One of the greatest pleasures in workingImage with an online community like The Customer Collective is the relationship with some terrific thought leaders in the business arena.

So I practically turned handstands in reading managing director Brian Zimmerman’s blog at OpenView Venture Partners on “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012.” Fifteen of these sales and marketing resources are contributors to The Customer Collective!

Zimmerman cites marketing channel research to show that there really was a scientific process involved in generating this list of key influencers. Beyond that, what impressed me was that these are genuinely  decent folks who care about what they do and how they can be of service.

How do I know that? Because I personally know and respect a great many of these 25. Several are good friends whom I’ve come to know well in working as a consultant to various sales-related websites in recent years. Sure, we’re all pursuing an income that helps us secure more comfortable lives. But beyond that, what stands out among these authors is their passion for generosity, for sharing and creating connections for the benefit of others.

The Customer Collective is an editorially independent, moderated blogging community for elite sales and marketing executives. We at TCC (and parent company Social Media Today) believe that by shedding fresh light on key issues, we encourage sales and marketing organizations to become smarter and more focused ─ particularly as social media impacts all aspects of the 21st century sales cycle.

That’s why we place such a high value on our bloggers. It’s why I was so delighted to see OpenView’s list of top sales influencers.

Congratulations to our representatives on the list: Bob Apollo, Trish Bertuzzi, Ian Brodie, Brian Carroll, Paul Castain, Jonathan Farrington, Colleen Francis, Jill Konrath, Kendra Lee, Sean McPheat, Sharon Drew Morgen, Jeff Ogden, Lori Richardson, Kelley Robertson, and Lee Salz.

To Jill and Kendra, thank you for serving on our advisory panel and expertly guiding our service to our members and visitors. And to the other 10 on the list: Watch out, you’re on my radar!