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.

To find out more about Barb, check out her blog, follow her on Twitter or check her out on Linkedin profile.

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.

If you’re in sales, whether it’s B2B, B2C or B2G (OK – I made that one up), you owe it to yourself to check out Joanne’s blog, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Linkedin.

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.

Check out Cian’s book, blog, or follow him on Twitter.

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 74,000 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.

Check out Tony’s Linkedin blog, website, or follow him on Twitter.

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.

Find out more about Bernadette on Twitter, her blog or check out this interview we did at a recent conference in London.

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.

Follow Jonathan on Linkedin, sign up for (free) Top Sales Magazine, or follow TSW on Twitter.

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.

Connect with Mike on Twitter, check out the RAIN Selling Blog or order a copy of one the three books he’s co-authored thus far.

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.

Check out John on Linkedin, Twitter or Amazon.com.

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.

Find out more about Charles on his blog, Linkedin profile or follow him on Twitter.

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”.

Check out Anthony’s blog, podcast and Twitter profile here.

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.

Check out Jill’s blog, her YouTube channel or her Amazon author page.

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.

He runs a bi-weekly radio program where he interviews other sales experts, featuring many of the experts featured in this list.
Check out Matt’s radio show, his blog, or connect with him on Linkedin.

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.

Check out Tiffani on Twitter or check out her personal site.

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.

Check out Neil’s website or order one of his 8 books.

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.

Check out Linda’s personal blog, follow her on Twitter or check out her Linkedin profile.

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.

Check out her Linkedin blog, Twitter account or personal blog.

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.