50 People You Should Know In Sales & BD

Sep 13, 2016 · 18 min read

Early in your career, it’s great to know who the top practitioners of your field are so you understand what greatness looks like and have a sense of who to emulate.

We thought a list like this should exist, so we’ve started it.

As you’ll notice, there are fewer than 50 people on this list. Who have we missed? We would love your suggestions!

After reading through their profiles, here are two concrete things you can do to continue to learn from them:

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  2. Subscribe to our quarterly email where we curate the best writings from the people on this list.

Aaron Ross — Author & CRO @ Predictable Revenue

Age: 44
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA
College: Stanford
Major: Environmental Civil Engineering
Companies: Salesforce.com, PredictableRevenue.com
Sector: B2B Saas
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Aaron conceived of cold calling 2.0, which spawned a specialized sales divisions at Salesforce. This helped them get to $100 million in recurring revenue. He then codified that knowledge in his iconic book “Predictable Revenue.”
More about Aaron: Aaron’s guest post on HubSpot’s blog. David Skok’s interview with Aaron.

Aliisa Rosenthal — Director of Sales @ Mixpanel

Age: 33
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
College: Brown University
Major: International Relations
Companies: Quid, S&P Capital, Mixpanel
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Aliisa was the first business hire at Mixpanel and helped build out the sales & growth functions, surpassing sales quotas at every step along the way.
More about Aliisa: Aliisa’s talk at the Traction Conference about common startup pitfalls. Aliisa’s blog post about finding a great startup role.

Allison Pickens VP, Customer Success & BizOps @ Gainsight

Age: 31
Hometown: Rosement, PA
College: Yale
Major: Ethics, Politics, and Economics
Companies: BainCapital, SparkTrades, Gainsight
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Allison leads customer success at Gainsight, which provides an industry-leading SaaS product for other SaaS companies’ customer success teams. So she knows her stuff.
More about Allison: Allison’s prolific writing on customer success as Gainsight.

Armando Mann — VP, Sales & Customer Success @ SalesforceIQ

Age: 38
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
College: Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires, Harvard Business School
Major: Industrial Eng, MBA
Companies: Dropbox, Google, SalesforceIQ
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Armando built the sales & customer success teams at RelateIQ, driving revenue and leading to an eventual acquisition by Salesforce.
More about Armando: Armando’s post on how to hire and amazing sales team. Armando speaking about go-to-market strategies.

Becca Lindquist — Head of New Business @ Heap

Age: 27
Hometown: Gold River, CA
College: UC Berkeley
Major: Political Economy
Companies: Heap, Optimizely
Sector: B2B SaaS (analytics)
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Becca is an expert at bringing new products to market and building out sales processes, having been a part of Optimizely’s mobile team and now leading new business at Heap.
More about Becca: Becca’s Optimizely blog post on experimentation to drive app store rankings & reviews.

Ben Sardella — Co-Founder & CRO @ Datanyze

Age: 38
Hometown: Boston, MA
College: Boston University
Major: International Business
Companies: NetSuite, Sabrix, KISSmetrics, Datanyze
Sector: SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Ben pioneered the SaaS sales model at NetSuite 16 years ago and since then for a number of leading cloud-based software companies. He is now putting those insights to work through his new company Datanyze.
More about Ben: Read an AMA that Ben gave. Listen to an interview he gave about sales tactics that actually work. Check out the podcast that he hosts– Stories From the Sales Floor.

Bill Binch — SVP of Global Sales @ Marketo

Age: 45
Hometown: Cupertino, CA
College: Arizona State University
Major: B.S. Marketing
Companies: Oracle, BEA Systems Inc.
Sector: SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Bill joined Marketo early on and by reorienting his sales teams around a transaction quota instead of a dollar quota, he led Marketo to be one of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies in the world.
More about Bill: An interview on how Bill built Marketo’s sales process. Sales motivation, management, and career advice from Bill. Watch a webinar he gave on sales leadership.

Bob Rosin — VP of Global Business Development @ LinkedIn

Age: 46
Hometown: Franklin Lakes, NJ
College: Cornell, Harvard
Major: Cognitive Studies / Psychology, MBA
Companies: Sony, OQO, Qik, Skype, LinkedIn
Sector: Varied
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Bob is an accomplished executive who has created, managed and spearheaded meaningful partnerships across multiple stages and diverse industries (like Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype for $8.5B).
More about Bob: Business Insider’s article on the Qik/Skype acquisition. An interview with Bob on partners, platforms, and data.

