Born in England, Rackham grew up in the jungles of Borneo, returning to England to enter Sheffield University, where he earned a degree in experimental psychology. His post-graduate research followed (see below) and then his many books.
He went on to found Huthwaite, Inc., an international research and consulting firm, and became Chairman. He left in 2004. In October 2009, Rackham reengaged with Huthwaite’s current President & CEO in a strategic advisory capacity.
Rackham has worked closely with sales forces for companies such as IBM, Xerox, AT&T and Citicorp. He has also worked extensively with senior partners in some of the world’s most successful professional services organizations including McKinsey & Company, where he was for many years a member of the Sales and Channel Management Group. He has been an advisor on sales performance to several Fortune 100 companies.
While a Post-graduate Research Fellow at Sheffield, he developed new research tools to study areas such as selling and negotiating where success depended on complex interpersonal skills. From watching top performing salespeople in action, Neil became convinced that much of the traditional wisdom on how to sell was inadequate and often downright wrong. He put together a research consortium, supported by major multinational companies including Xerox and IBM, raising the funds needed to mount the largest ever research study of successful selling. This project involved a team of 30 researchers who studied 35,000 sales calls in over 20 countries. From the results of these studies he published the groundbreaking classic SPIN Selling and Major Account Sales Strategy.
Rackham's books regularly rank among business best sellers, and SPIN Selling is McGraw Hill’s best selling business book ever, with sales increasing each year since its publication. SPIN Selling was also one of the first models of consultative selling.
His other books include Managing Major Sales and Getting Partnering Right: How Market Leaders Are Creating Long-Term Competitive Advantage. More than half the Fortune 500 train their salespeople using sales models derived from his research. His book Rethinking The Sales Force has received wide acclaim from critics, academics and salespeople. It is required reading at many leading business schools.
Speaking and Training
Rackham's work in sales training won him the Instructional Systems Association lifetime award for Innovation in Training and Instruction. Sought after as a conference speaker, Neil receives top reviews from participants for his capacity to take complex issues and make them accessible and interesting.
- N. Rackham, SPIN Selling, McGraw-Hill, 1988, ISBN 0-07-051113-6
- N. Rackham, Major Account Sales Strategy, McGraw-Hill, 1989, ISBN 0-07-051114-4
- http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/search.aspx?q=neil rackham
- N. Rackham, R. Ruff, Managing Major Sales, Harper, 1991, ISBN 0-88730-508-3
- N. Rackham, L. Friedman, R. Ruff, Getting Partnering Right: How Market Leaders Are Creating Long-Term Competitive Advantage, McGraw Hill, 1995, ISBN 0-07-051782-7
- N. Rackham, J. DeVincentis, Rethinking The Sales Force, McGraw Hill, 1999, ISBN 0-07-134253-2