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The Apex Predator's List of Sales Pump-Up Songs

The Apex Predator replaces InsideSales.com's list with 15 better songs to fire up your sales reps.

The Apex Predator revises a misguided playlist from InsideSales.com.

Hello again, readers. Before we dive in, I want to start this post with the following disclaimer: InsideSales.com PR Journalist Leo Dirr seems like a great guy. My reliable sources tell me that he's a Stuart Scott fan, high-stakes poker player and freestyle rap battler. All admirable traits in my book.

This isn't personal, Leo. This is strictly business. Your list of "15 Songs to Get Your Sales Reps Pumped Up" is, in fact, the most ridiculous sales blog post I've ever read. It's downright staggering. And while I'm sure no one who actually read it took it seriously, I've taken the liberty to go through your list, blow-by-blow, and explain where the catastrophic errors in judgment occurred. Not only that, I'm righting the ship entirely by replacing each song with my personal, hand-picked choices of true sales pump-up songs. Here we go. 

The Apex Predator's Sales Pump-Up PlaylistTM

Like so many misguided, middle-aged sales and marketing professionals, my father included, Leo seems slightly out of touch with what kind of music "pumps up" today's young people. 

Leo, I'm sure you wrote your original post with great intentions. But the second you brought Natalie Merchant into a sales pump-up playlist, you crossed the line. Also, you created an entire playlist specifically tailored towards young sales reps and included only one rap song. That goes beyond poor taste. That's a crime against humanity. 

But fret not, dear readers. Order is about to be restored. I give you my full critique of Leo's list, complete with 15 bulletproof selections to add to your sales pump-up song library. 

Sales Pump-Up Song #1. Hustlin’. Rick Ross

Replacing: "You Gotta Want it" by Roberta Gold.

Why it's better: I've never heard of Roberta Gold. You've never heard of Roberta Gold. Spotify has never heard of Roberta Gold. Google thinks I'm looking up a New Jersey-area social worker. 

Alas, I eventually found "You Gotta Want It." And I've gotta tell you, it's worse than you expected. This song takes the worst traits from every soulless, manufactured 80s pop song and makes them suck even harder. The only reason your reps ever need to hear this song is as a punishment for slacking. If you need an explicitly motivational track, "Hustlin'" by Rick Ross is as to-the-point as it gets.

Backup choice: "Push It" by Rick Ross.

Sales Pump-Up Song #2. Hustle Hard. Ace Hood

Replacing: "You Get What You Give" by New Radicals.

Why it's better: I'm not going to lie, I love this song. Leo was almost on point with this one. Almost. 

Sample lyric: "We're flat broke, but hey we do it in style!/The bad rich/God's flying in for your trial!" Hmmmm. Is this really a sales pump up anthem? Or a pump-up anthem for Greenpeace volunteers? 

Don't send your sales team mixed signals. Play the lyrically on-message "Hustle Hard" by Ace Hood and save the New Radicals for Karaoke night.

Backup choice: "Bugatti" by Ace Hood.

Sales Pump-Up Song #3. Dead Presidents II. Jay Z

Replacing: "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

Why it's better: Quick aside: it's worth noting that "Lose Yourself" is the only rap song on Leo's list. That's right, the entire genre of rap and Natalie Merchant get equal billing in Leo's world. 

Clearly meant to be the edgy choice on Leo's list, "Lose Yourself" is, regrettably, the least edgy rap song this side of Kriss Kross. Overexposed, overplayed and out-of-date in 2016. Your reps were sick of hearing this track 10 years ago.

Know what they're not sick of? The best track off Jay-Z's debut album. Plus, H.O.V.A. is an infinitely better real-life role model for a sales professional. And the winner is...

Backup choice: "Takeover" by Jay-Z.

Sales Pump-Up Song #4. Grindin'. Clipse

Replacing: "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant.

Why it's better: First of all: what the f***? Second of all, if you haven't yet, please read Leo's writeups for each song choice. I'll leave this one here.

