15 Must-Read SaaS Books for Entrepreneurs - UserActive

15 Must-Read SaaS Books for Entrepreneurs

For anyone who works in SaaS, this list is for you! Here are 15 must-read SaaS books for entrepreneurs.

Behind the Cloud

By Marc Benioff & Carlye Adler

To start our list of 15 must-read SaaS books for entrepreneurs, we have Behind the Cloud. Everyone knows Salesforce. But do you know how Salesforce survived the dotcom collapse of 2001, defined itself as a standout leader of the cloud computing revolution, and ultimately sparked a $46 billion dollar industry? Marc Benioff is the founder, CEO, and chairman of salesforce.com. In this book, he shares how he and his team pulled from technology, philanthropic models, and new business to create a tailored approach to running Salesforce. Marc shares the strategies that were key to inspiring employees and allowing innovation to thrive. This book will help anyone looking to change the game. It will also help entrepreneurs, founders, and business leaders get noticed, innovate in a superior way, and speed up growth.

Predictable Review

Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler

What was the sales specialization system and outbound sales process that helped add $100 million in recurring revenue to Salesforce.com? This book will tell you all about it. They just about doubled their enterprise growth, without making any cold calls. This book will assist you in building a sales machine, whether you’re a sales VP, CEO, or entrepreneur. All the most relevant topics are covered in Predictable Revenue. Generating numerous high-quality leads, creating predictable revenue, achieving your financial goals and so much more! You don’t want to miss what’s been called “The Sales Bible of Silicon Valley”.

From Impossible to Inevitable

By Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin

It may seem hard to believe that doubling the size of your business doesn’t depend on luck, working harder, or privileges. From Impossible to Inevitable gives you all the details on the hypergrowth tactics of some of the biggest companies in SaaS. The insights you gain from this book will help your business, whether you’re a $100,00 or $1 billion business. Authors Ross and Lemkin share a template to follow to achieve and sustain faster growth. If you’re tired of the ups and downs of the revenue rollercoaster, this book will show you how to escape them.

Zero to One

By Peter Thiel

Technology is improving rapidly, and the IT world is taking over the planet, reaching far beyond Silicon Valley.

There are still many inventions waiting to be created, and Thiel shows readers how we can find ways to create them. He states that progress can be made in any industry, as long as you learn the most important skill a leader can master: thinking for yourself.

If you want to be the next Bill Gates or Larry Page, this book will help you gain the right perspective you need to excel. The thing is, if you do what someone else knows how to do already, you’re not really moving the needle. On the other hand, if you do something new, you can escape competition altogether because your business will be different than the rest.

Product Led Growth

By Wes Bush

Does the idea of your product selling itself pique your interest?

Contrary to what the sales industry claims, your product can sell itself. Just look at software businesses like Slack, Hubspot, and Dropbox – all successful, all making millions. None of them have ever reached out to a sales rep. The evidence supporting the power of Product-Led Growth is strong, and this book delves into this new way of selling products.

Bush explains how your product, rather than the traditional use of costly sales teams, can be the main driver to acquiring, converting and retaining customers. He fills you in on why you should ditch the traditional sales process and opt for PLG to turn your product into a sales machine. Bush also has helpful tips on deciding between using a free trial, freemium, or hybrid model for your business.

Getting Acquired: How I Built and Sold My SaaS Startup

By Andrew Gazdecki

Andrew Gazdecki has a pretty impressive track record. In his twenties, he founded Bizness Apps, sold it to a private equity firm, and survived a tiff with Apple that almost put him out of business. He has been a growth consultant for multimillion-dollar startups. He has also had his companies featured in TechCrunch more than 12 times. Pretty impressive!

If you’re wondering how he did it all, this book shares with you how he built and sold his SaaS startup – without any work experience!

This book dives into his successes and mistakes on his way to the top, taking an honest, personal look behind all the moves he made to get there.

The Ultimate Sales Machine

By Chet Holmes, Jay Conrad Levinson, Michael E. Gerber

For Chet Holmes, his best advice comes down to something simple- focus. Instead of being a Jack of all trades, he suggests honing in on the few, key skill areas that, in the long run, will make the biggest difference for your business.

In The Ultimate Sales Machine, you will learn how to improve and tune up every aspect of your business. This can all be done by spending as little as an hour every week on every impact area you wish to improve.

