⏲️ Our latest read is Working Backwards, which goes into extreme detail on Amazon’s operating model, the challenges they faced after going public, and the innovative strategies they used to get to where they are today. While the book covers a wide range of topics, its section on time management is probably the most applicable to founders of all company sizes. Their key to time management doesn’t involve the classic time blocking sort of tips you might think – for Amazon, time management starts with getting the most out of meetings. Every meeting, the organizer creates a narrative heavy memo (no more than six pages) which all attendees are given 20 minutes to read at the start of the session. This ensures everyone involved has all the context they need to participate, and the rest of the meeting is efficiently spent diving into the material and addressing questions.
💖 As we know from the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, the best products don’t always win, it’s the ones with the best GTM that often do. A pillar of your GTM will always be a frontend sales process, which is why this week we are showing some love to Trish Bertuzzi’s Sales Development Playbook. It focuses on top of funnel sales activities and shares best practices on conducting outbound prospecting, qualifying inbound leads, and other early process activities which generate sales pipeline. The book is split into 6 sections ranging from high level strategy and hiring to retaining employees and execution (our favorite section by far). Let us know what you think of it!
🚘 The subscription economy was already in full swing before COVID kicked it into overdrive, putting customer retention at the forefront of many people’s minds. It makes Retention Point, by Robert Skrob, a timely read, as it hammers the idea home that maintaining your existing customers and promoting their growth should always take a front seat to new customer acquisition. He poses some interesting points, like the idea that many companies try to deliver too much value upfront, which can hurt more than help with adoption. Having a limited set of resources available to them that are specific to their goals (asking what those are upon signup helps) will keep them on the tracks and prevent them from getting overwhelmed.
🥐 In David Bradford and Carole Robin’s Connect, the two Stanford professors cover what they call “exceptional relationships”, in which you feel free to be your sincere self around another person. It’s an interesting topic relative to business because in most cases, we are more guarded with work relationships than personal ones. To gain more sincere relationships, they suggest trying the 15% rule, where you attempt to share 15% more than you feel is “safe” with others. That tiny bit of additional sharing can help you be seen as more human, and sets a norm that encourages your team to do the same. They also share the importance of quality feedback to relationships, and caution to not get caught serving “feedback sandwiches”. These not so tasty morsels start with positive feedback, followed by the real feedback you wanted to give, and end on another positive note as to not be too harsh. The book is a culmination of their interpersonal communications grad teachings, and serves as a much quicker (and less expensive) course!