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Rocket GTM 🚀- My Top 10 Must Read GTM Books

Alfie Marsh
Alfie Marsh
Here’s a list of my favorite GTM book recommendations

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Must Read Go-To-Market Books
There’s one thing that comes up every week in conversations I have with founders… book recommendations.
There are a lot of answers that can be found in books. Unfortunately though, there just aren’t that many written on go-to-market strategies. However, amongst the few that exist these are my top recommendations.
P.S. You can click on any image for a link to Amazon.
Crossing the Chasm
A classic that helps you figure out which segments to go after and how to make the transition from your early adopters to the mass market. The ‘beach head segment’ and ‘the bowling alley’ frameworks are my favorite.
Four Steps to an Epiphany
One of the most important books on the list. It’s a must read, particularly in the $0-$3M revenue stage. Steve Blank gives us ‘The Customer Development’ Framework which underpins every go-to-market.
This book helped me avoid many classical mistakes, such as the one I talked about in last weeks newsletter ‘Avoid This Critical GTM Mistake’.
In a nutshell, it’s a step-by-step framework for any founder to take their product to market. No need to figure it out for yourself, there’s already a framework for it.
Scaling the Revenue Engine
Tom Mohr breaks down the lego bricks of building and scaling your revenue engine from $1M-$100M in ARR. The focus is around building a revenue engine as a whole system, rather than a sum of individual parts.
He also writes extensively on his Medium blog, currently publishing chapters from the book he’s writing now.
Lean Startup
One of the most popular books on startups. The Lean Startup is half story, half manual on how to approach building a startup. It’s one of the books we recommend new starters as it gives a fantastic overview of what it takes to work in a startup, from culture to operating principles.
Famous for the agile development framework which focuses on fast iteration to success instead of big, slow development with a big release.
I wrote about some of the concepts presented by Reid Hoffman in my previous newsletter ‘Business Model Innovation’. Blitzscaling is a method of scaling startups with a focus on ferocious speed and a ‘growth at all costs’ mentality.
Reid breaks down the core elements that are required to blitzscale which include Business Model Innovation, Strategy Innovation, and Management Innovation.
There’s a ton of real life examples; it’s both entertaining and practical. Although be warned, blitzscaling is only necessary in winner-takes-all markets so if you’re bootstrapped, it may not be the book for you.
Play Bigger
Play Bigger is all about positioning and category creation. Reading this book was a red pill moment for me. In a world of hyper competition the only way to stand out is radical differentiation and what better way to do that than create your own category.
Obviously Awesome
A similar topic to ‘Play Bigger’, however author April Dunford has been outspoken in her rejection of the category creation method for positioning. Obviously Awesome is her guide to effective positioning after years of consulting on exactly that.
The key difference in argument between Play Bigger and Obviously Awesome is that: Category creation is incredibly expensive and companies that have done it successfully tend to have already IPO’d, thus the success of B2B startups with less than $100M revenue is incredibly rare. Obviously Awesome however gives you a clear framework to understand and implement effective positioning at any stage.
A simple read that will give you lots of ideas. Traction is all about the channels available to startups to get customers. He outlines 19 of the most common channels available. It’s a must read in the early stages of your go-to-market when you’re still unsure of how to get your product in front of customers and bring in some revenue.
For a shortened version of this book you can also check out Gabriel’s blog post outlining the 19 channels here.
Monetizing Innovation
This book does what it says on the tin. It explains exactly how to monetize innovation. Pricing is a topic that doesn’t get a lot of love, but think about this: increasing pricing by 10% can increase revenue by 10% without selling anything. It’s the single most powerful way you can impact revenue.
Of course, it’s not as simple as increasing or decreasing pricing, but how should you structure it? Take Michelin tires for example: they managed to beat the competition by switching pricing from per tire to per mile.
Reid Hoffman talks about business model innovation in Blizscaling, this is a great book to see how you can innovate with pricing.
The Who Method to Hiring
Hiring is one of the main reasons you won’t hit target. Not your sales pitch, not the product feature that was shipped late, but hiring.
The Who Method to Hiring lays out a framework for building a repeatable hiring process and even going to the level of what questions to ask.
One of my favorite takeaways was this, when in your final interview ask the candidate to name their current boss. Ask them to spell out the name including surname. Write it down on a piece of paper. Then ask “if I was to call XXX, what would they tell me your top strength and weakness is?”... You’re more likely to get a realistic answer since they think you’ll actually reference check.
Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization
Jacco Van Der Koolj is one cool dude. Just check out his Youtube channel where he breaks down GTM models while mixing in house and trance music!
On a more serious note though, this six part series is fantastic for SaaS sales organizations. Jacco breaks down how you should build your pods of SDRs and AEs, what to consider at each stage of growth and more.
These books can be read in under 2 hours and pack a punch in terms of value to time invested. If you have an SDR, AE, or Customer Success rep already I’d recommend investing in the job role specific books too.
Wrapping it up
If you liked this list of recommendations you may also like my free public knowledge base. There is a complete list of my favorite books, articles, podcasts, videos and more.
I also love being introduced to new books and recommendations.
What books would be in your top 10?
Drop me a reply to this email and let me know!
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Alfie Marsh
Alfie Marsh @alfieisamarsh

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