The world of sales is constantly changing. To keep up with this rapid transformation, we’ve curated a list of 28 pros who’re influencing the future of sales.
At PersistIQ, we believe influencers should have real-life experience. That’s why we’ve made sure that every sales pro on this list has earned their stripes. Many of these folks are sales leaders from truly innovative, high-growth companies, where they’ve grown the sales organization from the ground up. Others have contributed in another fashion, such as building a thriving community that brings other sales pros together or publishing a steady stream of authoritative research or thought leadership. Either way, they’ve proven that they know their stuff.
Our sales pros also share another trait—a desire to share what they’ve learned with others. Whether they curate content on Twitter, publish thought leadership on LinkedIn or Medium, actively speak at conferences or events, appear as a guest on podcasts and webinars, or maintain an active blog, the community benefits from their hard-earned insights.
Max Altschuler, Founder & CEO, Sales Hacker Inc.
As the founder and CEO of Sales Hacker, Max Altschuler runs the leading community for modern salespeople. Besides producing Saleshacker.com and the Sales Hacker conferences and event series, Max runs a program that trains military veterans in B2B sales and helps them land tech jobs. He is also a mentor at GrowthX, an investor and advisor at more than 40 startups, and the best selling author of Hacking Sales.
Prior to Sales Hacker, Max was the second business development hire at Udemy, where he built their sales process from the ground up. As an active Twitter user, Max regularly publishes thought leadership and curates content from other sales pros in the industry.
READ: Sales Hacker’s Top Predictions and Trends for 2017
John Barrows, Sales Trainer
John Barrows trains salespeople at the world’s fastest growing companies—Dropbox, Twilio, Salesforce, Marketo, LinkedIn, Zenefits, Intercom, and Atlassian. His mission? Teach sales reps how to personalize the sales experience at scale.
Following this sales pro on social media is a no-brainer. Not only does John publish a steady stream of thought leadership and motivational content, he also answers questions every Monday on Facebook Live and engages 1:1 via Snapchat. Now that’s commitment!
READ: The Top 8 Questions to Ask Prospects to Sell More Effectively
Tonni Bennett, VP, Sales, Terminus
Tonni Bennett is the Vice President of Sales at Terminus, the leading account-based marketing platform. Since joining Terminus in 2015, she has scaled their sales organization from one account executive to more than 30 “Terminators”.
This seasoned sales pro earned her stripes at fast-growing companies like Pardot, PeopleMatter, SalesLoft, JobServe, and UPS. Now, she’s a regular guest speaker at industry events and webinars, such as HubSpot’s Inbound Sales Day.
READ: How Terminus Boosted Sales Response Rates by 3x with Video
Mark Birch, Founder, Enterprise Sales Forum
By day, Mark Birch leads sales and growth at Stack Overflow Enterprise, a private version of Stack Overflow that enables enterprise tech teams collaborate more effectively, be more productive, and share knowledge more easily.
By night, he’s the founder of Enterprise Sales Forum, a community where B2B sales pros can share, learn, and network with industry peers. Under his leadership, monthly enterprise sales and sales development meetups have popped up across more than 15 cities since 2014.
Prior to Stack Overflow, Mark did stints as the Director, Strategic Accounts at Oracle and Managing Director of Columbus Holding Group. Besides being an active Twitter user, he regularly posts thought leadership on LinkedIn Pulse.
READ: Why Sales Is Broken
Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce
Tiffani Bova has been recognized by the National Diversity Council as one of the most powerful and influential women in California. It’s no doubt why: As the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, she’s responsible for helping over 150,000 Salesforce customers improve their sales performance and enhance their customer experience.
Prior to Salesforce, Tiffani spent 10 years at Gartner as VP, Distinguished Analyst, and Research Fellow, where she won the Gartner Thought Leadership Award for her comprehensive body of work on the Future of Sales. She has delivered over 250 keynote presentations on sales transformation and business model innovation to more than 300,000 people around the globe.
