Steve W Martin IT Sales Strategy










"I'm a lifetime student of the human nature of customers while in the process of making complex purchase decisions."

Steve W Martin Sales Training

"I've had the privilege to  study hundreds of sales organizations and interview  1,000+ top salespeople to better understand why salespeople win and lose business."

Steve W Martin (2)

“Listening to C-level executive decision makers and evaluation team members share their honest thoughts about why they selected the vendors they did is always fascinating.”

About Steve W. Martin

Steve W. Martin is the foremost expert on “Sales Linguistics,” the study of how customers use language during the complex decision-making process. Steve began his career programming computers as a teenager. Through working with computers, he became acutely aware of the preciseness and structure of language. In addition, programming is built upon models--verbal descriptions and visual representations of how systems work and processes flow. Models enable repeatable and predictable experiences.

Early in his career, he was also introduced to the concepts of neurolinguistics (the science of how the human brain constructs and interprets language). When he transitioned his career into sales, he realized that he could build models to create successful relationships based upon customers’ language and thought processes. Without any sales experience to speak of, he was the number one salesperson in his company for the following four years.

Steve went on to be a top sales producer for a billion-dollar software company and was promoted into management to imprint his “selling model” on other salespeople within the organization. As vice president of sales later, Steve successfully trained his salespeople on the sales strategies and communication skills that are necessary to close large complex accounts.

He is the author of critically acclaimed “Heavy Hitter” series of books about enterprise sales strategies for senior salespeople. 

Heavy Hitter I.T. Sales Strategy: Competitive Insights from Interviews with 1,000+ Key I.T. Decision Makers and Top Technology Salespeople -- Based on extensive win-loss analysis research and over one thousand of interviews with top salespeople and technology buyers.

Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics: 101 Advanced Sales Call Strategies for Senior Salespeople --  The most comprehensive book about “sales linguistics,” the revolutionary new field of study about how customers and salespeople use and interpret language during the decision making process.

Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology: How to Penetrate the C-Level Suite and Persuade Company Leaders to Buy -- The first book to truly explain what to say and do in meetings with C-Level executives. The book is based upon extensive interviews with over 500 C-level executives. H

Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom: Proven Sales Warfare Strategies, Secrets of Persuasion, and Common-Sense Tips for Success -- Considered mandatory reading by Selling Power Magazine and Customer Relationship Magazine.

Heavy Hitter Selling: How Successful Salespeople Use Language and Intuition to Persuade Customers to Buy -- Recommended reading by the Harvard Business School and has been featured in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

The Real Story of Informix Software and Phil White: Lessons in Business and Leadership for the Executive Team -- This book is a Silicon Valley sales, marketing, and executive leadership case study. It chronicles the meteoric rise of Informix Software and how it became a billion dollar technology giant.

A highly sought-after sales trainer and keynote speaker, Steve is both entertaining and  enlightening. He has had the privilege of helping more than 100,000 salespeople become top revenue producers at companies including IBM, HP, AT&T, Lenovo, EMC, PayPal, NEC, McAfee, Google, and Oracle.

Steve is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review. His “Heavy Hitter Sales Blog” is the top-ranked business-to-business sales blog and one of the most popular sales blogs according to and

Steve is also a noted sales effectiveness researcher who has conducted studies on sales organization best practices, key trends, and top salesperson performance. His published research includes:

  • The Sales Organization Performance Gap: The Differences Between High Performing and Underperforming Sales Organizations
  • The Truth About the Field Sales to Inside Sales Migration Trend:
  • How Compensation Impacts Sales Organization Quality and Performance
  • Key Success Factors that Separate Excellent from Average Sales Organizations
  • The Personality Attributes of 1,000+ Top Salespeople
  • The Persona of Top Sales Professionals
  • A Comparison of High Performing and Underperforming Salespeople
  • A Comparison of High Performing and Underperforming Sales Managers
  • Factors That Separate Successful Inside Salespeople From Underperformers
  • Sales Forecasting Research: The Art and Science of Sales Forecasting

Today, Steve is a lifetime student of the human nature of customer behavior. When not working with his clients, he teaches sales strategy at the University of Southern California Marshall Business School MBA Program. In 2012 he was awarded the USC Marshall Golden Apple Teaching Award presented to the professor who has had the greatest impact on their students as voted by the members of the graduating class.   He previously taught at the University of California Berkeley, Haas Business School MBA Program.

