Google the term « sales experts », and you’ll get 8,830,000 hits. (Interestingly, the first one is “How To Become A Sales Expert”).
The point is this: when you’re looking for interesting voices to follow, there’s a lot of people who talk the talk. But: do they truly walk the walk ?
Over time, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with a number of true sales experts and thought leaders. Some have been mentors. Others partners. Some are people I work together with on a daily or weekly basis. And some are folks I’ve shared the stage with.
Someone asked me recently, “Who should I be following ?”. As I started listing some names, I realized just how many people have influenced my thinking, and how grateful I am that they’ve come across my path.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and it’s highly personal. As Nietzsche once said, “There are no facts, only interpretations”.
This is a list of people whom I have great respect for, whom I’ve learned from and whom I’ve had great exchanges with. In short, this is a list of 17 sales experts I believe you should listen to and learn from.
1. Barb Giamanco
You may know Barb as the world’s biggest authority on social selling – but make no mistake, her point of view goes well beyond that. Barb is well versed in all aspects of B2B sales, knows the technology industry inside and out, and has some interesting things to say about selling to the C-Suite as well.
2. Joanne Black
Joanne is someone who has a deep understanding for the “lost art” of selling: referrals. I know of no one who has a more in-depth perspective on the topic. Joanne’s got a superb process and method for asking for, receiving and cultivating referrals.
3. Cian McLaughlin
The first of a trio of B2B sales leaders from “down under”, Cian stands out by his refreshing perspectives on how selling is changing – and fast.
In his book, “Rebirth Of The Salesman”, Cian mentions “Whether you operate in the B2B or B2C world, you can’t have failed to notice the rapidly shifting dynamics between buyers and sellers. The balance of power has shifted irrevocably to the buyer and will never shift back.” Amen.
4. Tony Hughes
Tony’s been named the #1 influencer of professional selling in Asia-Pacific by Top Sales Magazine, and has built an impressive online presence, including more than 200,000 blog followers within LinkedIn, with one of posts achieving quarter of a million reads.
Before becoming one of the region’s most prominent sales experts, Tony’s held positions in sales, sales management and general management.
5. Bernadette McClelland
Bernadette stands out as a sales expert, but also as a genuinely warm, nice human being (not that the others on this list aren’t). A former sales rep with Kodak, Xerox and CA, Bernadette takes a different approach than most: choosing to focus on how salespeople view themselves.
Along with Barb and Joanne, she’s an active member of “Women Sales Pros”, a group of women sales experts who collaborate, share ideas, co-create and bring their thought leadership to the greater community for salespeople, business owners and sales leaders.
6. Jonathan Farrington
A list of sales experts could not be complete without Jonathan – whilst most of us are thinking about how sales needs to improve today or at the most a few years from now, Jonathan’s thinking horizon lies 20 or 30 years out.
He’s CEO of Top Sales World, editor of Top Sales Magazine and one of the most interesting, well-connected B2B sales experts out there.
7. Mike Schultz
As a co-founder of RAIN Group, Mike’s expertise can be summed up in one word: facts. As the head of the RAIN Group for Sales Research, Mike’s passion lies in uncovering data, facts and solid argumentation to counterbalance to the myriad “opinions” that are offered up by many sales pundits.
Mike’s also an excellent speaker, and someone who’s widely respected in the larger sales community.
8. John E. Doerr
I couldn’t include Mike in this list without also including John. John is one of the most prominent, capable and experienced sales trainers and advisors I’ve ever met. As co-founder of RAIN Group, he’s a regular speaker, and has co-authored three books, including Professional Services Marketing. Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling.
9. Charles H. Green
Charles is best-known for his work on the “Trusted Advisor” concept – a framework that is highly suitable for high-end services firms. He’s a clear thinker with sharp views on how trust impacts business – and sales.
10. Anthony Iannarino
A former rock band singer turned international speaker, author and sales leader, Anthony runs The Sales Blog. He’s the most prolific content producer I know of in the sales space, posting daily and publishing a weekly podcast “In The Arena”.
11. Jill Konrath
Jill has one of the most-read blogs in the industry, and publishes great videos on her YouTube channel. She’s authored 4 books, including “Selling To Big Companies” and “SNAP Selling”. She stands out by delivering tried-and-tested, real sales advice that’s simple to understand and simple to use.
12. Matt Heinz
Matt’s perspective spans across sales and marketing, bringing both worlds together in a comprehensive, yet easy to understand fashion. No small feat.
13. Tiffani Bova
I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffani earlier this year, and watching her speak. Like Jonathan, she focuses on the future of sales. Like Mike, she does so on a way that is based in data, research and fact. She’s sharp as a tack, and not afraid to voice sometimes controversial opinions.
14. Aaron Ross
Aaron’s synonymous with two things: inside/outbound sales and the tech industry. He’s famous for having built a $100M revenue stream for Salesforce.com from scratch, and having strong views on why salespeople shouldn’t prospect.
And he’s one of the most likeable, laid-back people you’ll ever meet. Check out Aaron’s books (“Predictable Revenue” and “From Impossible To Inevitable”), follow him on Twitter or watch this webinar we did on “5 Simple Steps To Win The Professional Services Sale”.
15. Neil Rackham
The only person on this list I don’t know personally, Neil stands out as one of the “eminences grises” of sales. He’s an author, consultant and academic. His writing focuses on “consultative selling,” an approach he pioneered and documented in his book SPIN Selling.
Neil’s probably influenced more salespeople than anyone on this list, and his influence continues to linger on a daily basis in conference rooms and sales meetings around the globe.
16. Linda Richardson
Founder of Richardson Training & Coaching, author of 4 books on sales and sales and sales management, she’s a consistent presence on Top Sales World’s various Top-50 rankings.
17. Tamara Schenk
Tamara’s got excellent credentials and a strong track record in an area few people truly understand: sales enablement. She is able to take a broad and vastly complex subject, and break it down into understandable, bite-sized chunks. She’s an accomplished speaker, and has won several awards.
There’s a ton more people who I could be featuring on here. People whose views have influenced my thinking. With whom I’ve had great interactions, both online and offline. Who have challenged my views, and with whom I’ve had exciting, engaging conversations.
Think of this list as a v 1.0 – maybe I’ll do a follow up soon.