Carolyn Betts Fleming — Founder & CEO @ Betts Recruiting

Age: 35
Hometown: Piedmont, CA
College: UNC Chapel Hill
Major: Journalism and Mass Communications
Companies: Andiamo! Group, Careerbuilder.com
Sector: Tech recruiting
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Carolyn understands what the tech market wants when recruiting for sales roles from SDR up to VP of Sales. Her company recruits for some of the top high growth tech startups in the US and Europe.
More about Carolyn: Andrew Warner’s interview with Carolyn. Carolyn’s career advice for Bay Area job seekers.

Chris Barton— Founder & Board Director @ Shazam

Hometown: San Diego, CA
College: UC Berkeley, Cambridge
Major: Economics/MBA, Finance
Companies: Google, Dropbox, Shazam
Sector: Mobile
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Chris founded Shazam and then played major strategic roles for both Google and Dropbox as they built out their mobile efforts.
More about Chris: His interview on the Pioneers blog. A profile on Chris via Dropbox Growers’ Medium account.

Cristina Cordova — Head of Business Development @ Stripe

Age: 28
Hometown: Glendale, CA
College: Stanford
Major: Political Science
Companies: Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), Stripe
Sector: Publishing, dev tools
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Cristina was the first business hire at Pulse, where she crafted BD deals that led to the company’s acquisition by LinkedIn. She was then the first BD hire at Stripe where she has completed similarly large deals that have helped the business scale.
More about Cristina: Cristina’s personal blog. Jason Chen’s early interview with Cristina.

Daniel Barber — VP of Sales @ Datanyze

Age: 30
Hometown: Adelaide, Australia
College: Eastern Michigan University, Doshisha University
Major: International Business & Marketing, MBA
Companies: Node, ToutApp, Responsys
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, execution

Why? Daniel is a process-oriented thinker and has made major contributions to pipeline productivity at both established companies like Responsys and earlier stage startups like ToutApp and Node.
More about Daniel:
Raymond Martin’s interview with Daniel. Daniel’s guest post on the Salesforce about hiring. Daniel’s interview with Bowery Capital.

Danielle Herzberg —Partnerships @ Airbnb for Business

Age: 30
Hometown: Boston, MA
College: University of Pennsylvania, Stanford
Major: B.A. Economics, MBA
Companies: Hubspot, Airbnb
Sector: B2B
Stage: Initiation, Transition

Why? Danielle joined Hubspot as a sales rep in its early years. Every year she was there, she was the #1 ranked performer (both as a rep and as a manager). She concluded her time at Hubspot as the Director of BD and is now working on product and partnerships at Airbnb.
More about Danielle:
Danielle’s post on the Hubspot blog about mastering a first sales call. Her women 2.0 post on building a network from scratch.

Don Hoang — Corporate & Business Development @ Uber

Age: 36
Hometown: Orange County, CA
UCLA, Stanford
Major: B.A. Business Economics, MBA
Companies: Klout, Lithium Technologies, Uber
Sector: Varied
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Don transitioned from finance into business development and has since played important roles at Klout, Lithium Technologies, and now Uber. He helps lead corporate and business development for Uber in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia.
More about Don: Don’s post on why influence matters online. His LinkedIn profile.

Doug Landis — VP of Sales Productivity @ Box

Age: 47
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
College: University of Oregon
Major: Business Admin & Management
Companies: Salesforce, Google, Monster, Oracle, Box
Sector: Varied
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Doug is one of the top guys in the world when it comes to sales training. He carried a quota in his early days but built his reputation as a productivity expert at companies like Google, Salesforce and Box.
More about Doug: Doug’s advice on building scalable sales processes from day one. Doug’s episode on the podcast interviews with inside sales gurus. A video on sales hacking by Doug.

Elay Cohen — Co-Founder & CEO @ SalesHood

Age: 45
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
College: University of Toronto, Schulich School of Business
Major: Political Science & History, MBA
Companies: Salesforce, Oracle
Sector: Sales productivity
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Elay is the king of sales productivity, having led Salesforce’s efforts at a time when they grew from $500M to $3B in revenue. He’s the CEO of SalesHood, which improves time to revenue for companies by simplifying and automating sales productivity using video, mobile and social learning.
More about Elay: SalesHood’s blog. Elay’s presentation and video on how to achieve ramp to revenue & deal velocity. His book.

