If you're like most entrepreneurs, the holidays aren't time off; they're a timeout. You may not have client calls to field, but you're still strategizing for the new year.

You know better than to let downtime go to waste. If there's one thing that will propel your team's growth in 2019, it's sales -- and there's no better time to get educated than during the holiday slowdown.

If you're looking for growth in the new year, use travel time to brush up on your sales skills. The following podcasts are great places to start:

1. The Sales Evangelist

Let me know if this sounds familiar: You were thrown into sales without knowing how to sell. Perhaps you're an engineer by trade who decided to found a software company. Perhaps you've always had a co-founder whose specialty was sales.

If one or both scenarios sound familiar, check out The Sales Evangelist. Hosted by Donald Kelly, this interview-style podcast features voices across the B2B software sales and marketing spectrum. With episodes as short as 11 minutes, it's perfect for both highway drives and pre-party snack runs.

2. B2B Growth Show

If marketing is your area of need, tune into James Carbary's B2B Growth Show. This podcast tackles the marketing side of many of the sales topics featured on The Sales Evangelist.

Need help with account-based marketing? Sales may be part of it, but it's a marketing term for a reason. B2B Growth Show also covers social media marketing, content creation, agile marketing and much more. Check out episode No. 634, where Ryan Bonnici, CMO of G2 Crowd, explains how you're probably measuring marketing the wrong way.

3. The Advanced Selling Podcast

If you're an old pro at B2B sales and marketing, you'll still learn a thing or two from The Advanced Selling Podcast, where co-hosts Bill Caskey and Bryan Neale talk shop with veteran B2B sales trainers. Caskey and Neale cover topics ranging from summoning courage to cold calling to podcasting itself.

If you only have 30 minutes, pop on episode No. 523. This episode about generational differences in buying preferences provides nice context for holiday get-togethers, where family members often take distinct approaches to gifting.

4. The Sales Whisperer

Save this one for a long stint: The Sales Whisperer's episodes clock in at around an hour each, but you won't feel like it's a minute too long. This unscripted podcast tackles the more complex topics of inbound marketing.

Because of its longer length and sole host, Wes Schaeffer, The Sales Whisperer tends to give guests more time to unpack their views. His conversation with formerly homeless sales consultant Akbar Sheikh, for example, is a look at ethical persuasion that could convince even Ebenezer Scrooge to change his ways.

5. SaaStr

Each episode covers a subject that listeners need to master to go from zero to $100 million in annual recurring revenue. This podcast's guests are diverse, generally dividing into operators looking for help with hiring and scaling and investors, who want to know which metrics to watch when making SaaS investments.

For an "investor" episode, give No. 190 a listen. Ed Sim, general partner at Boldstart Ventures, surprises host Jason Lemkin by suggesting founders shouldn't try to sell their product early on. On the "operator" side, No. 201 covers a topic every sales leader contends with: prioritizing leads in the sales pipeline. Hannah Wilson shares unconventional strategies she learned from a decade spent in sales at Zenefits, HelloWallet and Rainforest.

6. Sell or Die

Sales may not be a literal matter of life or death, but co-hosts Jeffrey Gitomer and Jennifer Gluckow know a business without sales isn't long for the market. This fledgling podcast's topics stretch from inbound marketing to social media to sales processes, but they skew toward gritty personal development topics.

The "Fill Up Your Brain" show addresses exactly what you're trying to do: Keep your mind busy around the holidays without sacrificing family time. Another "Motivation Monday" episode that might ring true this season? "The Grind Never Stops."

7. Sales Hacker

If you need another way to perk up on a winter Monday, Sales Hacker's podcast rivals fresh coffee. Sales Hacker may not have the irreverent humor of Sell or Die, but it does feature intriguing guests and new-age sales advice.

If famous names get your attention, scroll back to October's episode with Mark Roberge. Not only does the former HubSpot CRO discuss how, as the company's first sales hire, he grew it to $100 million in sales, but he also shares "the sales acceleration formula" for faster, more predictable revenue growth.

Whether sales is your responsibility or not, it's essential to growth. To make the holiday slowdown worthwhile (and lucrative), turn on a podcast to get fresh sales ideas for the new year.

Published on: Dec 17, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.