 The "Heavy Hitter" Sales Philosophy

Steve W. Martin is the founder of the Heavy Hitter Sales Philosophy. The philosophy is based upon understanding, anticipating, and influencing the human nature of complex enterprise sales. There are four underlying principles of the philosophy:

1. The Heavy Hitter sales philosophy is for senior salespeople who have been in the field

Recording IT Sales Strategy and Selling to the CXO for Google

Recording IT Sales Strategy and Selling to the CXO for Google

5, 10 and 15 years or more. It provides advanced sales strategies and real-world tactics to influence the people, politics, and executive decision making process. It is not an elementary sales program for beginning salespeople.

2. The Heavy Hitter sales philosophy is for underdog sales organizations that have to compete against the mindshare of 800 pound gorillas in their marketplace. Because there are typically little differences between the competing products and their price, the philosophy seeks to optimize the most important weapon a salesperson has—his mouth and the words he speaks.

3. The Heavy Hitter sales philosophy focuses on the most important aspect of sales: what salespeople do and say when they are face to face with prospective customers. It is predicated on preparing a psychological strategy before meetings and executing language-based tactics during calls to winover the hearts and minds of C-Level decision makers. 

4. The Heavy Hitter philosophy complements and enhances your existing sales process methodology regardless of the framework your sales organization has adopted (Miller-Heiman, Sandler, Complex Sale, CustomerCenteric Selling, Challenger Sale, etc.). It provides immediate results since it concentrates onpersonal interactions with prospective customers, not the internal processesof the sales organization.

The Heavy Hitter sales philosophy focuses on the most important aspect of sales: how to penetrate, navigate, and conquer complex enterprise accounts. It provides the missing piece of the sales training puzzle--how salespeople formulate an account strategy based upon customer politics, evaluator psychology, and the human nature of executive decision makers that are unique to every major account.

Steve W. Martin's Clients

Steve W. Martin’s services include comprehensive win-loss analysis studies based upon extensive customer interviewing, sales force effectiveness consulting, sales training workshops, and sales meeting keynote presentations. His clients include leading:

  • Technology Companies (application software, systems software, enterprise software, Cloud/SaaS, hardware, Semiconductor, embedded technology, IT outsourcing, and telecommunications)
  • Business Services, eCommerce, FinanceInsurance, Marketing, and Digital Agencies
  • Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics, and Transportation
  • Healthcare, Pharmacueticals, and Food Companies

Steve Martin Customers

Technology Clients

Healthcare, Manufacturing and Business Services Clients

Accent Learning Environments
Acell Pharmaceuticals
Activant Solutions
Advanced Voice Speech Technologies
Allstate Insurance
American Electronics Association
ANSYS Software
Applied Materials
Atlantis Computing
Automic Software
Automotive Resources International
BAE Systems Geospatial
BakBone Software
BEA Systems - Oracle
Bear Data Systems
Berbee Information Networks
Best Manufacturing
Beyondtrust Software
Birst Analytics Software
Bitsight Technologies
Blitz Digital Agency
Boston Scientific
Brandsen Floors
Brook Recognition Systems
Bruker Corporation
Calabrio Software
Captiva Software - EMC
Catalina Marketing
Central Life Sciences
Charles River Development
Chamberlain Group
Computer Generated Solutions
Connect Solutions
Convey Compliance
CSG International
Dassault Systèmes
Dawn Food Products
Demand Solutions
DHL Global Mail
Document Sciences - EMC
Dovetail Systems
Eaton Vance Investments