In addition to maintaining an active social presence, she continues to publish research-centric thought leadership via Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and HuffPost.
READ: Four Ways High-Performing Sales Teams Excel in the Age of the Customer
David Cancel, CEO, Drift
You’ve probably already heard of David Cancel. Having co-founded 5 startups, including Performable (acquired by HubSpot), led 2 companies as CEO, and achieved 4 successful exits, he’s a well-known figure in the startup world.
David is currently the CEO of Drift, the leading conversation-driven sales and marketing platform. Under his leadership, Drift has grown to 50,000 customers across 150 countries. But that’s just the beginning: His team recently raised another $32M to fund their future growth.
Aside from Drift, David is an investor and advisor at companies like NextView Ventures, EverTrue, and Help Scout. He’s also the author of HYPERGROWTH, co-host of the Seeking Wisdom podcast, and Harvard Business School’s current Entrepreneur in Residence.
Unlike many CEOs, David still makes time to engage with his community of customers, fans, and followers. He’s active across most social networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and Medium.
READ: The Next Wave in Sales & Marketing
Cristina Cordova, Head of Business Development & Partnerships, Stripe
With a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, 7 years of experience leading business development at high-growth startups, and credit for developing partnerships with countless unicorns, Cristina Cordova has gone above and beyond to earn the title “sales pro”.
As employee #1 and the head of business development at Pulse, she attracted over 25 million users through strategic partnerships before the company was acquired by LinkedIn for $90 million.
Since joining Stripe in 2012, Cristina has built and managed a partnerships team that’s responsible for innovative partnerships with Apple, Facebook, Freshbooks, GoDaddy, Intuit, OpenTable, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Aside from being active on Twitter, she regularly shares her wisdom on podcasts like Breaking Into Startups, Hack to Start, and Learn Educate Discover.
LISTEN: Breaking Into Startups #64: Cristina Cordova – Head of Business Development at Stripe
David Dulany, Founder & CEO, Tenbound
At Tenbound, David Dulany is focused on improving sales development performance at the hottest companies in Silicon Valley via consulting, training, and events. Prior to founding his own company, David built highly successful SDR programs from scratch for companies like Glassdoor, Cisco, Infer, and Act-On Software.
At heart, David Dulany is a community builder. As host of the Sales Development Podcast and organizer of the Sales Development Management Meetup, he’s bringing the world’s sales pros together to learn from one another. In his spare time, he helps shape rising talent as a mentor at GrowthX Academy.
WATCH: The Future of the Sales Development Rep
Jake Dunlap, CEO, Skaled
With more than a decade of experience as a sales leader, Jake is the epitome of a sales pro. He held senior-level leadership roles at Glassdoor, Chartbeat, and Nowait (acquired by Yelp) before founding Skaled, a modern sales consulting firm that helps companies increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales organization with the use of sales technology.
As the CEO of Skaled, Jake has successfully doubled the revenue of clients like The Muse, 15Five, Babble, BounceExchange, and SaleMove. He’s now a highly sought-after industry commentator who has been quoted by Forbes, Inc, and Huffington Post. Follow Jake on LinkedIn, where he regularly publishes thought leadership.
READ: 6 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Sales Leaders and Avoid Burnout
Stephen M. Green, VP, Sales, SaaStr
Stephen M. Green is a SaaS sales veteran with a decade of experience helping both lean startups and Fortune 500 companies succeed in complex, competitive, and dynamic markets.
After starting his career as an analyst and consultant at Accenture, Stephen grew from account executive to sales director at EchoSign (acquired by Adobe). He then became Showpad’s Vice President of U.S. Sales before joining SaaStr as Vice President of Sales.
Stephen has recently started to post thought leadership on LinkedIn—and you’ll want to pay attention. As the VP, North American Sales at Showpad, Stephen grew revenue from $500K to $5.5M in under 18 months, while reducing their sales cycles from 15 to 6 weeks. 😲
READ: How in the hell do I know what to look for in hiring a sales rep?
