Marketing and Advertising

Global Top 50 Sales Influencers Revealed by Top Sales Magazine

Top Sales Magazine is a brilliant publication and part of the Top Sales World website and online community. Jonathan Farrington is the driving force behind it and they make a huge contribution to elevating the sales profession globally. For the last three years they have published a list of the Top 50 Sales Influencers in sales and marketing. To my great surprise I made the list for 2015 and was the only person from Asia-Pacific. 

Earlier this year I was recognized in the top 100 social sellers globally by Onalytica and if you want to know the secret to achieving these kind of results... it's content publishing. I regularly do speaking work in the USA and am humbled to be in the company of luminaries such as Daniel Pink, Professor Neil Rackham, Dr Tony Alessandra, David Meerman Scott, Anthony Iannarino and others. Here is the list reproduced from Top Sales Magazine which you can view along with full details and bios of the winners.

I encourage you to follow all these people in Twitter, LinkedIn and their blogs. I'm especially pleased with the balance of women and men on the list and the mix of industry giants such as Marc Benioff (Salesforce) and Koka Sexton (LinkedIn) along with academics such as Neil Rackham and Tony Alessandra.

I've had personal interactions with Neil Rackham, Koka Sexton, Dave Stein, Tibor Shanto, Robert Terson, Jill Rowley and Anthony Iannarino.... and they're all brilliant.  There is genuine diversity in the list and clearly much thought and research went into selecting the top 50 winners. What was Top sales World's criteria? This is an extract from their website:

 We have again endeavored to take a scientific approach this year, utilizing the services of a small research team ...

When considering credentials, we have deliberately looked across a broad spectrum of sales “disciplines” – from lead generation to sales enablement, social selling to sales management, inside sales, external sales, consultative sales and collaborative sales. Our list contains authentic thought leaders, who are prepared to stick their heads above the parapet and discuss the future of selling, as well as some who are less experienced, but nevertheless are making a telling contribution.

The definition of influence? We like this very simple one:The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something”

Well done to Top Sales World's research team and thanks for recognizing my contributions here in LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and as a keynote speaker at international conferences. You can subscribe to the magazine here... it's free.

To see who the Top Sales Influencers are in Australia, simply join the Strategic Selling Group within LinkedIn run by John Smibert or become a member of Strategic Selling website for free. Both forums are excellent communities for B2B sellers.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr:  Matthew McConaughey at Academy Awards by David Torcivi

7 Strategic Social Selling Hunting Skills


New business development has always required finesse and the ability to strategize, prepare and plan before making contact with the right people at the right time. The way we sell is more important that what we sell and that's because, in the minds of buyers, you're solution looks pretty much the same as your competitors. Buyers have never been busier but they have also never been more empowered with 'social buying'. Their ability to research and run a reverse auction process with the selected few is potentially very dis-empowering for sellers.

Social buying is the other side of social selling. The smart buyers do their research online before engaging with the selling organization or sales person. You only have one chance to make a first impression and this includes your online presence where you can build trust and establish your value before you ever meet with your prospective new client.  Here are 7 tips for effective modern selling.

1. Transform your LinkedIn profile to provide 'social proof' of the business value to offer and the values by which you operate. That way, when people check you out before agreeing to engaging with you or before a meeting; they'll see someone worthy of their time and trust. What do buyer's see when they look at your LinkedIn profile?... quota crushing sales predator ready to pounce or insigtful expert who can assist them?

2. Become a high value content creator and content curator to attract your prospective customers. What do buyers look for online before they would ever look for you, your company or your product? The answer to this should drive your content publishing strategy. LinkedIn Publisher is ideal if your in the B2B world and Facebook is perfect for B2C. Importantly, be where your customers are rather than expecting them to come to you on your website.

3. Hone your social listening / monitoring skills. Meet with your marketing team and ask for their active assistance in this regard. Talk with them about the types of trigger events that indicate downstream opportunity well before any feeding frenzy leads appear on your website. These could include scandals, mergers and acquisitions, new executives being appointed, changes in regulations, competitor announcements, etc.

4. Change your settings in LinkedIn to 'go dark' and be anonymous when you engage in a sting of research. But also go 'lights on' when you want your potential customers to know that you're taking the time and making the effort in doing your research to prepare and make the best use of their time.