Edgar Online
Elta MD
Ennovation Controls
Epicor Software
Evans Consoles
Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Fluke Networks
FSA Foods
FusionStorm Technology
FW Murphy Company
Gallagher Company
General Communications
Global Healthcare Exchange
Global Knowledge
Global Technology Resources Inc - GTRI
GT Nexus
Habit Action
Hawaii Visitors Convention
Heartland Payment Systems
HD Smith Company
Hot In Place Recycling
I4 Commerce
IBM Int’l User Group
IJ Company
Incedo IT Services
Ingersoll Rand
Interactive Audio Visual
Iona Software - Progress Software
IPNET Solutions
ISI Solutions
ISI Telemanagement Solutions
Isilon Systems - EMC
Jasper Engines
JRG Software
Jost International
Keystone Logic IT Services
KI Furniture
Kratos Defense Solutions
Lesker Company
Liaison Technologies
LogicalApps - Oracle
LSI Logic - LinkedIn
Malware Bytes
Marquis Jets - NetJets
Mathworks Software
Medata Medical Billing
MetaStorm Software
MetricStream Software
Milford Pipelines
Mindjet Software
Morgan Stanley
Mphasis - Hewlett Packard
MSC Software
Music Maker Software
MySQL - Oracle
Network Hardware
Newly Weds Foods
Nimble Storage
Nixon Peabody
Nokia Seimens Network
Norwest Ventures Summit
Nth Computing
Oasis Outsourcing
Office Link Group
Open Solutions
Operational Performance Systems
Philips Lumileds
Physicians Formula
Picis Software
Pillar Data
Pitney Bowes Business Insight
Pivot Solutions
Pomeroy IT Solutions
Power Equipment Company
Precision Drilling
Q1 Labs
QAD Software
Quality Edge
Quotient Technologies
Rigaku MSC
Reproductive Medicine Associates
Riverbed Technology
Rocket Software
Roof and Building Services
Rosetta Stone Software
Safeguard Global Payroll
Sage Publications
San Diego Software Council
Samson Rope Technologies
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Savvis - CenturyLink
Sempra Utilities
Shaw Industries
Shukla Medical Technologies
Sigma Technology Solutions
Silverlink Communications
SMA Medical
Smith Optics
Society of Digital Agencies
Software Enterprise Conference
Software Conference
SolidWorks Software
Sourcefire - Cisco
Southern California Gas
Space Claim Software
Spectrum Brands
Stance Healthcare
Standard Register
Stanford University
Sterling Commerce - IBM
Sungard Insurance Systems
Sungard Financial Systems
T4G IT Consulting
Takumi Technologies
Taleo - Oracle
TC Communications
Tealeaf Technology
Teamquest Software
Tech Data
Tecsys Development
Telecity Data Centers
Telelogic - IBM
Third Brigade Software - Trend Micro
Thunderhead Software
Tradebe Environmental Services
Triad Financial
Triple Point Technology
TriQuint Semiconductors
Truven Health Analytics
Uhlrich Medical
United Industries
UPM Raflatac
USI Insurance
UTI Worldwide Logistics
Verisurf Software
Visionary Integration Professionals
Vitria Software
Werner Enterprises
Wolters Kluwer Health Systems
Wonderware Software
Workbrain - INFOR
Wuxi AppTec
Young Presidents Organization



Heavy Hitter I.T. Sales Strategy is a comprehensive guide for penetrating new accounts, differentiating your solution during the sales cycle, and winning highly competitive accounts. It is based on extensive research and interviews with more than 1,000 key information technology decision makers, top technology salespeople, and vice presidents of sales. The book provides state of the art technology sales strategies and advanced tactics for senior salespeople who want to learn the secrets of top performers.

Technology Sales Organization Strategy: Key Trends and Performance Metrics
Advanced Sales Cycle Strategy: Control the Complex Technology Sale
Sales Call Strategy: Differentiate Yourself in face-to-face customer meetings
New Account Penetration Strategy: Language-based Tactics to Secure Initial Meetings
Personal Communication Strategy: Say the Right Words to Convince Customers to Buy

Readers will find advice on how to win over C-level I.T. executives and senior business leaders across the organization. Discover how I.T. organizational structure impacts company decision making. Determine how to gain strategic account control based upon the people, process, and politics of selling to complex businesses. Learn to conduct persuasive sales calls using sales linguistics, the study of how the customer's mind uses and interprets language. Learn More

The "Heavy Hitter" Series of Books for Senior Salespeople

CoverAdvanced Sales Call Strategy

Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics: 101 Advanced Sales Call Strategies for Senior Salespeople

Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics is the first book that truly explains “sales linguistics,” the revolutionary new field of study about how customers and salespeople use and interpret language during the decision making process.

Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics provides communication strategies that enable salespeople to rise above their competition and impactful psychological suggestions that compel customers' rational intellect and emotional subconscious to buy.

        • Language-based strategies and tactics to secure customer meetings
        • What to say, do, and present in face-to-face customer meetings and phone calls
        • Bonding with customers using sales linguistics, the study of how the customer's mind uses language
        • Perfecting your sales intuition so you always say the right words at the right time
        • Extensive examples, illustrations, and exercises in an easy-to-read format

Learn More About Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics

Sales Psychology Front CoverC-Level Sales Strategy

Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology: How to Penetrate the C-Level Executive Suite and Convince Company Leaders to Buy

The biggest challenge facing salespeople today is securing meetings with C-level executives and convincing them to buy in the life-or-death meetings that determine who will win the deal. Based upon comprehensive interviews with more than 500 C-level executives, Steve Martin's Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology will help you understand how C-level executives think, how they communicate, and how to adapt your use of language to match executive decision makers'. Steve W. Martin provides language-based strategies that enable your message to rise above your competitors' and impactful psychological suggestions that compel executives to take action. Inside, you will find expert advice on

      • Strategies and tactics to penetrate the C-level executive's office
      • What to say, do, and present in face-to-face meetings with C-level executive
      • Building rapport using sales linguistics, the study of how the customer's mind uses and interprets language
      • Anticipating how the C-level mind-set impacts organizational politics and influences the complex decision-making process
      • Extensive real-world examples, illustrations, and exercises to help you apply the techniques immediately

Learn More About Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology

Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom FinalSales Wisdom for Large Enterprise Accounts

Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom: Proven Sales Warfare Strategies, Secrets of Persuasion, and Common-Sense Tips for Success

All salespeople must play three completely different roles to succeed. First, they must be generals who create a strategy to win their wars long before the first battle begins. The successful military leader painstakingly plans how and where he will attack in accordance with the troops and weapons at his disposal. When the fighting starts, the victorious commander achieves his objective through battlefield maneuvers to gain the advantage and countertactics to neutralize his enemy’s advance.

Second, all salespeople must be professional persuaders. In essence, salespeople are paid to persuade. They must gain the willing obedience of others and convince complete strangers to follow their advice. However, the most product-knowledgeable salesperson is not necessarily the most persuasive one. Persuasive salespeople naturally connect with customers, instill customer confidence, and establish trust.

Finally, successful salespeople must be oracles who predict their chances of winning based upon their common-sense judgment. As common sense accumulates over the years through interactions with customers, it becomes a salesperson’s lifesaving device. It prevents salespeople from repeating past mistakes and guides their intuition to maximize their most precious resource: time.

When a salesperson has mastered these three roles--strategist, persuader, and common-sense sage--he has attained sales wisdom and become a Heavy Hitter. Heavy Hitters are truly great salespeople who have acquired prominence through their accomplishments, expertise, and judgment. They continually exceed quotas, close big deals, and enjoy themselves in the process.

Learn More About Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom

Heavy Hitter Selling CoverThe Art and Science of Complex Sales

Heavy Hitter Selling: How Successful Salespeople Use Language and Intuition to Persuade Customers to Buy

Successful salespeople, known as a “Heavy Hitters,” are experts on human nature who skillfully use language and intuition to build relationships with customers and persuade them to buy. Heavy Hitter Selling reveals why Heavy Hitters are successful and explains how to duplicate their accomplishments. This innovative sales book provides expert guidance and tips on:

      • Understanding how people think and communicate
      • Finding the right words at the right time
      • Predicting a customer’s behavior and influencing his thoughts
      • Choosing your battles
      • Building customer rapport and understanding his motivations
      • Persuading both the customer’s rational mind and his emotional subconscious side

From the psychological and physical aspects of a sale to the real-life achievements of actual salespeople, Heavy Hitter Selling provides valuable tips and techniques that ambitious sales teams need in order to connect with prospects and close the deal.

