12 Sales Effectiveness Experts to Follow if You’re in Sales Operations

In the last 25 years, technology has given an enormous boost to sales productivity and created a whole new generation of sales effectiveness experts. Almost all of these experts started as sales practitioners, whose successful methodologies were sought after by peers, who in turn applied them in their own organizations.

There are dozens of innovators and thought-leaders on the subject of sales effectiveness who are worthy of your attention. But since there are only 24 hours in a day, we’ve picked the top 12 for your consideration.

Greg Alexander

Greg Alexander

Chief Executive Officer, Sales Benchmark Index

David Brock

David Brock

President, Partners in Excellence

Jim Dickie

Jim Dickie

Research Fellow, CSO Insights

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino

Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, and B2B Sales Leader

Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan

Partner, Vantage Point Performance

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin

Founder and President, Smart Selling Tools

Greg Alexander

Craig Rosenberg

Co-founder and Chief Analyst, TOPO

Lee Salz

Lee Salz

Founder and CEO, Sales Architects

Mary Shea

Mary Shea

Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Steve Silver

Steve Silver

Research Director, Sales Operations Strategies, SiriusDecisions

Dave Stein

Dave Stein

Principal, Dave Stein, Inc.

Tad Travis

Tad Travis

Research Director, Gartner Research

Greg Alexander

Greg Alexander

Chief Executive Officer, Sales Benchmark Index

Sales has too long been an art. It is perhaps the last bastion of aimless, gut-feel decision making…

Claim to Fame

Street Cred

  • 12 years in sales, starting at EMC right out of college and ascending to Regional Vice President.
  • Achieved an impressive turnaround at Recall, growing revenue 11% and reaching 127% quota attainment in one year.

David Brock

David Brock

President, Partners in Excellence

What’s killing sales is not the changing buyer. What’s killing sales is inept and inattentive sales management.

Claim to Fame

  • Author of Sales Manager Survival Guide
  • Recognized as one of the top thought-leaders in the industry, his ideas are widely published in CustomerThink, Business 2 Community, and other notable publications.

Street Cred

  • Founded Partners in Excellence, a global consulting practice that has helped companies around the world improve sales strategy and performance for 25 years.
  • Worked with early stage companies through Global 50 organizations, in nearly every industry and every continent.
  • As a sales executive, led a technology organization in quadrupling its sales in three years, establishing it as the leader for its industry.

Jim Dickie

Jim Dickie

Research Fellow, CSO Insights

One-and-done is not an option for sales management. The key word is adaptation…

Claim to Fame

  • Leads the CSO Insights Sales Best Practices Study which has become the industry benchmark for sales organizations everywhere. It is recognized as the largest, continuous research project of its kind.
  • Co-author of The Sales & Marketing Excellence Challenge.
  • Contributing editor for CRM Magazine and CustomerThink; contributing author at Harvard Business Review.

Street Cred

  • In 1992, co-founded CSO Insights, a research firm that specializes in benchmarking CRM and sales effectiveness initiatives.
  • Has studied sales transformation in major firms such as 3M, Cisco Systems, Federal Express, IBM, Accenture, VISA, Hewlett Packard, and Cessna Aircraft.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino

Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, and B2B Sales Leader

But if you believe training and coaching is expensive, try not training and coaching your people.

Claim to Fame

  • Creator and Writer, The Sales Blog
  • Developed Level 4 Value Creation™ sales methodology, which he has taught in sales keynotes in 36 cities and 8 countries.

Street Cred

  • 24 years as President and Chief Sales Officer of Solutions Staffing, taking the company from $3 million to $45 million.

Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan

Partner, Vantage Point Performance

To assume that a bigger pipeline is a better pipeline is a dangerous assumption.

Claim to Fame

  • Author of Cracking The Sales Management Code, an Amazon best-seller.
  • Frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Entrepreneur, the Sales Management Association, and more.

Street Cred

  • 20 years of experience helping GE, HP, 3M, Google, and others improve sales management and measure sales performance.