Eddie Nguyen — VP, Sales & Customer Experience @ Fictiv

Age: 38
Hometown: San Jose, CA
College: UC Davis
Major: Computer Science
Companies: Marketo, Optimizely
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Eddie has played key roles in sales and customer success at some of the most successful B2B SaaS companies of the last decade. He’s also built and managed 100+ person teams.
More about Eddie: His perspective on valuing not just customers but also employees. His thoughts on work-life balance.

Erica Galos-Alioto — Senior VP of Local Sales @ Yelp

Age: 41
Hometown: Riverside, CA
College: UCSB, UC Berkeley
Major: Philosophy/Law and Society, JD
Companies: Latham & Watkins, Yelp
Sector: Consumer internet
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Erica started at Yelp as the second sales person and now runs a the local sales team at Yelp, a team of over 2,000 people.
More about Erica: Erica’s post on the logic of success. Her Influencers Insights interview on career choices.

Holger Luedorf— SVP Business @ Postmates

Age: 45
Hometown: Gummersbach, Germany
College: Hochschule Bremen, Fuqua School of Business (Duke)
Major: Japanese & Business, MBA
Companies: T-Mobile, Yahoo, Foursquare
Sector: Varied
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Holger managed Yahoo’s partnerships with major mobile handset manufacturers like Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, struck key deals in the early days of Foursquare and has been instrumental to Postmates’ current business success.
More about Holger: Holger’s 15 basic rules for a beginner in BD for start-ups.

J. Ryan Williams — VP of Sales @ LeadGenius

Age: 38
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
College: Principia College, University of Chicago
Major: Education/Sociology, Masters in Organizational Admin
Companies: InVision, CheckMate, AdRoll
Sector: Varied
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? J. Ryan is known as a great manager and mentor. He’s helped hire and train teams at AdRoll and now LeadGenius.
More about J. Ryan: Mary Nielsen’s interview with J. Ryan on sales processes & how to build something from nothing.

Jason Lemkin — Founder & VC @ SaaStr Fund

Age: 47
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA
College: Harvard, UC Berkeley
Major: Economics, JD
Companies: SaaStr, Adobe Systems
Sector: SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? He’s taken multiple SaaS companies from $0 to over $100M in revenue. He’s a prolific blogger and the top enterprise & SaaS writer on Quora. Recently, Jason raised his own $70m fund and is in the process of launching the SaaStr Co-selling Space for B2B SaaS Startups in the Bay Area.
More about Jason: Jason’s thoughts on starting a SaaS company. Jason’s AMA on Reddit.

Jamie Tilotta Green — Partner @ The Cole Group

Hometown: Gig Harbor, WA
College: University of Puget Sound
Major: BA Communication
Companies: Otec, Notiva, The Cole Group
Sector: Sales & marketing recruiting
Stage: Transition, Execution

Why? Jamie co-founded the Cole Group, the premier executive search agency for sales & marketing talent. She’s worked to place execs at top companies including Asana, Minted, Polyvore, Bill.com, and many others.
More about Jamie:
Jamie’s insights in Fortune’s piece on negotiating a tech job.

John Barrows — Owner & Consultant @ J. Barrows LLC

Age: 40
Hometown: Bedford, MA
College: University of Maryland College Park
Major: Marketing
Companies: Xerox, Thrive / Staples, Basho Technologies
Sector: Sales training
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? He trains some of the fastest growing companies in the world on sales process and techniques with a specialization in prospecting and outbound lead generation. He shares many tips and techniques for free to help improve the overall profession of sales.
More about John: John’s post on emails. The one piece of sales advice John would give his 22 year old self. Three tips to increase your sales by John.

Jonathan Flesher — CRO @ Skillz

Age: 46
College: Pomona College, UCLA
Major: Philosophy, MBA
Companies: Electronic Arts, Zynga, Betable
Sector: Gaming
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Jonathan started his career in finance and transitioned into biz dev at startups. He has a track record of negotiating critical partnerships for companies like EA and Zynga.
More about Jonathan: A Techcrunch article about Jonathan. GameSauce’s write-up of a talk by Jonathan about real-money gaming.

Juliana Crispo — CEO @ Startup Sales Bootcamp

Age: 29
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College: Arizona State University
Major: Accounting
Companies: Meltwater, Fuze, Ghostery
Sector: Enterprise sales
Stage: Execution

Why? Juliana has a track record as a top saleswoman and sales leader and helped grow bootstrapped SaaS company Meltwater from $15k to $150M in ARR. Now she runs Startup Sales Bootcamp, a tech enabled sales training and coaching company that's launched last year to rave reviews and now has over 121 companies and 2,000 sales professionals in its programs.