5. Join all the dots and triangulate multiple sources to turn information into validated intelligence. Invest time on the target company's website, individual LinkedIn profiles and Twitter accounts. Analyze their connections, determine your social proximity and position for a warm introduction rather than a cold call. Most importantly, do all you can to map the power base and political structure beyond the organizational chart. The point of entry is vitally important otherwise you couldbe aligned with a losing agenda or blocked by someone without real clout.

6. Connect in context and with relevance. Never send generic connection requests so send the message from within their actual profile so you can change the automated text. Join the groups that they are part of and then read, listen and monitor. Feel free to 'like' but only weight-in when you have something worthwhile and constructive add. Think like a business person, not a sales rep, and work to become a valued hub amongst the spokes over time.

7. Engage with insight provide value. The cardinal sin of social selling is to 'connect and sell'... don't do it! Instead, always connect and engage with good manners and then send interesting articles, blog posts or other information that they will value. The time will come when you can naturally ask for a meeting or for information.

Here is an overview of strategic social selling with links to posts on the 5 pillars. I was recently ranked in the Top 50 Influencers worldwide in professional selling by Top Sales Magazine and then interviewed by Kelly Riggs for Biz Locker Room Radio where all of this is discussed.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Spreng Ben Color Key Week – The Eye Of The Tiger

Why Customer Experience Trumps Customer Service

Andrew Vorster is a brilliant futurist and technologist from the UK and we were both speaking at a recent Customer eXperience (CX) conference. He made the important distinction between customer service and customer experience while explaining how technology is disrupting traditional business models. I asked him how he sees the customer experience of the future. Here is his response.

"I have to start out by saying that many people I come into contact with immediately start talking about 'customer service' as soon as I say 'customer experience'. I point out that while customer service is an important facet of the customer experience, most people will only experience your customer service once they are a customer."

"But the customer experience begins way before that point in time and it's a large component of how your brand is perceived"

"Marketing departments are therefore been the early adopters of technology, constantly seeking new ways to augment and amplify engagement by using technology. Take for example this stunt pulled by Pepsi in London which is an example of people experiencing the brand, augmented by technology. The goal of a customer experience is to evoke positively memorable emotion and I think Pepsi certainly hit the mark on this occasion."

But it’s not just about a new advertising format. I constantly ask clients about how they can you use the 'Internet Of [their Company’s] Things' to enhance customer experience. There is a fantastic example of how Samsung proposes to use its own technology to save lives on the road in Argentina by rendering its trucks 'see through'. This is a incredible example of using technology to improve lives and deliver innovative customer experience."

Andrew believes this technology should be rolled-out globally and that those who lead with practical innovation that improves lives create powerful following. I asked him how he thinks it converts to revenue.

"Can you imagine the first time you experienced one of these trucks on the road? I think that the enhanced customer experience would make you think very positively about Samsung as a technology company and would quite possibly influence your next purchase decision."

"When you enhance customer experience you increase loyalty. Rather than pushing marketing messages and offers, think about how to create exceptional customer experience. Meat Pack is a trendy footwear store in Guatemala and they used a clever combination of technology including indoor location sensors and real time marketing to generate the kind of customer experience that its target market would love.  Hang in there watching this video explaining how 'Hijack' works... it has customers sprinting at break-neck speed to do business with them."

Meat Pack's “Hijack” campaign successfully created a buzz around the brand on social media through customer advocacy – who wouldn’t want to share that kind of experience with their friends? I came across a great advertising campaign in Australia the day before my opening keynote – it’s for Hahn Superdry beer and the slogan goes “if you’re not collecting experiences, you’re not living” ( The campaign is full of aspirational dreams and activities that many of us stuck in suburbia might yearn for but deem to be way out of reach. But that’s not the point. The point is that deep down, we are all “experience collectors”. How will you leverage technology in the future to give your customers an experience worth collecting?"

Andrew makes excellent points and is not saying that great customer service isn't important. He highlights that service should fit within the overall customer experience that you create well before someone becomes a client. How do people feel about you and your brand before becoming a customer. Sales and marketing must work together to innovate and create best end-to-end customer experience.

Contact Andrew here in LinkedIn and also follow his Publisher page. If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Craig Sunter - Some people are just never happy!