The best books for B2B startup founders

The Books I Picked & Why

Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-And Revolutionized an Industry

By Marc Benioff, Carlye Adler

Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-And Revolutionized an Industry

Why this book?

Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, more or less wrote the playbook for B2B startups. In Behind the Cloud, he shares a lot of the tactics that helped make Salesforce the market leader that it is today. Benioff’s work helped shape Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and the Cloud for B2B entrepreneurs. On and all, it’s a very entertaining book with a lot of interesting ideas.


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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

By Eric Ries

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Why this book?

Few books had as big of an influence on the way startups get built than The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. A lot of the ideas introduced in this book have become critical parts of how businesses go to market today. The Lean Startup is also a foundation of my book, Lean B2B. The principles covered in the book provide a framework for how to think about validating and growing a B2B startup.


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Demand-Side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress

By Bob Moesta, Greg Engle

Demand-Side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress

Why this book?

Bob Moesta is one of the creators of the Job to be Done framework. Demand-Side Sales 101, however, is a lot more than a sales book. The book shows B2B founders how to understand the perceived value of their product, and how to position that value to drive demand on the market.


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Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

By April Dunford

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

Why this book?

A lot of books talk about product positioning, but Obviously Awesome actually shows you how to position a product on the market. This is the most modern book on positioning available today. There are a lot of great models and actionable advice in this book. It was also written from a B2B perspective, which I love.


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Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

By Bill Aulet

Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

Why this book?

Bill Aulet is the managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. I was in his training program when I wrote Lean B2B. Disciplined Entrepreneurship is a great overview of the process of building a technology company in B2B. There’s a lot of great knowledge in this book including great advice on selecting a market and validating a business model.


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