing of things!

Jingle all the way…

… to a motivated and fun end to the year! Remember to take some time off to decompress, but don’t lose sight of yours and your clients’ goals too! Think about what you want to achieve, and we’ll be right here cheering you on and bringing in the holidays with a big plate of mince pies!

Have you got any more tips for staying motivated during the festive season? We’d love to hear them – let us know in the comments!

Published: 21st December 2020

The perfect match – How aligning sales and marketing transforms businesses.


Marketing works. Sales works.

Independently these teams function, but when they work together, it can be incredibly powerful.

Think Shaggy and Scooby, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Buzz and Woody.

These all have one thing in common – they’re all fantastic duos where you can’t imagine one without the other. I mean you probably could, but they’d be nowhere near as good!

The same should go for your sales and marketing functions.

It’s not all smooth sailing:

Bringing these two teams together can be a tricky process for several reasons. It isn’t easy to measure and takes a lot of people management but, if you want success for your business – it has to be done.

The more sales and marketing work in unison, the more successes the business will see. Most companies will have separate sales and marketing teams, but to reach your customers from all angles, they must work together.

Marketing campaigns are put in place to build brand awareness and inform customers of your services – this then generates leads. 

The sales team are there to convert those leads into new business opportunities by following up with the customers and giving more information.

Marketing works well on its own but where’s the sense in generating leads with no sales team to follow them up?

Sales can also generate their own leads, but this tends to be a much slower process, and why should they do it all themselves when they could be utilising the marketing leads too?

Time to make improvements:

The first thing to do is identify where you are right now:

  • What are the goals of your sales and marketing teams?
  • Do they have any common goals they could work on together?
  • Do the teams hold regular meetings together to understand each other’s activity?
  • Is there anything that needs to be addressed to streamline processes?

Once you’ve pulled all of this together, you can start to get a plan in place.

  1. Set common goals. If team objectives don’t align with one another, both will have issues converting leads. 
  2. Involve both teams. 68% of marketers think their sales team don’t utilise their content correctly to generate leads. If sales were more involved with marketing processes such as creating customer personas, there would be more interest and buy-in from the sales teams. Keeping sales involved also gives your marketing team much better insight into who the customers actually are. It’s sales that interact with them the most after all!
  3. Keep in contact. A crucial part to aligning any business areas is communication, sales and marketing are no different. Dependant on workload and company goals these should be held weekly, monthly or at the very least quarterly. Create a setting where both teams can share what they’ve been working on, collaboration opportunities moving forward as well as key areas of success and needing improvement. Meetings are also an excellent opportunity to cover new content ideas; not everything has to come from marketing!

The really important bit:

You must be able to measure the successes of your teams. Knowing what you should be measuring is even more vital. Metrics such as marketing qualified leads or ‘MQL’s help the marketing team keep track of different steps in their process, but not a huge amount else; so they’re not giving much back in the way of reporting. 

If your sales and marketing teams don’t know what they learn each month from analysing their reporting data, chances are they’re reporting on the wrong metrics. 

Key areas to track improvement are:

  • Lifetime customer value
  • ROI
  • Lead generation through your website and socials
  • Sales qualified leads

Keeping your marketing and sales teams informed not only of what their goals are but also how their success is being measured will ensure the alignment between to two teams will continue and bring further successes to the business.

Food for thought:

Not everything needs to be internal. There is any number of reasons why you would want to engage an external agency to support your business growth plans:

  • You need your sales function to have support through team alignment changes.
  • You’ve never had much success with internal sales, so you’re outsourcing completely.
  • You’re launching new products and need a separate team to market it, but don’t have the resources to hire a whole new team.

Whatever the reason, Intelligent Talk has the solution. 

If you think your team could do with an optimised sales stack – check out our advice here.

If you’re looking for a bit more heavy-duty support, get in touch and let’s see how we can help!

Published: 14th December 2020.

How to make the most of your marketing budget in 2021


We know that marketing planning season has usually been and gone by now. However, this has been a challenging year for us all. So don’t feel bad if you’re still catching your breath and haven’t finished planning for 2021 yet.