Laurabeth ‘LB’ Harvey, VP, Sales & Support, Intercom
After starting her career as a sales executive at Corporate Executive Board (now Gartner), Laurabeth Harvey spent 7 years at LinkedIn, where she first grew the North American sales development team from 4 to 50 people and then managed the $100M new business acquisition team for LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
LB now leads the sales and support teams at Intercom, the customer messaging platform that’s striving to make business more personal. Since joining Intercom in 2016, the company has surpassed 20,000 customers, $116M in venture funding, and 350+ employees.
READ: Hiring for Sales in a Product-Led World
Danielle Herzberg, Head of SMB Sales, Slack
Danielle Herzberg is the Head of SMB Sales at Slack, where she oversees Slack’s SMB & SDR sales organizations within North America.
While earning her MBA from Stanford, Dannie was a summer associate at Airbnb. Prior to that, she spent 5 years at HubSpot in enterprise sales management, eventually becoming the company’s Director of Business Development. During this time, she witnessed the company grow from 100 to 1200 employees and secure an IPO.
Dannie now mentors other up-and-coming women in Sequoia Capital & Everwise’s Ascent Mentor Program. Follow her on LinkedIn to discover upcoming events, webinars, and podcasts where she’s a guest.
LISTEN: Moving Upstream: How to Build a Sales Org in Freemium SaaS
Anthony Kennada, CMO, Gainsight
Anthony Kennada joined Gainsight as employee #19 and has since become the company’s CMO. He’s responsible for managing Gainsight’s global marketing strategy, from demand generation to brand marketing, and can be credited with producing Pulse, an annual conference that attracts over 11,000 executives from across the globe.
How did a CMO land on this list? By challenging the traditional organizational structure and taking ownership of sales development. 😲
Prior to Gainsight, Anthony did business development for Box and Symantec. He currently serves on Allbound’s board of directors and is an advisor to FairWords, TalentIQ, and People.ai.
Anthony has a great track record of giving back to the community. After successfully developing “customer success” as a new market category for Gainsight, Anthony created CategoryDev to help other startup leaders follow in his footsteps. In his spare time, he also mentors startup founders at Acceleprise.
READ: An Unapologetic Defense of Brand Marketing for B2B Growth
Koka Sexton, Global Industry Principal, Social Selling, Hootsuite
Koka Sexton is the leading expert on social selling, a topic that he promotes through global speaking engagements, training, and workshops.
His mantra? “Visibility creates opportunity”
Not only does Koka have over 10 years of sales experience, but he’s held leadership roles at both LinkedIn and Hootsuite. In his spare time, he also mentors startup founders at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
No surprise here! Koka is extremely active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where he publishes thought leadership and curates must-read industry content.
READ: How Sales Managers Can Do Less Managing and More Enabling
Heather R. Morgan, CEO, SalesFolk
Heather R. Morgan is the CEO of SalesFolk, where she writes outbound sales email templates that increase response rates by 300% of more. The result? Millions of dollars in surplus revenue for customers like Mercer, Square, Gusto, Lyft, Kissmetrics, and Ambition.
Heather’s obsession with cold emails truly sets her apart. Over the last decade, she has has written and optimized more than 10,000 cold emails for nearly 500 companies. As an active social media user, you can find Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.
READ: Why the Best Salespeople Interrogate Their Potential Customers
Peter Ostrow, Sales Enablement Analyst, SiriusDecisions
As the former vice president of sales and business development for companies like Monster, MarketOne International, and Aberdeen Group, Peter Ostrow is a seasoned sales pro.
Now, as the research director and analyst at leading global B2B research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions, Peter is helping other sales leaders improve rep productivity through sales enablement. In his free time, he shares industry insights on LinkedIn and Twitter.
READ: Would You Fire a High-Performing Sales Jerk?
Ali Powell, Principal Account Executive, HubSpot
After 7 years at HubSpot, Ali Powell is now the principal account executive for Silicon Valley. Prior to HubSpot, Ali did sales, business development, and client services for UPS and Bank of America’s private wealth management firm, US Trust.
