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The Top 10 Sales Blog Posts from 2014

These were the Ambition Business Team's Top 10 Picks for the Best Sales Blog Posts from 2014. They inspired us, enlightened us, and most importantly, helped us close more deals.

Looking for elite Sales content? You've come to the right place. 

Lots of people blog about sales and the art of selling. And yet, you can pore through dozens of online articles on Sales Blogs, LinkedIn, and elsewhere without acquiring a single actionable insight, unique idea, or newfound sense of inspiration.

Finding timely content that offers an actionable solution, immediate value-add, or insightful perspective feels like striking gold. That kind of sales content is truly rare. And it's the kind our Business Team shares, curates, and starting today, recognizes on our own company Blog.

The Top 10 Sales Blog Posts from 2014

To create this list, we consulted our internal directory of impactful Sales content. The Blog Posts that won out shared a consensus trait. They helped us close more deals.

The following 10 Blog Posts are truly best-in-class. And without further ado, let's get to them: Here are Ambition's picks for the Top 10 Sales Blog Posts from 2014.

Don Draper's Four Rules of Selling | Chris Young

What makes an elite Sales Professional? How about the mentality of the greatest fictional Closer of all-time. The vastly underrated Chris Young brilliantly explains it in this inventive article.

Seeing is believing, and Chris helpfully includes links to Youtube clips of Mad Men's Don Draper performing his most epic pitches, negotiations and strategic discussion. Best of all, he re-conceptualizes the idea of the ultimate Sales Professional.

Hustle, persistence and persuasiveness may be the fundamental necessities of a successful Sales professional. But that extra bit of self-understanding, of knowing where you truly belong in the grand paradigm, is how you acquire the Don Draper-edge. 

Source: The Sales Wolf Blog  

If SaaS Products Sell Themselves, Why Do We Need Sales? | Mark Cranney

We loved this post so much we essentially plagiarized it in one of our own. We couldn't help it, as Cranney puts on a clinic here, dispassionately disspelling the myth of the easy SaaS sale.

If you're in the SaaS industry, read this article. In B2B sales? Read this article. Still selling a product on its features? Definitely read this article.

Bookmark it, make it your homepage, whatever it takes to ensure that you're following the guidance of Mark Cranney.

Source: Andreessen Horowitz 

All I Want is a Cold Email That Doesn't Suck! | Heather Morgan

If you're like us, you're the recipient of dozens of cold emails each day. And of those we actually read, maybe 5 percent are hitting all the key points Heather outlines in this piece. Even better, she places her insights in the context of a real-life example of an outstanding cold email.

The Principal of Salesfolk delivered some of her best content in Aaron Ross's sequel to Predictable Revenue, but her insights in this post from her Salesfolk blog are as actionable as sales content gets. There's a reason Heather spent 2014 becoming a consensus rising star in the Sales community.

If you're cold emailing regularly, get this article in front of your eyeballs. I'm glad that we did.

Source: SalesFolk

The 5 Biggest Mistakes All Sales Reps Make | Zorian Rotenberg

Our entire Business Team has been personally guilty of all five of these mistakes (two especially), so we can vouch that Zorian is not bluffing with that title.

What Zorian's really doing here is reverse-engineering the preaching of good fundamentals. Members of any profession -- sales or otherwise -- hate to feel like their core competencies are being challenged, but Zorian smartly couches this post with an "All" qualifier in the title.

And it's an accurate qualifier. We've all grappled with at least one of these mistakes in the time between writing this post and having Thanksgiving dinner. This is content with universal appeal.

Source: InsightSquared Sales & Marketing Analytics Blog

The Inability to Communicate Value Messages | Tamara Schenk 

This is a post we've taken to heart here at Ambition, and we recommend you do likewise.

Schenk tackles a premise -- the biggest inhibitor to sales success in 2014 -- that we've seen overwhelm her lesser peers. The topic itself is so vast that it borders on unwieldly, and yet Schenk makes a compelling case that value messaging, at present, is the Achilles Heel of the Sales Profession.

We're buying it, and you know why? Because great value messaging requires empathy, and we've spent the last decade depersonalizing just about every level of the sales process -- transitioning from cold calls to cold emails, from manually-typed emails to automated blaster campaigns, and from in-person prospect meetings to faceless web demos.

Source: Sales Enablement Perspectives

Startup Negotiations 101. How to Respond to Discount Inquiries | Steli Efti 

The self-proclaimed Chief Hustler (best job title ever) of Close.io saw the growing legion of Sales Professionals getting manhandled by their own prospects, and he wasn't about to take it lying down.