"Natalie Merchant is one of the world’s greatest songwriters. This touching tune about a young woman facing unimaginably long odds speaks to the strength that we all possess." 

If you say so, Leo.

The fact is, this is a song your reps only listen to at a dentist office, or somewhere else they're required to be. And, God willing, sedated. Whereas Clipse's "Grindin'" is the true hustler's anthem.  

Backup choice: "B.M.F." by Rick Ross.

Sales Pump-Up Song #5. Hustler’s P.O.M.E. Jim Jones

Replacing: "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.

Why it's better: Let's start with the fact that no Christina Aguilera song should ever make a "pump up songs" list, of any kind.  Okay, maybe "Beautiful" in some cases, but definitely not where your sales team is involved.

By contrast, Jim Jones's Hustler's P.O.M.E. album (yes, the entire album) makes perfect sense for a sales pump-up song list. It has 20 songs, roughly 17 of which are Jim Jones hyping his status as an iconic hustler/baller. Christina is no match for that kind of consistency. And she never turned "BALLIN!" into a national catchphrase.

Backup choice: N/A.

Sales Pump-Up Song #6. Gimme the Loot. Biggie Smalls

Replacing: "Live Like We're Dying" by Kris Allen.

Why it's better: If your sales reps are soft as Charmin, sure, Kris Allen is a great choice.

Honestly, I could go on but this one is too easy. The next time you're thinking about queueing up some Kris Allen (or any other American Idol winner, for that matter) at the office, stop. Get up. Go outside. Grab some fresh air. Then come back into the office and put on Notorious B.I.G.

Backup choice: "Notorious Thugs" by Notorious B.I.G.

Sales Pump-Up Song #7. Paid in Full. Eric B. & Rakim

Replacing: "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Why it's better: The Pred abides, but I'm not sure what CCR is doing on a sales rep pump up songs list. Leo, great song, but your cryptic write-up proved less than helpful in explaining why it made your list. 

"Sometimes you just need to dive into something and never look back. What’s the worst thing that can happen, right?" 

I have zero clue what that means, but then again, I haven't hit a bong today. "Paid in Full," though? Needs no explanation as to sales grind applicability.

Backup choice: "Just to Get a Rep" by Gang Starr.

Sales Pump-Up Song #8. Move that Dope. Future

Replacing: "I Wanna Be Rich" by Calloway.

Why it's better: This Calloway song ... wow.

I thought I knew vapid, manufactured 80s pop, but Leo pulled this one from the deepest, darkest depths of Reagan-era radio-friendly unit shifters. Of course, the best thing about this selection is Leo's writeup.

"Wanting to be rich is only half the battle. What are you going to do to get there?"

Kind of a d*** move to present that challenge after making us listen to this song, which offers zero clue. Also: Odds that Calloway is living under a bridge right now are somewhere between 98-99 percent. Let's thank God that Future, Pusha T, Pharrell and Casino are here.

Backup choice: "F*** Up Some Commas" by Future.

Sales Pump-Up Song #9. C.R.E.A.M. Wu-Tang Clan

Replacing: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.

Why it's better: What better way to fire up the troops than putting on pop music's greatest ode to complacency?

I'll spare you Leo's write-up (as if this song could ever be defensible) and present a better one, courtesy of Public Enemy.  

We in the business like to call that "real talk." Speaking of real talk, "C.R.E.A.M." by the Wu-Tang Clan is an infinitely more appropriate pump up song for your sales force.

Backup choice: "Criminology" by Raekwon.

Sales Pump-Up Song #10. Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Fitty

Replacing: "Win" by Brian McKnight.

Why it's better: I haven't listened to a Brian McKnight song since, I believe, the 7th grade - when "One" was the go-to slow jam at every middle school dance.

Thanks to Leo, I just had to break that streak in order to confirm that, yes, Brian McKnight still sucks. I can picture Owen Wilson's character in Wedding Crashers listening to this song on repeat while reading his "Don't kill myself" books.

