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 International, 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 consulted with sales forces for companies such as IBM, Xerox, AT&T and Citicorp, and professional services organizations including McKinsey & Company, where he was for many years a member of the Sales and Channel Management Group.
While a post-graduate research fellow at Sheffield, Rackham developed new research tools to study areas such as selling and negotiating where success depended on complex interpersonal skills. He created a research consortium, supported by major multinational companies including Xerox and IBM, raising the funds needed to a research study of successful selling. This project involved a team of 30 researchers who studied 35,000 sales calls in over 20 countries. The results of these studies were published in Rackham's books 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. His book Rethinking the Sales Force has received wide acclaim from critics, academics and salespeople.
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.
- Rackham, N. (1998). SPIN Selling. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-051113-6.
- Rackham, N. (1989). Major Account Sales Strategy. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-051114-4.
- http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/search.aspx?q=neil rackham
- Rackham, N.; Ruff, R. (1991). Managing Major Sales. Harper. ISBN 0-88730-508-3.
- Rackham, N.; Friedman, L.; Ruff, R. (1995). Getting Partnering Right: How Market Leaders Are Creating Long-Term Competitive Advantage. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-051782-7.
- Rackham, N.; DeVincentis, J. (1999). Rethinking the Sales Force. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-134253-2.