Closers

In their new book “Blitzscaling,” Angel investor Chris Yeh and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman say the first-mover advantage is a myth. It’s all about being first to scale.

Mark Cuban

When he was 12, Mark Cuban sold garbage bags to pay for an expensive pair of basketball shoes. An entrepreneur was born and the business world hasn't been the same. Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of AXS TV. He is also one of four “shark” investors on the TV series “Shark Tank.” He recently answered some questions via an email exchange with Sales & Marketing Management.

New York Times foreign correspondent Elizabeth Becker

Former New York Times foreign correspondent Elizabeth Becker circled the world to report on the global impact of travel as a product. Her book, “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism,” was published earlier this year. It is a comprehensive and often discouraging report on the impact of tourism in a world where no corner is left untraipsed. We focused our discussion on incentive travel and experiencing new places as a group.

Apollo Robbins

A recent New Yorker feature on Apollo Robbins described the Las Vegas-based entertainer as a “theatrical pickpocket” who, in pursuit of his craft, has incorporated principles from aikido, sales and Latin ballroom dancing. The sales part left us curious (OK, the aikido and ballroom dancing did, too), so we gave him a call.

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink's new book, “To Sell Is Human,” offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling and states that everyone is in sales in one fashion or another.

Bill Catlette

Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden emerged on the employee engagement scene in 1998 as the “cow guys” after the publication of their book, “Contented Cows Give Better Milk: The Plain Truth About Employee Relations and Your Bottom Line.” Fourteen years later, they’re still crusading for building better workplaces. Now, the duo has published “Contented Cows STILL Give Better Milk,” in which they share new stories, showcase new companies and provide new evidence that creating a focused, engaged and capably led workforce is one of the best things any organization can do for its bottom line. We spoke with Catlette shortly before the book’s July 3 publication.

Martini

If you’re business as usual, a lot of the methodologies and training that worked in sales 10 years ago just aren’t enough today. The position of sales is more demanding, you need to be more sophisticated, and analytics can help drive that. But this is an incredible time to be in sales.

DILBERT © 2006 Scott Adams

Before he became a world-renowned depicter of the banality of corporate America with his “Dilbert” comic strip, Scott Adams was rejected for an arts school, and instead earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Hartwick College and an MBA in economics and management from the University of California-Berkeley. In 1997, at the invitation of Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta, Adams, wearing a wig and false mustache, successfully impersonated a management consultant and tricked Logitech managers into adopting a mission statement that he described as “so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever.”

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Matthew Dixon is Managing Director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice. Brent Adamson is Senior Director of the Sales Executive Council, a division of the Sales and Service Practice. Their book “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” was published in November 2011 by Portfolio/Penguin.

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