The good news: With 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' (yes, the entire album) you get the same general motifs as "Win," without the side effect of making your reps feel like they're in an anti-depressant commercial.

Backup choice: "Hate It Or Love It (G-Unit Remix)" by The Game.

Sales Pump-Up Song #11. My Kitchen. Gucci Mane

Replacing: "We are the Champions" by Queen.

Why it's better: Putting "We Are the Champions" on a pump up songs list is always the surest sign of throwing it in.

As if every single sales manager wasn't already familiar with Queen, a band synonymous with stadium-ready pump-up music. On a positive side note: Leo does deserve credit for not putting U2 on this list. Great work, Leo. 

With that said, you should absolutely replace "We are the Champions" with the equally self-affirming "My Kitchen" by Gucci Mane. 

Backup choice: "Bricks" by Gucci Mane.

Sales Pump-Up Song #12. Ante Up (Remix). M.O.P.

Replacing: "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" by Bryan Adams.

Why it's better: Just a flabbergasting choice, here. To his credit, Leo delivers a semi-cogent argument that at first glance, makes sense.

"Some sales reps are motivated the most by the fact that they must provide for their families. Everything they do, they do it for them. Bryan Adams would be so proud."

Would he though, Leo?

And while I can appreciate the family provider sentiment, there are roughly a million better choices out there than this dose of audio novocaine. Use the "Ante Up (Remix)" to wake your sales team up.

Backup choice: "Close Your Eyes (And Count To)" by Run the Jewels.

Sales Pump-Up Song #13. Big Rings. Drake

Replacing: "How Do You Like Me Now" by Toby Keith.

Why it's better: While we're here, let me say that Leo Dirr is literally my Dad, in terms of music taste. The only thing missing is the misguided attempt at a "contemporary rock track that proves I'm cool." Read: Nickelback.

I do like Leo's write-up for "How Do You Like Me Now," though. Which is why I've replaced Toby Keith (way past washed-up) with Drake.

Backup choice: "0 to 100/The Catch Up" by Drake.

Sales Pump-Up Song #14. Thug Motivation: 101. Jeezy

Replacing: "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones.

Why it's better: What is it with tech executives and their spectacular, catastrophic misuse of "Start Me Up?"  Seriously, click the link. When Keith Richards finally dies one day, it will be from watching that video. 

Instead of "Start Me Up," put on Thug Motivation: 101 (yes, the entire album) by Young Jeezy. He's the rap game's answer to Tony Robbins.

Backup choice: "The Recession (Every song)" by Young Jeezy.

Sales Pump-Up Song #15. Brass in Pocket. Pretenders

Replacing: "Standing Outside the Fire" by Garth Brooks.

Why it's better: If I ask my reps, "Hit the phones or listen to this corny Garth Brooks song?" It's "Hit the phones" 99 times out of 100.

Okay, maybe this song is inadvertently motivating. It's still getting replaced by this list's token classic rock song: The Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket." Chrissie Hynde is a total baller. And I had to give Leo credit for the 1 rap song he included on his list.

Leo, I'm sorry for coming down so hard on you. This has all been in good fun. So in the spirit of goodwill, I chose a song I think you'll appreciate as my final backup choice. 

Backup choice: "Hip to Be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News.

All joking aside - American Psycho is one of my favorite movies ... and you can't f*** with Huey Lewis and the News.

Read More from the Apex Predator

The Apex Predator writes regularly for Ambition. He is contractually obligated to recommend scheduling a demo to see Ambition's sales management platform. Read his previous articles below.

  1. Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  2. More Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  3. Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator
  4. The Return of the Apex Predator
  5. The Apex Predator's 5 Essential Sales Articles
  6. Sales Mailbag with the Apex Predator
  7. 15 Real Songs to Pump Up Your Sales Reps
  8. Why You're Losing the War for Talent
  9. The 50 Worst Things Happening in Sales Right Now
  10. The Apex Predator Explains the Laws of Power

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