Here in the SaaS industry, the practice is particularly rampant, if only because discounting has effectively become standard industry practice and, for those of us in the Enterprise sphere, necessary to our survival.

What Efti's really calling for here is a line in the sand. The emergence of startup companies run by sales novices, coupled with a customer base whose savvy about pricing is ever-increasing, necessitates this article. Discounting is fine. Kowtowing to a prospect who's more interested in leveraging you into a bidding war is not.

Source: Close.io 

Sales Isn't a Laughing Matter, But Maybe It Should Be? | Lou Carlozo 

We see this problem all the time, especially within our own industry: Sales Professionals who seem to think that selling a technology product gives them license to sell using pitches as charisma-free and pre-programmed as a Windows update.

When you're tackling enterprise sales in this manner, you're ensuring failure. Product-market fit, robust engineering, and competitive pricing -- it all goes right out the window. Prospects just aren't interested in buying from Sales Professionals who are unconvincing, unprofessional, or lack personality.

Don't believe us? Lou does a pretty great job of spelling it out. Sales content that convincingly advocates fun and creativity as an actionable best practice? This is a rare breed of Sales content.

Source: Yesware | The Exchange 

Why The Greatest Sales Teams Just Kill It On Dec. 31 | Jason Lemkin

Wherein the curator of the industry-leading SaaStr Blog gives New Year's Eve closers their full due. A topic that, in the hands of lesser men, would have been a light-as-feather piece of fluff.

Not so with Lemkin. He cogently advocates that the New Year's Ever close is a bigger deal than most Sales Managers realize, the ultimate sign of sales executed to perfection. 

Is year-end closing acumen sales the ultimate signal of Sales leadership potential? The co-author of Predictable Revenue is convinced, and by the end of this piece, you'll be as well.

Source: SaaStr

6 Greatest Sales Management Lessons From Mark Roberge | Lauren Licata 

The Hubspot Blog is home to the creme-de-la-creme of Sales Blogging, and any list of Top Sales Content that gives no mention to the venerable Mark Roberge has dubious credibility, in our book. (The man grew HubSpot's Sales Team from 0 to a 450 employees in under 7 years).

Unfamiliar with the New School of Sales strategy that's overtaken SaaS and other industries' sales teams? This is the perfect introduction. Lauren Licata, an up-and-coming Sales writer in her own right and author of SaaSy.com, asks all the right questions.

While Roberge's pontifications might go beyond the bounds of actionability for many Sales Orgs, that doesn't diminish from the piece's other unique virtue: Illuminating the most emergent trends in B2B Sales Operations.

Source: Baseline | The Base CRM Blog

Customer Success: The Definitive Guide | Lincoln Murphy

You may be thinking: What's a Customer Success post doing on this list? Let us explain.

Lincoln Murphy took the confines of traditional Sales blogging and threw them out the window. This is a tabulated, curated guidebook to the entire customer acquisition and retainment process.

In the big scheme, Sales is invariably intertwined with Marketing and Customer Success, with each process informing, directing and driving the other. Trust us, there's plenty of actionable Sales advice to be found amongst all the content Murphy devotes to discussing customer acquisition in the opening chapters. 

If you have time, we also recommend setting aside a weekend afternoon and giving the Customer Success section a look-through. This text is truly an homage to Business Team interdepence, as Murphy weaves numerous Sales insights throughout its entirety.

Source: Sixteen Ventures SaaS Growth Strategies Blog

Bonus: Aaron Ross on Building a Sales Machine | Scott Britton 

What happens when you bring two of the brightest minds in Sales together? An hour of intensive, actionable and inspiring Sales discussion. 

Okay, so this one's really a podcast. What can we say? One participant was the subject of four Ambition blog posts and an eBook. The other was the original forerunner of our Sales Influencer Series. And both had juggernaut years in 2014. Just listen and enjoy.

Source: Life-Long Learner

Who Inspired Your Sales Growth in 2014?

We want to know who to be reading in 2015, so cough up your sources! Feel free to tweet us your or add them in the comments section below.  More sites we love: SalesHacker | Sales From The Streets | Quora 

Heartfelt thanks to all of our featured writers. To learn how Ambition can impact your Sales Team, visit our Product Tour and Academy Page. Or, just contact us. Thanks for reading, now let's crush 2015.

Ambition: The Sales Management & Motivation Platform

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs every sales department, data source, and performance metric on one system.

Ambition clarifies and publicizes real-time performance analytics for your entire sales organization. Using a drag-and-drop interface, non-technical sales leaders can build custom scorecards, contests, reports, and TVs.

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for managing millennial sales teams. Hear from our customers below.

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