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. There are five sections:

  1. Technology Sales Organization Strategy: Key Trends and Performance Metrics
  2. Advanced Sales Cycle Strategy: Control the Complex Technology Sale
  3. Sales Call Strategy: Strategically Structure Meetings to Differentiate Yourself During Customer Meetings
  4. New Account Penetration Strategy: Language-based Tactics to Secure Initial Customer Meetings
  5. Personal Communication Strategy: How to say the Right Words at the Right Time 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. The book is written using an easy-to-read format with extensive examples, illustrations, and practical case studies.


“For senior executives seeking to validate their strategy, mid-level managers to better guide their organization, and front line salespeople who must execute their sales call agenda.” 
--Sam Levy NetSuite, Vice President of Sales, NetSuite

“Communicates complex concepts and relevant insights in a way that makes sense to salespeople.”
--Dave Carter, Senior Vice President of Sales, CornerstoneOnDemand

“Learn the strategies Heavy Hitters use that distinguish them from average salespeople.”
--Eric Entzeroth, Senior Vice President Global and Strategic Accounts, Genesys

“Without great salespeople the world’s most sophisticated forecasting methodology will only tell you that you're not going to make your number and it will be right.”
--Mike Munoz, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Nimble Storage

“The interviews magnify the need for salespeople to understand how and why customers buy.”
--Tony Cassetta, Head of Business Performance and Transformation, Nokia Networks

“Read this book in a hurry! Bookmark and keep it on your desk for future in a reference.”
--Elango Rathinavelu, Executive Vice President, Mphasis, a Hewlett Packard Company

“Insightful, inspiring, and will give you an edge in the changing dynamics of selling today."
--Joe Vitalone, President of Americas, Mitel

“Invaluable tips that are a must-read for anyone looking to succeed in technology sales.”
--John Reese, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Development, Velocify

“Practical Insights that can be incorporated into any sales methodology an organization uses.”
--Dan Leary, Vice President of Sales, CSG Systems International

“The reader feels like a participant in a forum between a diverse array of successful sales VPs.”
--Mac McGary, Executive Vice President of Global Sales, GT Nexus

“Techniques and insights based on thousands of interviews with both hi-tech buyers and sellers.”
--Henry Schuck, Chief Executive Officer, DiscoverOrg

“Skillfully and succinctly covers the strategic sales process where sales professionals can grow the most.”
--Stephen Xeller, Senior Vice President of Major Account Sales, Perceptive Software

“Compelling research, insightful observations, and the recommended tactics are differentiating.”
--Rob Consoli, Senior Vice President of Mid-Market Sales, Liaison Technologies

Inc - Best Books for SalespeopleBest Books For Salespeople - 2015


How technology decision makers think, evaluate vendors, and select the winner.

Comprehensive strategies for winning different types of hi-tech sales cycles.

Key moments and turning points during sales cycles when deals are won or lost.

Tips, techniques and best practices of top technology salespeople.

How I.T. organizational structure impacts the vendor selection process.

How to conduct persuasive sales calls based on technology buyer personas.

Strategies to maintain account control and establish situational dominance.

How and when to use provocation versus alignment during sales cycles.

Understand the IT budgeting process and the impact of procurement.

Facts and metrics regarding customers’ price sensitivity and decision influence.

How top technology salespeople are using social media such as LinkedIn.

How to write persuasive e-mails to penetrate new accounts and secure initial customer meetings.

How to build unbeatable customer relationships using sales linguistics, the study of how the customer's mind uses language.


Top technology sales organization trends and best practices.

Optimum sales organization structure based on product type and stage of company.

What separates great from good technology sales organizations.

Compare your management style against your peers.

Key performance indicators and metrics to measure your organization’s performance.

Sales cycle strategy best practices to better guide your sales organization.

How to coach salespeople to sell business solutions across the company.

Top reasons technology salespeople lose business.

Quota assignment, on target earnings and what percentage of salespeople achieve quota.

Direct, channel, inside, and SMB sales  force composition measurements.

Personality traits of top technology salespeople for more effective hiring.

Expert advice on how to gain strategic account control based upon the people, process, and politics of selling to complex accounts.

Comprehensive sales call strategies to improve sales team effectiveness. 