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

By Marty Cagan

Pointed at Product Managers working on tech-powered products, Inspired aims to share the winning techniques of the best companies. Inspired covers all different types of companies, from early-stage start-ups to big, established companies. It also hopes to reach the designers, user researchers, and engineers that work side by side with the product managers within the same companies.

The Lean Startup

By Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is one of the most influential books in recent decades. It changed the way startups are built and how they approach the daunting task of “making it”. Making it can be hard since it is a well-known fact that most start-ups fail. The Lean Startup provides an approach to help companies be more effective, both with capital and human creativity.

The Lean Startup approach relies mainly on “validated learning”. That, paired with learning what customers really want, and a few more vital practices. It provides the know-how for a company to be able to pivot with agility and alter plans minute by minute. It helps companies of all sizes to test their vision continuously, allowing them to be proactive rather than reactive.

Crossing the Chasm

By Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm has become a go-to resource for bringing cutting-edge products to larger markets. It is the handbook for marketing in high-tech industries.

Geoffrey has also published the books Inside the Tornado and The Gorilla Game. Outside of being an author, he is a prolific public speaker and advisor.

Despite the book first being published over 30 years ago, it remains a relevant centerpiece in the world of startups and marketing.

Lost and Founder

By Rand Fishkin

A lot happened before Fishkin was considered a world-leading expert on SEO. His company, Moz, also didn’t start making $45 million yearly overnight, or even after a year. Over the course of 15 years, Fishkin grew his mother-and-son business (which was deeply in debt at one point), along with his reputation.

Using humour and transparency, Fishkin goes into detail about the ups and downs of startup life that a lot of CEOs and entrepreneurs tend to leave out of their success stories.

If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, this book can give you a hand. If you’ve got problems, rest assured you’re not the only one!

Rework

By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Rather than regurgitating the same old advice that most business books love to repeat, Rework teaches you an easier, more effective way to become successful.

The authors explain why having plans can be harmful and why ignoring your competition might help you. The main premise of this book is less is more. You don’t need 80 hour work weeks, an office, or staff. You’ll learn how to be productive and to take action rather than just talking about it.

If you’re looking for inspiration and a bit of provocation, Rework is for you. This book is for anyone who wants change and is ready to take action, even if you still need a bit of a kick in the butt to get going.

Traction

By Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Is your startup lacking structure? Whether you’re a startup founder or an employee, you’ll find Traction useful as it provides a framework that other successful companies have used to get traction.

The book is based on interviews with over 35 founders to find all the best tactics they used to get traction. Some of the founders interviewed include Alexis Ohanian (Reddit) and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia).

Thinking critically about what will work best for you and your unique situation is key and in the book, you will discover which channels will be key to growth. Many different channels are covered in the book, such as Viral Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and much more.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

By Ben Horowitz

If you’re a founder, you may find yourself in certain situations and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?! This wasn’t covered in business school!”

If you find yourself in a similar situation, this book will help you out. Horowitz shares advice based on his own story and how he handled lots of unexpected situations. He covers everything from firing a friend, to what to do when smart people end up being bad employees.

Ben Horowitz is one half of mega-successful VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and is also a lover of rap music. He uses lyrics from some of his favourite rap songs to reinforce business lessons. He has a blog that gained a huge following. His readers trust his advice and depend on his business know-how to help them in their business endeavours.

Obviously Awesome

By April Dunford

In Obviously Awesome, positioning expert April Dunford asks the questions that will get you and your product in a position to win.

Maybe know you have a great product, but other than your mom, who else does? In this book, April will flip everything you know about product positioning on its head. Dunford shows you how to make your product desirable, then how to sell it to those that really want it.

Using case studies alongside her own witty stories, April educates and entertains at the same time. You will learn several valuable lessons throughout the book. Lessons such as the 5 components of effective positioning and how to choose the best market for your product.

This book is for marketers, founders, entrepreneurs, or those in sales that need a hand to help “find your awesome” so that your customers are able to as well.

April was featured in our post, 22 SaaS Influencers to Follow in 2022. She has a lot of other great resources and knowledge to discover on her social pages.

Final words

That concludes our list of 15 must-read SaaS books for entrepreneurs! I hope you found at least one book that piqued your interest. If you have any suggestions for books to add to the list, leave a comment to let me know! Finally, if you enjoyed this article, please leave a like, comment or feel free to share it on your social media. This book list is just one resource that can help you improve your product, get more users and grow!

Sarah Stratton

Sarah manages the social media at UserActive as well as other marketing activities. She also writes blog content for UserActive.

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