More about Juliana: Sales Hacker’s interview with Juliana. Outlier Magazine’s podcast interview. Her free course on the psychology tactics used by top sellers.

Kirk Bowman — Venture Partner @ Accel Partners

Age: 51
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Companies: Accel Partners
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Transition, execution

Why? Kirk’s on the board of many top tech companies, he’s a lecturer at Stanford GSB, and he has over 20 years of experience in sales and management.
More about Kirk: TechCrunch’s article about Kirk joining Accel. Brief notes from Kirk’s workshop on business development in the enterprise.

Kris Duggan — CEO @ Betterworks

Age: 40
College: UC Irvine
Major: MBA
Companies: WebEx, SocialText, Badgeville
Sector: Behavior design
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Kris has founded two successful companies that leverage his insights on how people behave. He also advises & educates early-stage startups on go-to-market strategy.
More about Kris: SaaScribe’s in-depth interview with Kris.

Kyle Porter — CEO @ SalesLoft

Age: 34
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College: Georgia Tech
Major: Management
Companies: SalesLoft
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Kyle is the founder and CEO of SalesLoft, a successful sales development SaaS company. He comes from 10 years of experience in sales & marketing, frequenting sales conferences as a top speaker and practitioner.
More about Kyle: SaaScribe’s interview with Kyle. His take on automation vs. personalization.

Mark Cranney — Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz

Age: 52
Hometown: Oakley, ID
College: Southern Utah University
Major: Business Admin & Marketing
Companies: PTC, Opsware (Acquired by HP), a16z
Sector: B2B
Stage: Execution

Why? I’ll let Ben Horowitz answer this one: "I later realized that for me to ask Mark Cranney to describe the proper way to train sales reps was like a laymen asking Isaac Newton to explain the laws of physics. Where to begin?” “…he mastered sales to a level that far exceeds anybody that I have ever known”
More about Mark: Mark’s posts on sales from the a16z blog. Wizeline’s series of interviews with Mark. Sid Krommenhoek’s interview with Mark about what he does at a16z.

Mark Roberge — Former CRO and Advisor @ HubSpot

Age: 40
Hometown: Worcester, MA
College: Lehigh, MIT
Major: Mechanical Engineering, MBA
Companies: HubSpot
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Mark expanded the sales team at HubSpot from 1 to 450 people. He shared the learnings from his journey in the phenomenal book “The Sales Acceleration Formula”. He’s also a lecturer at Harvard Business School.
More about Mark: Mark’s post on the Hubspot blog. David Skok’s interview with Mark.

Mark Leslie — Managing General Partner @ Leslie Ventures

Age: 72
Hometown: New York, NY
College: NYU
Major: Physics/Math
Companies: Veritas Software
Sector: Varied
Stage: Execution

Why? Mark is one of the legends of Silicon Valley sales thinking. He co-wrote “The Sales Learning Curve”, is on the board or advises dozens of companies, lectures at Stanford GSB, is a venture capitalist and was the Founder of Veritas (just to name a few things he’s done).
More about Mark: Entrepreneur magazine’s profile of Mark.

Mark Suster — Partner @ Upfront Ventures

Age: 47
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: UCSD, University of Chicago
Major: Economics/Political Science, MBA
Companies: BuildOnline, Koral
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Mark brings an operational mindset to his role in venture capital. He’s an avid blogger and shares sales & bd lessons that he’s learned during his career in tech.
More about Mark: Derek Andersen’s interview with Mark.

Max Altschuler — CEO @ Sales Hacker

Age: 29
Hometown: Long Island, NY
College: Arizona State University
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, Business & Design
Companies: Sales Hacker, AttorneyFee, Udemy
Sector: Sales training
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Max was an early business hire at Udemy where he learned to approach sales in a gritty, low-resource way. He has since taken best practices from large enterprise sales teams and translated them for the startup world through his company Sales Hacker and his book “Hacking Sales”.
More about Max: InsightSquared’s interview with Max. Scripted’s interview with Max.

Renee DiResta — Director of Marketing @ Haven

Age: 35
Hometown: Yonkers, NY
College: Stony Brook
Major: Computer Science/Political Science
Companies: O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Jane Street
Sector: Hardware, logistics
Stage: Initiation

Why? Renee has an eclectic background as a former VC, finance quant, author and political advocate turned founder. She has a strong understanding of the market principles and financial aspects of bringing a product to market.
More about Renee: The Blueprint’s interview with Renee.