This book is for senior technology salespeople and sales leaders, those who have been in the field for five, ten, and fifteen plus years.It is based upon my experiences working with over one-hundred-fifty technology companies and extensive research which included three types of interviews:

1. Interviews with several hundred technology vice presidents of sales about their sales organization goals, challenges, and their strategies to exceed their revenue targets. You will find interview excerpts in Part I sales organization strategy.

2. Interviews with over one thousand key information technology and business services decision makers as part of the sales effectiveness consulting and win-loss analysis studies I conduct on behalf of my clients. Listening to these evaluators share their honest thoughts about how they made their decisions and why they selected the vendors they did was always fascinating. You will find interview excerpts throughout the book

3. Interviews with over one thousand Heavy Hitters (top technology salespeople) who sell for the world’s best technology companies. I never grow tired hearing the stories of how these Heavy Hitters defeat their archrivals and close large deals. You will find interview excerpts in Part IV sales call strategy and Part V personal communication strategy.

The interview excerpts are a fundamental part of the book and provide important competitive insights. While they include the interviewee’s actual title, the names of vendors have been replaced with “Vendor A” or “Vendor B” like below.

"I am relatively hard on salespeople in general. A lot of big companies say, ‘Your account rep is your account rep.’ We end up choosing not to spend money with companies like that. For example, we were doing six million dollars a year with Vendor A. Over a three year period we went to zero dollars with them specifically because of account management. It wasn’t because we lacked telling them about this problem. It was because of their lack of responsiveness to make changes that work in our best interest. Their senior management wasn’t listening or didn’t care.” Chief Information Officer


Part I - Sales Organization Strategy

1. Technology Sales Organization Stages
2. Sales Organization Challenges
3. Product Sales Complexity Impacts Organizational Structure
4. Attributes of Great Technology Sales Organizations
5. Key Technology Sales Organization Metrics
6. Technology Sales Management Styles

Part II - Sales Cycle Strategy

7. Top Reasons Technology Salespeople Lose
8. Should We Compete?
9. Renewal, Persuasion, and Creation Sales Cycles
10. Technology Sales Cycle Strategy
11. Sales Strategy Creation
12. Provocation Versus Alignment to the Customer’s Thought Process
13. IT Budgeting
14. The Impact of Procurement
15. How Important is Price?
16. The Five IT Organization Buying Types, Liaisons and Power Users     
17. Internal-use IT Buyer Type
18. Consolidator IT Buyer Type
19. Consulter IT Buyer Type
20. Responder IT Buyer Type
21. Bureaucratic IT Buyer
22. IT Leadership and Organizational Power
23. Identifying the Bully With the Juice and Emperor
24. Developing an Internal Coach
25. Positional Tactics
26. Sales Cycle Turning Points
27. Strategic, Operational, Political and Psychology Value
28. No Decision: Why Customers Don’t Buy
29. Human Nature and Decision Making

Part III - New Account Penetration Strategy

30. Dead Words
31. General Words
32. Pattern Interruption and Cowcatcher
33. The Elevator Pitch
34. Cold Calls, Letters and E-mails
35. The “1, 2, 3, Rest, Repeat” Campaign
36. Step 1 - Credibility Message
37. Step 2 - Tactical Offer Message
38. Step 3 - Final Message
39. How Top Technology Salespeople Use LinkedIn

Part IV - Sales Call Strategy

40. Sales Call Strategy using Sales Linguistics
41. Sales Call Goal and Personal Outcome
42. Technical Specification Language
43. Business Operations Language
44. Confidential Language
45. Sales Call Themes
46. Sales Call Structure
47. Triangulation
48. Ask Questions to Discover Reality
49. Product Positioning Statements
50. Handling Tough Questions
51. Defensive Call Statements
52. Customer Success Stories
53. Sales Call Main Stage Strategy
54. Sales Call Closing Strategies
55. IT Buyer Persona Roles
56. Informational Roles
57. Character Roles
58. Authority Roles
59. Company Roles
60. Applying IT Buyer Personas
61. Informational Role Case Studies
62. Character Role Case Studies
63. Group Role Case Studies
64. Company Role Case Studies

Part V - Personal Communication Strategy

65. Situational Dominance
66. Personality Traits of Top Technology Salespeople
67. Meeting Someone for the First Time
68. The Better Sales “Person”
69. Customer Relationships
70. How Customers Receive and Transmit Information
71. What Is Your Word Catalog Wiring?
72. Learning Styles
73. Short and Long-Term Memory Cues
74. Final Advice