Learn More About Heavy Hitter Selling

Real Story of Informix SoftwareSilicon Valley Case Study

The Real Story of Informix Software and Phil White: Lessons in Business and Leadership for the Executive Team

The Real Story of Informix Software and Phil White chronicles the meteoric rise of Informix Software, how it became a billion dollar software giant, and the scandal that ultimately led to its spectacular fall. As president, CEO, and chairman of the board, Phil White and Informix Software were synonymous. At the height of his popularity he was recognized as one of Silicon Valley’s most brilliant business leaders. This fascinating behind the scenes book offers an insider’s perspective on the business strategies that succeeded, the products that failed, and how a technology industry titan ended up in jail.

In 1991, Informix was just one of many database suppliers in a market that included companies such as Sybase, Ingres, Unify, and Progress. Together, they were competing against Oracle, the eight-hundred pound Gorilla. In only four years, Informix was able to challenge Oracle’s dominance, moving past all these other companies in the process. This was a truly remarkable feat and many of the sales, marketing and product strategies that enabled Informix to survive and succeed in tough times and a hypercompetitive market are directly applicable today.

Learn More about the Real Story of Informix


What is the Truth About the Migration from Field Salespeople to Inside Sales?
What Strategies are Sales Leaders Employing to Overcome their Top Sales Challenges?
How Does Sales Cycle Complexity Impact the Structure of the Sales Organization?
What are the Latest Key Sales Performance Metrics?

Sales Trends  Steve W Martin

The answer to these questions are exactly what Steve W. Martin, a well-known sales author and sales organization researcher set out to find. To do so, Martin conducted in-depth interviews and extensive surveys with over one-hundred top sales leaders at leading high technology companies and business services providers. The resulting research, provides detailed insights about the evolutional nature of sales organizations along with key sales performance metrics by sales category (software, cloud, hardware, telecommunications, etc.):

Percent of Sales Organization Achieving Quota
Average Sales Cycle Length and Order Size
Average annual Quota and On-target Earnings
Inside Sales Centralization Statistics
Field Sales Revenue Trends

Over the past two years, forty-six percent of study participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model. Twenty-one percent reported a shift from inside sales to a field sales model. More than twice as many study participants reported moving to an inside sales model. WHY?

This landmark study reveals key factors that determine when a sales organization will utilize a field or inside sales model. It provides qualitative information including trends and future predictions along with quantifiable sales organization metrics. Sales leaders share their top sales challenges and future sales strategies to meet the revenue goals. Learn More




NEW groundbreaking buyer persona research project identifies and quantifiably measures how B2B buyers select vendors. Learn how buyers perceive the sales salespeople they meet with and what selling style they prefer. Explore the circumstances that determine which vendor is selected. Understand how different company departments and vertical industries make buying decisions.  Learn More



What Separates High-performing Sales Organizations from Average and Underperforming Sales Organizations?

The answer to this question Steve W. Martin conducted extensive surveys with top-level sales leaders, midlevel sales managers, and salespeople. The resulting research, The Sales Organization Performance Study Report, provides detailed insights on the characteristics of high-performing sales organizations, quota analysis measurements, and key sales performance metrics.

Seven hundred eighty-six sales professionals participated in the study byThe Sales Organization Performance Curve - Steve W Martin completing an extensive forty-two-part survey. The survey goal was to gather both qualitative information about the attributes of high-growth sales organizations and the associated quantifiable performance metrics. Participants were asked to share their opinions on their sales organization, their top sales challenges, and personal details about their own quota performance. In exchange for their candor, it was agreed that their names and organizations would remain anonymous.

The study results reveal there are fifteen significant differences between how high-, average-, and underperforming sales organizations perceive themselves, measure performance, staff their organizations, and operate. 

Learn More Watch the Performance Gap Webinar and Read the Report

What Top Sales Teams Have in Common Steve W Martin

Research on High Performing Top Salespeople

The results from this study quantify what many sales leaders have intuitively known for years. The best sales organizations have strong leaders who exercise control, monitor team performance, and establish internal processes that all team members must abide by. They hire talent of such high quality that it challenges the more tenured sales team members to continually perform at the highest level. Learn More

Steve W. Martin's Articles