CMI’s recent research shows that 69% of respondents expect their budget to stay the same or decrease through the end of 2020 with more cuts expected into 2021.

Challenging times can often mean challenging budgets. All is not lost, when you focus on the right things a lot can still be achieved.

As the new year fast approaches, we’re hoping that our tips for making the most out of your marketing will help you to put your best foot forward for 2021!

There are many things to consider when making sure you get your budget right. Now more than ever it’s important to get it right! So we’ve put together a top ten list to help you make every penny count:

1. Past marketing campaigns

Focusing on what worked and what didn’t is a great place to start. Of course, 2020 has been anything but a standard year so it may be best to consider 2019 & 2018 campaigns too, so you get the best picture of your successes.

2. Individual items

Items that come out of your budget will be expenses that cover direct marketing costs, social media and marketing staff/agencies. What you need to consider is all the projects that may come out of your budget that you wouldn’t necessarily think would be attributed to marketing. An internal communications project for example.

You may think it should come out of the HR budget but they’re thinking it should be from marketing, always double check so you’re not caught out!

3. Annual expenses

Check for annual expenses increases that may need to be accounted for. Have your subscription prices increased, or new team members mean new licenses for software need to be bought? Another thing to check is price increases from agencies or freelancers that you use, the amount you allocate for them may not match their new prices.

4. One-time expenses

Is it time for a rebrand? A full website overhaul? One-off projects like these only occur once within the year and need separate budget allocation to make sure they are completed to the best standard. 

5. Industry trends

Does your company run trend or event specific campaigns that will require additional marketing? This could be the need to implement a campaign around an industry conference or a large-scale event like the Olympics.

6. Product or service launches

Are there any other plans that would require additional marketing efforts in planning or strategy capacity? If your company is planning on rolling out a new product or service, it will require a boost in marketing to get it launched successfully and maybe even its own branding.

7. Seasonal fluctuations

Are there times of year that income fluctuates? For instance, does the business see a drop in revenue when school starts in September? Consider a boost in marketing for July and August to off-set the drop – just remember to allocate budget for these months accordingly.

8. Competitors

Your competitors have a huge impact on your success so you should be keeping an eye on them too. How much are they spending on marketing? Are they planning on launching a new service or campaign? Remember, their audience is likely your audience too! Without the right intelligence and response on your part, their marketing can lead to loss of market share and leave you by the wayside.

9. The tipping point

There is always a level of investment that is ideal for getting the highest ROI, on the flip side, under spending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. Overspending will decrease ROI, but underspending means you won’t reach enough people to make a positive difference for your company – find that balance!

10. Flexibility

If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us all, it’s to be flexible. This year we have seen that cultures, lifestyles, businesses and customers can be fluid. There needs to be room to adapt throughout the year so that you can adapt to any challenges or unforeseen changes.

Budgeting for the year can be scary at the best of times and trust us, we know it’s even more daunting right now. 

Setting and sticking to your budget is very important, so is choosing the right partners to work with throughout the year to achieve your goals.

At Intelligent Talk, we pride ourselves on helping our partners to thrive. We serve as an extension to their internal teams and care just as much. We are respectful, honest, collaborative and always have our clients best interests at heart.

So now you’ve got an idea of how to tackle your budget plan, check out our blog here on how to cinch those deals!

Published: 7th December 2020.

Motivation: How do you beat the post-holiday slump?


be the boss, beat the holiday slump, motivation

We’ve got some good news and some bad news

The bad news is, summer is nearly over. We’ve had our last bank holiday – and what a scorcher it was. The good news is, it’s only about three months to Christmas! Before we know it, we’ll be ordering the turkey and digging out the tinsel. But what about these few weeks in-between?  What happens to motivation?

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Telemarketing vs Business Development


Business Development

What’s the difference again?

Business Development. Telemarketing. They are similar, right?

Well no! Although these days the terms seem to be interchangeable – in truth to move away from the negative connotations sometimes associated with anything ‘telephone’ – they are very different beasts. Whilst there’s a place for each, it’s good to understand the differences so that you can choose which is right for your business.

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