There are plenty of blogs and websites dedicated to SaaS out there, but sometimes nothing beats a good book. An expertly written book offers a great way to learn in-depth strategies and tactics that you can explore in your day-to-day tasks and along your long-term career path.
It’s always a good idea to explore new resources to continually grow your knowledge, so I asked a few experts to recommend their favorite SaaS growth books. Some are sales related, some offer a fresh perspective on content marketing and others cover great growth hacking techniques. Suggestions came from a variety of experts, including Max Alts, Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, Phil Wainewright, Aaron Ross, Ian Moyse, Andy Mura and more.
So, get one or more of the books listed below, read them cover to cover and enthusiastically apply the techniques these experts reveal to help your SaaS business enter new realms of growth.
Without further ado, here some of the most recommended growth books from SaaS experts:
Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High-Velocity Sales Machine
Hacking Sales helps you transform your sales process using the next generation of tools, tactics and strategies. Author Max Altschuler (CEO and founder of Sales Hacker Inc) has dedicated his business to helping companies build modern, efficient, high-tech sales processes that generate more revenue with fewer resources. In this book, he shows the most effective changes you can make to evolve your sales and continually raise the bar.
Behind the Cloud
Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, tells the (untold) story of the $50 billion cloud software company he launched in 1999. In Behind the Cloud, Benioff shares the strategies that have inspired employees, turned customers into evangelists, leveraged an ecosystem of partners and allowed innovation to flourish. This is a must-read for anyone who works in cloud software!
(Recommended by Phil Wainewright)
The 48 Laws of Power
Released in 1998, this is often considered one of the most powerful books ever written, for business and beyond. The 48 Laws describes world leaders and how they dominated. Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this definitive guide helps readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli had to learn the hard way.
(Recommended by Max Alts)
Value as a Service: Embracing the Coming Disruption
In Value as a Service, enterprise software and spend management expert and Coupa CEO Bernshteyn provides step-by-step insights for today’s business leaders on how they can better deliver and measure value to customers. The book sends a loud and clear message – disruption is coming. Given that business models are shifting across all industries, Rob Bernshteyn explains the areas of change that will be necessary for a company to provide value as a service.
(Recommended by Phil Wainewright)
From Impossible To Inevitable
From Impossible to Inevitable details the hypergrowth playbook of record-breaking companies like Zenefits, Salesforce and EchoSign. Whether you’re a small business owner or have a $1 billion firm, you can use the insights from these notable companies to learn what it really takes to break your own revenue records. The authors show how you can grow your company by developing repeatable processes that will consistently drive revenue and increase your growth.
(Recommended by Aaron Ross)
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, he offers essential advice on building and running a startup. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. This is an invaluable read for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to start their own ventures for the first time.
(Recommended by Aaron Ross)
The Lean Startup
Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog “Startup Lessons Learned.” The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever. Rather than wasting time describing elaborate business plans, the book offers entrepreneurs in companies of all sizes a way to test, adapt and adjust their vision continuously.
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t
In Scaling Up, Verne Harnish, founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and his team share practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business. The book focuses on the four major decisions every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. It’s written so everyone from frontline employees to senior executives can contribute to the growth of a firm.
(Recommended by Pierre Lechelle)
Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue
Customer success is the hottest B2B movement since the advent of the subscription business model, and this one-of-a-kind guide shows you how to make it work in your company. The three co-authors, Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman and Lincoln Murphy, show you how to kickstart your customer-centric revolution and make your investment in success stick for the long term.
(Recommended by Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré)
Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy
Among the many books about digital transformation, this one by technology guru Ray Wang is an excellent read. He shows how organizations can surf the waves of change and still keep their promises to customers. Learn why companies must pivot with and ahead of major social, organizational and technological shifts or risk being left behind.
100 Days of Growth
by Sujan Patel & Rob Wormley (eBook)
100 Days of Growth brings you 100 effective growth tactics based on the strategies and techniques that experts Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley have used to help hundreds of clients move the needle and actually grow their businesses over the last decade. You’ll get to read about examples of real companies and people that have or are currently using these growth strategies to get ahead in their industries.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
B2B content marketing can be incredibly boring. But it doesn’t have to be. Ann Handley is a true content guru and a marketing veteran, and Everybody Writes is a wonderful guide to attracting and retaining customers with stellar online communication. It offers great guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.
(Recommended by Joel Klettke)
Content Strategy for the Web
This is another great content-focused guide that every business, even SaaS, should take a look at. Content Strategy for the Web will teach you how to create and deliver useful, usable content for your online audiences, when and where they need it most. Without meaningful content, your website isn’t worth much to your key audiences. Find out how to create smarter, more accurate, more compelling content over time and how to analyze your results.
(Recommended by Joel Klettke)
Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers
I personally believe that social selling should be given more credit and importance. Sales professionals need to develop relationships with their prospects through social networks to reach them early in the decision-making process. Social Selling will teach you a great deal about the power of social media, providing a practical, step-by-step outline for mastering the skills and techniques necessary to achieve social sales. These include developing a high-quality community, building trust, developing authority and influence, and connecting with changemakers.
(Recommended by Ian Moyse)
The Elements of User Onboarding
If you want to improve your onboarding experience, I recommend starting with this enjoyable, hands-on 130-page guide. It focuses on SaaS businesses and provides a lot of wonderful, real-world examples. So if you write or design how people sign up for your product, or how users set-up their accounts, this book is a must-read!
(Recommended by Andy Mura)
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising
A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb and Twitter didn’t spend a dime on traditional marketing to get started. There were no press releases, TV commercials or billboards. Instead, these companies relied on a new strategy called growth hacking to reach people with modest marketing budgets.
In Growth Hacker Marketing, bestselling author Ryan Holiday talks about these new growth strategies and provides valuable examples and case studies for aspiring growth hackers. Whether you work in a start-up or for a Fortune 500 company, this book provides a road map for building awareness fast.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked is based on Nir Eyal’s years of research, consulting and practical experience. It shows you how to design experiences, products and services that users love and helps you uncover the secrets of businesses that are able to keep users coming back. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders and anyone else who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.
(Recommended by Andy Mura)
Product Demos That Sell: How to Deliver Winning SaaS Demos
by Steli Efti (Kindle Edition)
With nearly 20 years of experience in sales and entrepreneurship, Steli trained thousands of founders, sales directors, and sales rep to build sustainable and predictable revenue for their SaaS companies. If you’re a SaaS startup founder or sales rep, this eBook will teach you to ensure prospects attend your demos, discover why your demos fail to close the deal, better differentiate yourself from competitors and so much more!
Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success
This great book walks readers through the process of creating and executing their own custom-made growth hacking strategy. It is a must read for any marketer, entrepreneur, innovator or manger looking to replace wasteful big bets and “spaghetti-on-the-wall” approaches with more consistent, replicable, cost-effective, and data-driven results.
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
As Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares learned from their own experiences, building a successful company is hard. For every startup that grows to the point where it can go public or be profitably acquired, hundreds of others sputter and die.
Traction teaches you the 19 channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business. Not to mention it also gathers awesome interviews with more than 40 successful founders, including Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (reddit), Paul English (Kayak), and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot).
I hope that this list provides enough books to keep you busy for a while – and to help transform your business. Already read everything on the list, but still hungry for more knowledge?
Follow us on social media to get more suggestions, or check out our resources section to find webinars, whitepapers and other useful content designed to help you accelerate your software, SaaS or online services business.
To expand your library, knowledge, and business even further, check out this list of must-read entrepreneurial books. Give them a read!
Did one of these books provide an insight that took your business to the next level? Tell us all about it in the comments.