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin

Founder and President, Smart Selling Tools

Your customers are far more knowledgeable than ever before. They don’t have the patience for salespeople who can’t provide targeted advice. If you think you can remain agile and competitive in this environment with CRM alone, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Claim to Fame

  • Founded Smart Selling Tools, a research and advisory firm that helps organizations select sales and marketing technologies.

Street Cred

  • 20 years in sales and sales leadership roles, including notable stints at industry analyst firms Gartner Research, The Yankee Group / 451 Research, and IDC.
  • Worked with leading venture capital firms and their portfolio companies as well as Fortune 100 companies including Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett Packard.
  • Worked with more than 30 of the largest high-tech and telecom firms in the country.

Craig Rosenberg

Craig Rosenberg

Co-founder and Chief Analyst, TOPO

You will become a dinosaur if you don’t focus on delivering added value that the buyer can’t get digitally.

Claim to Fame

  • Launched The Funnelholic, a highly regarded blog about sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue.
  • Co-founded TOPO, a research, advisory, and consulting firm that helps sales and marketing organizations exceed their revenue targets.

Street Cred

  • Spent 12 years as a sales and marketing leader, working with start-ups and public companies to build, optimize, and scale their demand generation and inside sales functions.
  • Co-founded Focus, a B2B content marketing firm, and built its community to more than 5,000 expert contributors and a million members.

Lee Salz

Lee Salz

Founder and CEO, Sales Architects

The compensation plan doubles as a job description.

Claim to Fame

  • Built the Sales Management Executives LinkedIn group of over 255,000 members.
  • Author of best-selling books Hire Right, Higher Profits and Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.

Street Cred

  • Founded Sales Architects, a leading sales management strategy firm.
  • 20 years of experience helping companies leverage sales onboarding to profitably grow revenues.

Mary Shea

Mary Shea

Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Go-to-market leaders that fail to empower their sellers will see their selling organizations commoditized by those that do and their businesses surpassed by disrupters.

Claim to Fame

  • Authored numerous Forrester Research reports on B2B social selling and the evolving buyer and seller journey.
  • Is frequently invited to speak on webinars and seminars, and is quoted widely in publications such as DestinationCRM.

Street Cred

  • 20 years of experience leading global sales and marketing organizations at companies ranging from high-growth startups to publicly traded firms.
  • Built and grew sales organizations, and drove industry-leading retention rates, triple-digit increases in revenue, and regional and international expansion.
  • Began her career as an inside sales executive at Forrester Research, opening Forrester’s Chicago office in 2000.

Steve Silver

Steve Silver

Research Director, Sales Operations Strategies, SiriusDecisions

Every hour a rep spends on unproductive, low-value activities, they lose to their competition.

Claim to Fame

  • Leads the Sales Operations research agenda and client engagement for SiriusDecisions, a leading B2B research and advisory firm that helps companies improve sales and marketing effectiveness.

Street Cred

  • 12+ years as a sales operations executive, building a team from zero to 320 people and driving sales transformation for a $1.2B multi-channel, global organization.
  • Directed channel operations for The TAS Group, a sales methodology and software company.

Dave Stein

Dave Stein

Principal, Dave Stein, Inc.

The backbone of sales effectiveness is process. Anything else is seat-of-the-pants guesswork.

Claim to Fame

Street Cred

  • Has been a bag-carrying sales rep, led sales organizations, and consulted with sales teams in 48 states and 23 countries.
  • Founded ES Research Group, a sales training research and advisory firm, serving brands such as MasterCard, Marriott, Chevron, Microsoft, Nike, and many others.

Tad Travis

Tad Travis

Research Director, Gartner Research

Sales teams need to own customer experience moments outside of their domain of sales.

Claim to Fame

  • Lead analyst for two Gartner Research Magic Quadrants: Sales Force Automation and Sales Performance Management.

Street Cred

  • 15 years of experience implementing CRM technologies.
  • At Salesforce.com, worked with over 100 enterprise clients on technology implementations and governance programs.