The oldest link-building trick in the book is the “best of” list. But this is not merely a link-building exercise. Actually, I have been dying to write this for a while. Since I have started the blog, I have found places on the Web to gather ideas and have had a chance to really think about the people that have given me the foundation for my ideology.
Because it’s my list, I created my own “best of” rules for how I made my choices:
The bottom line is that my professional career has to have been affected by you to make the list. That’s it.
There are only 19 on this list, so consider this Part I. I can’t help but find people as I expand my professional horizon.
So here are the 2008 Top of the Funnel Award winners, in no particular order:
- Michael Stelzner: I started reading his blog when I started mine. He’s really smart and interesting. Not surprisingly, he is a great writer and a clear-cut thought leader in what works or doesn’t work in the white paper business.
- Howard Sewell: This dude is a total stud. I have known a lot of people who have worked with him and believe in his work. He is known in Silicon Valley to be a guy who can deliver. So get this, I PAID to take Howard and Michael’s class on whitepaper syndication. That’s right, PAID. That typifies the kind of respect I have for them. I wish his blog posts were longer however.
- Stu Silverman: This guy gets WAY too much ink from me, but he was my boss, knows b2b lead generation as well as anyone, and always delivers. He’s a consultant who has built lead-development teams in the Valley for 30 years. Not a blogger, so, I have to refer you his one white paper. Spend an hour with him, and you walk out smarter.
- Jon Miller: You just know this dude is smart. His blog posts are insightful and Marketo (his company) is on the verge of greatness. I know a guy who is smart when I see one. I read most blogs when I remember to or feel like it. I always read his blog, Modern b2b Marketing Blog.
- Brian Carroll: I am a sell-out. There may not be a more famous guy in our business. And this is way too obvious choice. But, I like this guy and as an Internet guy myself, props to him for being the number 1 result on Goggle for “ b2b lead generation.” Anyway, I like his work, and he sits on top of the lead-gen world as our number 1 thought leader.
- Aaron Ross: This one is interesting. So, I know Aaron. He built a very successful outbound lead-generation group at Salesforce.com. But you always have to be careful as to whether companies like Salesforce.com made the man or if the man helped make Salesforce.com. The most important thing is that he built the outbound group that went after mid-size and higher opportunities, so he didn’t get to sit back and ride the Salesforce.com wave. I like reading his stuff a lot and think the guy is really smart. Also Aaron has a new business, Pebblestorm.com, which is innovative and ahead of it’s time.
- The guys from Sirius Decisions: I can’t choose one, I have liked everyone of them. I was introduced by my boy Matt Elders and was impressed. More and more marketing departments are using their lead-generation methodologies. That’s a good thing.
- The inventor(s) of Eloqua: I know they are trying to play their guy Steve Gershik up on webinars and over the internet, but I just couldn’t put him on the list yet. No offense, he just didn’t fit into my rule-set. But Eloqua will prove to be a landmark breakthrough for marketing, and all the others jumping in to play in the marketing automation game will ultimately thank these guys for inventing the category.
- MarketingSherpa: I love MarketingSherpa. Period. I read the reports all the time.
- Laura Ramos at Forrester Research: I saw Laura speak once and liked her schtick. Her stuff is good, not as “feet on the street” as some of the others, but valuable nonetheless.
- Anneke Seely and Sally Duby from Phone Works: I use their compensation reports in one of my posts and read them every year. Like Stu above, these gals run around the Valley building inside sales and lead-gen teams. They have a great reputation, and I love that they use the compensation reports to stay in our hearts and minds. In other words, smart.
- Brian Provost: Total fix here. I work with Brian, but let’s be clear: if there is a guy who has the best win percentage in the competitive b2b Internet market, its Brian. He IS SEO, not a guy who reads it out of a book, from classes, or online posts.
- Mike Damphousse: Mike does outbound appointment setting. He helped build up By Appointment Only and now has his own gig: Green Leads. You gotta love the brute force outbound guys, especially those willing to take all the risk and charge you per-appointment. Check out his blog.
- Paul Dunay: Another referral from Matt Elders. Paul has a blog that I read, and when I spoke to him I was amazed at his sophistication. You want a guy who knows what DRIP/nurture marketing is? Talk to Paul or listen to his stuff.
- Robert Rosenthal: I like guys who write their blogs with curse words and raw opinions. His blog approach is close to mine, written like he talks and fun.
- LinkedIn Answers: This is obviously not a person. Maybe I could have listed their CEO, but since I think he should have sold the company last year when he had the chance, I’m not going to give him any props. I can however, sit back in awe of the greatness of Linkedin Answers. I use it, other smart people are on it, and the answers you get are awesome.
- The b2b lead blog: I just started reading this blog. The posts are interesting and witty. Also, they are prolific, so I get new content from them ALL the time.
- Tamara Gielen: She has a great email marketing blog, BeRelevant!. I particularly appreciate blogs that are easy to read and have practical advice. This is one of them.
- Denny Head: Denny has just started a consulting business, but I saw what he can do when he was with Avaya. He built a lead-processing machine there that is bar-none one of the best I have seen. Now he is selling his secrets.
This was fun. As I mentioned, 19 is not a lot, so stay tuned for more.