On Ali’s first day at HubSpot, she launched a website to help elevate women in tech. More recently, she has launched a podcast featuring female sales leaders as well as an online community that has grown to 600+ sales pros.
READ: Top SaaS Sales Executive: Stop Trying to Sell to Everyone
David Priemer, VP, Sales, Influitive
An award-winning research scientist turned tech entrepreneur, author, and speaker, David brings a unique blend of in-the-trenches experiences and scientific theory to his sales practice. After a lifelong pursuit to understand the how and why of modern day selling, David created cerebralselling.com to share his insights into sales psychology with other sales pros.
David currently serves as the vice president of sales at Influitive, the advocacy marketing platform. Previously, he was the vice president of commercial sales and resident sales leadership evangelist at CRM giant Salesforce. David has more than 10 years of experience in sales leadership, including director-level roles at Workbrain, Infor, and Varicent Software.
READ: The Future Of Sales Is Advocacy
Mark Roberge, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School
“Sales scientist” Mark Roberge began his career as a consultant at Accenture. After earning an MBA from MIT, he joined HubSpot in June 2007, where he became the chief revenue officer. During his time at HubSpot, he expanded revenue from $0-100 million, customers from 0-10,000+, and global sales staff from 1 to 425. He also published a book, titled The Sales Acceleration Formula, which quickly became a bestseller.
He’s now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and board member, advisor, and investor in at least 20 early-stage ventures, including Drift, InsightSquared, and Localytics. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn, where he shares must-read industry content and thought leadership for startup founders and sales leaders.
READ: The Science of Building a Scalable Sales Team
Craig Rosenberg, Co-Founder & Chief Analyst, TOPO Inc.
Craig Rosenberg is the co-founder and chief analyst at TOPO Inc., a research and advisory firm that helps companies grow two times faster than the competition. Through custom sales and marketing playbooks, data-driven advisory services, and comprehensive training and workshops, Craig and his team have helped clients like Google, Twilio, and LinkedIn achieve scalable revenue growth.
Prior to TOPO, Craig produced educational content and events on the revenue chain via funnelholic.com. Throughout his career, he has accumulated more than 10 years of sales and marketing experience.
READ: 12 Sales Plays For Account-Based Everything
Jill Rowley, Board Member, Affinio
Jill Rowley was one of the first SaaS sales professionals. She started her career at Salesforce, where she was the #1 mid-market sales rep in 2001, then spent 10 years at Eloqua as one of their top performing sales reps.
After building out the marketing automation space, Jill joined Oracle to enable 23K sales professionals by educating them on the why, what, and how of social selling. Having delivered countless keynote speeches and workshops on the topic across North America, EMEA, and India, Jill now helps sales and marketing technology startups achieve sales success.
Since going out on her own, she has held board and advisory roles at Affinio, TrackMaven, and HubSpot, amongst others. She maintains an active presence on Twitter and LinkedIn, where she has over 213K followers.
READ: Now Sales Is Buying Bright Shiny Objects, Too
Pouyan Salehi, CEO & Co-Founder, PersistIQ
Pouyan Salehi is the CEO & Co-Founder of PersistIQ, where he’s building software that improves how salespeople communicate with prospects to start new sales conversations.
Backed by Salesforce Ventures, Y Combinator, and Point Nine Capital, PersistIQ is sales workflow software that combines the power of technology with the thoughtfulness of human interaction.
Prior to PersistIQ, Pouyan was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Redpoint Ventures, co-founded and sold a company called StackMob (acquired by PayPal), and spent 3 years at Apple. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
READ: How to Think About Your Sales Team Structure
Whitney Sales, CEO, The Sales Method
It’s no surprise that Whitney Sales made our list of pioneering sales pros. No, not because her last name (really) is Sales. 😉 But because she has spent more than a decade developing and refining a winning process for quickly scaling startups: The Sales Method.
