26 Books Every B2B Marketing Leader Needs to Read

Emily Kingland
April 24, 2020
26 Books Every B2B Marketing Leader Needs to Read

After a while, marketing books start to sound the same as each other. It’s like all of the recycled B2B marketing themes got together and formed a big, amorphous blob.

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At times, it’s impossible to even pick one out from the other. Recycled ideas, unoriginal anecdotes, dated statistics. C’mon people, we’re better than this!

I figured I’d go ahead and make a list of some of the top B2B marketing books for 2020. These works offer applicable insights and groundbreaking ideas (blob-free).

After reading one of these 26 B2B marketing books, you won’t feel like you just went in circles. You’ll have tangible takeaways from practitioners who are following their own advice.

What are the top B2B marketing books for 2020? The top B2B marketing books for 2020 include:

  1. Unleash Possible by Samantha Stone
  2. ABM is B2B by Sangram Vajre and Eric Spett
  3. Content-Based Networking by James Carbary
  4. The UnAmerican Dream by Carlos Hidalgo
  5. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
  6. How to Get a Meeting with Anyone by Stu Heinecke
  7. Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman
  8. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
  9. Herding Tigers by Todd Henry
  10. Talk Triggers by Jay Baer & Daniel Lemin

Just to name a few! 

Digging a little bit deeper, I realized something special about this set of books. These B2B marketing books address B2B marketing core competencies similar to those possessed by the top Chief Marketing Officers in the world

Those competencies include: 

  • Agility 
  • Technological Skills 
  • Obsession
  • Brand voice 
  • Storytelling
  • Wearing different hats

With B2B marketing being a key pillar in any organization, it’s important to elevate who you are and what you do to stay competitive. 

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A great way to do this is by reading content from individuals who have seen great success. Reading one book is a start, but the real magic happens when you read multiple. The reason being, when you read more than one book on the same topic, you digest various perspectives and out pops one that is unique to you. 

It is that unique perspective that will give you a competitive advantage individually and for your company. 

Disclaimer: The content you are about to see is going to rock your B2B marketing world. Down with the blob!

26 B2B Marketing Books for 2020 that every marketer should read (or listen to)

1. Rehumanize Your Business by Ethan Beute and Stephen Pacinelli

My sales professor always told us every job is a sales job. With this (very true) saying in mind, one has to ask themselves, “What am I going to do to stand out?” Ethan Beute and Stephen Pacinelli give you all the answers with this 21st-century perspective that shows B2B marketers how to revolutionize their relationships with clients and colleagues using video. 


2. Unleash Possible by Samantha Stone

If you’re familiar with the industry, you know B2B marketing is not what it once was years ago. Today, buyers have more power than ever and it’s a struggle for marketers to find actionable insight into how to navigate these new waters. Samantha Stone saw this struggle and created a compass called Unleash Possible. This is no ‘regular’ book. Instead, it’s a manual that lays down the foundation for B2B marketers to become trusted partners for sales teams.


3. ABM is B2B by Sangram Vajre and Eric Spett

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has become powerful in the B2B marketing space and this book is the holy grail for any aspiring C-suite executive. This manual breaks down, step-by-step, how to succeed in implementing ABM... which, in turn, makes your business more LEAN, efficient, and effective with its marketing spend. 


4. The UnAmerican Dream by Carlos Hidalgo

Answer this question for me: Would you be willing to risk it all, your happiness, close relationships, and yourself, to see success? At one point, this happened to Carlos Hidalgo. This business-themed coming of age story gives you a first-hand account of what it means to lose it all, gain it back, and steps you can take to find fulfillment with everything around you. Whether you’re in B2B marketing or not...this book is a must-read.


5. Content-Based Networking by James Carbary

Are you looking for a way to create incredible content while simultaneously creating genuine relationships with the decision makers that purchase your product or service? If you answered yes, then you NEED this book. Content-Based Networking will teach you a proven framework to understand your customers better, better enable your sales team, and build genuine relationships that turn into revenue. 


6. How to Get a Meeting with Anyone by Stu Heinecke

Gatekeepers are similar to sharks. They can smell a salesperson from a mile away and can have you running out of the front door. Stu Heinecke gives you the creative tools (and cartoons) necessary to reach individuals who were once impossible to reach. B2B marketers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief and strategically start taking charge of who they’re meeting. 


7. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Lucky number 7, am I right? Donald Miller agrees and presents ‘Building a StoryBrand’ with 7 part framework for B2B marketers. This framework will show you how to become a storyteller, communicate across all levels of an organization, and simplify your marketing messaging. 


8. Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman

Winning new business shouldn’t be your goal. A company’s goal should be the result of their product or service drives for the customer. In this book, Coleman shares the 8 phases of a customer’s journey, and how you can build systems and processes to create an unforgettable customer experience. The book is packed with data and inspiring stories that will leave you wanting more.


9. Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk offers a crash course into how crucial it is to understand social media platforms. The case studies presented in Crushing It! will show B2B marketers a modern go-to-market approach that drives revenue and grows companies.


10. Play Bigger by Christopher Lochhead

Picture this. You created a game, know all the rules and absolutely dominate. Play Bigger makes that a reality through a new concept called ‘Category Creation.’ This market disruptor of a concept is one that may very well catapult your company’s brand into becoming the world's next Amazon, Uber, or IKEA. 


11. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Most people are taught the core foundations of a business which consists of marketing, strategy, finance, and technology. What if I told you there was another? Would you be interested? Patrick Lencioni uncovers what it truly means to be a healthy business and how a second-to-none culture will transform the way you do work. Whether you’re leading a marketing team, or an entire organization...this book is for you.


 12. Aligned to Achieve by Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin

B2B executives around the world share a similar struggle. That struggle is making sure their sales and marketing teams are on the same page. When they’re not, your bottom line is at risk, performance dwindles and any advantage you did have in the market is gone. Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin saw this dilemma and created ‘Aligned to Achieve,’ to share a proven approach to successfully aligning your marketing and sales teams.


13. Driving Demand by Carlos Hidalgo

One of the most important things a B2B company can do in the 21st-century to drive demand for their products. In this book, Hidalgo shares first-hand accounts of how individuals transformed their businesses through the art and science of demand generation. 


14. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

If you follow her on Instagram, found one of her blog posts on the MarketingProfs website, or subscribed to her incredibly popular newsletter...you know first hand that Ann Handley has discovered the secret to capturing peoples’ attention. Her secret? Brilliant and relatable copywriting that makes you feel like you’re sitting across the table from her at your favorite coffee shop. Handley shares her playbook for writing unforgettable copy in this book...and you’re gonna love it.


15. This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better by Neville Medhora

Only 54 pages? And I’ll become a better writer? Sign me up! This quick 45 min read has concepts that will blow your mind and make you think about copywriting in a way you’ve never thought about before. Neville Medhora breaks down how to write in a more engaging way that will make your blog posts, emails, and social captions significantly better. 


16. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

At some point in our lives we’ve all wished for success. In The Go-Giver, a young man named Joe did the same until he found himself a mentor who helped him shift his focus to what really mattered. It wasn't about Joe in the end, it was about those around him. This age-old story will keep you humble, and teach you what it really means to give.


17. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

David Schwartz lays out what you need to do to find the positivity you need to enjoy where you work, have a fulfilling personal life and give back to your community. He proves that you don’t need to be a superhero or highly talented to love what you do every day. Instead, you just need to understand yourself, your mind, and the actions you take day after day. 


18. The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

The best leaders are those who are the most self-aware. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they understand why they respond the way they do in different situations. By pursuing self-awareness, you too can grow your leadership and thrive in any role (not just B2B marketing). Cron’s book walks you through something called the Enneagram, which is a typology of nine interconnected personality types. After reading the book, you’ll have a much better understanding of yourself (and the other people on your team!).


19. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse

If you could study the most productive people in the world, what do you think you would find? Personally, I would expect to see them reading a lot. Kevin Kruse, on the other hand, found that these elite groups of individuals put in the time to the test and became extremely productive. Sneak peek: time blocking will change your life. Find out the rest of their secrets in this quick read.


20. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

By definition, Candor means “the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.” Just imagine if your entire office, top-down, was open and honest. Time would be saved, teams would be stronger and results would be impactful. B2B marketing leaders can agree that this book has the potential to drastically change the way they lead. 


21. Atomic Habits by James Clear

We all have bad habits and we can all agree they’re not easy to break. This book will teach not just how to break your bad habits...but it will also show you how to create good habits. Atomic Habits is practical and incredibly actionable. There’s a reason this book has a GAJILLION reviews...because it’s that good.

  • 4.8/5.0 Stars with over 4573 reviews
  • 319 Pages
  • Audiobook by Audible
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 min
  • James Clear’s podcast is coming soon!

22. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

This is another book that will help you develop your leadership (can you tell we think leadership is critical to successful B2B marketing?). In this book, Wiseman unpacks two distinct leadership styles: being a genius and being a genius maker. She then goes on to make the case why being a genius maker is a much more effective approach to producing incredible results within an organization.


23. The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly

In this fictional story, the author shows leaders how to bridge the gap between their employees’ current jobs and the future they dream of. When you bridge this gap, you turn employees into raving fans of your company. Here at Sweet Fish, we’ve incorporated what we learned from this book into monthly Dream Sessions for each of our employees. These Dream Sessions allow our leaders to understand the hopes and dreams of their team members...and puts the organization in a position to help them turn their dreams into reality. When you help someone achieve their dreams, they not only stick around (employee retention for the win), but they end up doing incredible work that delivers results.


24. Herding Tigers by Todd Henry

As a B2B marketing leader, how do you lead a group of creatives to success? Creatives are known to draw outside the lines and they need a leader who can help them grow in their unique way. Read (or listen to) Herding Tigers and learn how you can lead a team of creatives to ultimate success.


25. Who by Geoff Smart & Randy Street

Hiring the right talent is critical to the success of a B2B marketing team. In this book, Geoff Smart & Randy Street lay out a 4-step plan designed for hiring the perfect candidate for any role. 


26. Talk Triggers by Jay Baer & Daniel Lemin

With alpacas on the front cover, I knew in my heart this was going to be a hit. And Talk Triggers did not disappoint. This book shows B2B marketers how to craft incredible customer experiences that get their customers talking. The power of ‘word of mouth’ is real, and this book will show you how to make it happen.


That's all folks!

At Sweet Fish, one of our core values is to ‘Never Stop Learning,’ and we hope this article inspires you to do just that. These books are packed with insights that will help you lead better, communicate more clearly, and ultimately drive revenue for your organization.

If books aren’t enough to satisfy your hunger for learning...make sure to check out The B2B Growth Show. It’s a daily podcast for B2B marketers (that’s right, we said daily)... and we think you’ll love it. :)