Ruben Harris — Partnerships & Lead Generation @ Honor

Age: 29
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College: Southern Adventist University
Major: B.A. Music, B.S. Business
Companies: Altschool, Honor
Sector: Mission-driven
Stage: Initiation, Transition

Why? Ruben has used his sales & marketing skills to focus on the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His work helped double the number of students enrolled at AltSchool and he’s now getting more people great home care in his partnerships role at Honor.
More about Ruben:
Ruben’s perspective on breaking into startups. His own experience transitioning from investment banking to startups.

Ryan Delk — VP of BD + Growth @ Omni

Age: 25
Hometown: Orlando, FL
College: University of Florida
Major: BS Resource Economics
Companies: iHub, Square, Gumroad, Omni
Sector: Payments, On-Demand
Stage: Initiation, Transition

Why? Ryan is a prototypical early business hire with a hybrid skill set between partnerships and growth. He hustled his way into his first job in Silicon Valley, negotiated major deals at Gumroad (including an exclusive Eminem album release) and is now leads bd & growth at Omni.
More about Ryan:
Hack To Start’s interview with Ryan. EO Fire’s interview with Ryan.

Scott Britton — Co-Founder @ Troops

Age: 28
Hometown: New York, NY
College: Princeton
Major: Politics/Economics
Companies: SinglePlatform, Life-LongLearner
Sector: B2B SaaS
Stage: Initiation

Why? Scott is one of the most energetic and productive young business guys out there. He helped grow SinglePlatform toward its acquisition, puts out tons of high-quality content via his blog and recently started a new company integrating AI and sales.
More about Scott: Ambition’s interview with Scott. His post on avoiding communication mistakes.

Steli Efti — CEO @ Close.io

Age: 34
Hometown: Drama, Greece
College: n/a
Major: n/a
Companies: Close.io
Sector: Sales tools
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? Steli has been helping Silicon Valley companies run their sales operations more efficiently for the past five years, first via services (Elastic Sales) and now via software (Close.io).
More about Steli: GrowthEverywhere’s interview with Steli.

Tawheed Kader — CEO @ ToutApp

Age: 33
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
College: RPI
Major: CS/Management
Companies: ToutApp, Plaxo
Sector: SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition, execution

Why? He’s the founder of well-loved sales enablement tool, ToutApp. He also blogs about entrepreneurship and has experience through all stages of the sales learning curve.
More about Tawheed: OpenView’s interview with Tawheed. His own description of his background.

Tim Hsia — Founder @ Media Mobilize

Age: 34
Hometown: Tallahassee, FL
College: West Point, Stanford
Major: Bachelor of Science, JD/MBA
Companies: The Dish Daily, Pocket, Media Mobilize
Sector: Media, productivity, mobile
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? After spending 6 years in the US Army, Tim transitioned to tech via Stanford GSB where he started a media company that was acquired. Subsequently he did bd & sales at Pocket. He’s the founder of Media Mobilize and consults for several startups.
More about Tim: Poets and Quants’ interview with Tim.

Tom Tunguz — Venture Capitalist @ Redpoint Ventures

Age: 34
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Companies: Google, Appian Corporation
Sector: SaaS
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Tom is one of the most thoughtful observers/analysts of the SaaS world. He is a prolific blogger who uses data to drive insights across many different functions within a startup, including tech.
More about Tom: Tom’s website. TechCrunch’s interview with Tom.

Tristan Walker — CEO @ Walker & Co.

Age: 33
Hometown: Queens, NY
College: Stony Brook
Major: Economics
Companies: Foursquare, Walker & Co.
Sector: Consumer
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Tristan first established his reputation through his role as the head of BD at Foursquare. Subsequently he founded Walker & Co., a health and beauty product company for minorities.
More about Tristan: FastCompany’s profile of Tristan.

Whitney Sales — VP of Sales @ TalentIQ

Age: 33
Hometown: San Diego, CA
College: UCSD
Major: Sociology
Companies: Wanelo, LoopNet, SpringAhead
Sector: Varied
Stage: Initiation, transition

Why? Whitney has been an early sales hire at a number of companies including three that made it on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. She also helps train people on early stage sales methodologies.
More about Whitney: First Round Review’s interview with Whitney. Sales4Startups’ interview with Whitney.

Huge thanks to Max Weinstein and Michael Maltese for helping to research this piece. They are both talented young business folks, if you have the chance to work with them, you should take it!

Epilogue / CTA:
-Let us know who we’ve missed
-If this article was valuable for you, please recommend / share.
-If you want to build a career in bd & sales,
let’s chat!


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