After helping LoopNet, Joby, Meltwater, and SpringAhead gain entry into the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list early in her career, she went on to lead sales at Demandbase, SpringAhead, Wanelo, and TalentIQ.
Now, as the Program Director and General Partner at Acceleprise, she’s helping B2B SaaS startups achieve early growth by teaching them how to identify target markets, build successful sales teams, and get products to market ASAP. In her spare time, she mentors founders at Standford University’s StartX, Alchemist Accelerator, and LAUNCH.
Read:The Three Frameworks You Need to Kickstart Sales
Bala Sankaran, VP, Global Sales & Marketing Operations, Twitter
Bala Sankaran joined Twitter in June 2013 with one mission: Hire and work hard to retain the best and the brightest in sales. Bala has since built a 100-person-strong global operations team, spanning 12 key markets across 3 functions, that’s laser-focused on enhancing sales productivity and performance.
Prior to Twitter, Bala worked at Google, where he advanced from Sales Operations Manager to Sales Development Lead. His passion for solving complex business problems began at McKinsey and Company, where he work as a senior associate after graduating earning his MBA from Wharton in 2006.
WATCH: Happiness Is In Your Hands
Ben Sardella, Co-Founder, OutboundWorks
As the co-founder and chief revenue officer at OutboundWorks, Ben Sardella is combining AI with human personalization to deliver highly qualified prospects to high-growth companies like 15Five, AddShoppers, and Averon. He’s also an active advisor at SifData.
Before OutboundWorks, Ben co-founded leading technographics startup Datanyze, which is used by over 50,000 sales development reps and has been recognized as both a Gartner Cool Vendor and G2 Crowd High Performer. He also held advisor roles at Yesware, LettuceApps, and AcceptOn, and mentored startup founders in partnership with Launchpad LA and Founders Space.
Prior to that, Ben earned his stripes as a sales leader at companies like Sabrix, Inc., TRUSTe, and finally, KISSmetrics, where he achieved 500% year-over-year growth as the vice president of sales, business development, and customer success.
With over 59K followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, Ben’s influence is indisputable. His advice? Always put customers first. Their success determines your success.
READ: The Chaotic SDR Prospecting Pipeline & How To Fix It
Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
As co-inventor of the term SMarketing, a concept that has been embraced by organizations from all over the world, Dan relentlessly advocates for sales and marketing alignment.
Since joining HubSpot as employee #6 in May 2007, Dan has led recruitment, training, and growth of several teams within their sales organization. Having been with HubSpot for more than a decade, Dan also frequently presents on inbound marketing and sales at conferences around the globe and contributes regularly to the HubSpot blog.
Prior to HubSpot, Dan was a sales manager at Microsoft. He’s an advisor, mentor, and investor at more than 30 startups, including ReplyBuy, ClearVoice, and Trym. You can keep up with Dan and his work on Twitter.
Read: The Danger of Using Legacy Sales Techniques in 2017
Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder & CMO, Terminus
You might be asking yourself how another CMO made it onto this list. 😲
Here’s the thing: Sangram literally wrote the book on account-based marketing. As one of the people spearheading the ABM movement, which promotes sales and marketing alignment, Sangram Vajre is undoubtedly a pioneer.
Prior to co-founding Terminus, Sangram held roles as the head of marketing at Pardot and the director of demand generation at Internap. He’s also the founder of #FlipMyFunnel, a community of B2B marketing, sales, and customer success professionals. Be sure to follow him on LinkedIn, where he publishes thought leadership every night (!) before going to sleep.
Read: Why Sales Development Is Really A Marketing Issue in B2B
Kyle Williams, Co-Founder, Dogpatch Advisors
Kyle Williams has held sales roles at Google, CloudSherpas (acquired by Accenture), and most recently, Kahuna, where has was the director of sales.
Now, as the co-founder of Dogpatch Advisors, Kyle helps companies grow faster by rethinking go-to-market strategy, implementing their modern sales framework, and introducing next generation ideas for finding revenue.
Read: The Fundamentals of Data-Driven Outbound Sales