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Steve W. Martin's IT Sales Training has helped over one hundred fifty Heavy Hitter IT SALES STRATEGYhigh technology companies improve their sales effectiveness. These technology companies provide application software, systems software, enterprise software, SaaS, hardware, Semiconductor, embedded technology, ecommerce, managed hosting, and telecommunication solutions. In addition, Steve has interviewed hundreds of CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, VPs (eCommerce, Operations, Applications, Infrastructure), and countless mid and lower-level IT personnel as part of the win-loss studies he has performed for companies including IBM, Oracle, EMC, ATT, Acxiom, and PayPal. Steve is also a Silicon Valley sales veteran with nearly two decades of software sales experience.

The IT Sales Strategy workshop is completely customized to your unique sales situation and specific areas of need. To ensure topical relevance, extensive pre-session interviews and background research is conducted to understand your marketspace, competitive position, products, and salespeople. Workshops are designed to address your critical sales challenges and use the terms and nomenclature of your products, company, and vertical industry. Workshops vary from half-day to one or two full days in length. Click here to for IT Sales Training Price Information.

The training is completely interactive and incorporates extensive exercises/role-playing to apply the concepts on active accounts or immediately on the next sales call. Everyone can ask tough questions, share their experiences, work on their weaknesses, and learn entirely new skill-sets. Learning by example is the best way to learn and the workshop includes best practices of other technology companies. Finally, Life’s too short not to have fun and humor plays an important role in every workshop to keep sales teams (salespeople, inside sales, system engineers, and consultants) engaged and the atmosphere upbeat.

Part I - Enterprise IT Sales Strategy The grand strategy to win the complex IT sale is based upon influencing the people, selection process, and politics of customer decision making. In enterprise accounts, salespeople must penetrate large organizations, influence key decision makers, and dovetail their products' benefits to customers' internal politics. In order to win, they must build relationships with buyers in different departments all across a company. They have to persuade people to believe in their solution at all levels of the IT organization and compete against competitors with similar products and equal sales acumen. The winning IT sales strategy is a psychological operation that is built on understanding, predicting, and influencing human nature. The victor understands how the account is organized and anticipates how the key decision makers will make their buying decision. Moreover, the winner employs a linguistic strategy that enables his message to rise above all others, a tactical plan of execution, and impactful recommendations that compel decision makers to take action. Topics covered include:

  • Formulating the Grand Strategy to Win the Complex IT Sale
    Heavy Hitter Sales Series of Books

    Steve W. Martin's "Heavy Hitter" Series of Books on Complex Enterprise Sales

  • Political Account Structure of IT and the Psychology of IT Organizational Buying
  • Tactics to Defeat the Competition
  • How Start-ups can Defeat Gorillas
  • Winning Over Key Decision Makers at all Levels of IT
  • Understanding the Political Structure of the Account
  • Determining Departmental Buying Types
  • Translating the Grand Strategy to Tactics
  • Assessing Account Position
  • Account Maneuvers to Improve Competitive Position
  • Win-Loss Analysis: The Seven Premises of the Complex IT Sales Cycle
  • Survival, Successful, and Significant Customers
  • Categories of IT Buyers
  • Should We Pursue the Deal?
  • Identifying and Bonding with the Bully with the Juice
  • Strategies to Find and develop Internal Champions and Coaches

Part II - Selling to the CIO Every salesperson claims their product will help the customer save money, become more profitable, or improve efficiency. As a result, these claims are seldom believed and very rarely acted upon by senior executives. Today, it takes a comprehensive strategy to winover the CIO. A strategy that enables a salesperson to differentiate himself from the competitors through value. Topics Covered include:

  • The Grand Strategy to Winover the CIO
  • The Four Different Types of Departmental Buying Types (Consolidators, Consulters, Responders, and Bureaucrats)
  • Penetrating the Organization at Various Levels of Responsibility
  • Navigating to the CIO: Top Down and Bottom Up Approaches
  • Maneuvers and Tactics to Defeat Arch-enemies
  • Flanking Strategies When You're Stuck at the Wrong Level
  • The Human Nature of the CIO: A Personal and Psychological Profile
  • Selling the Four Values of Your Solution: Strategic, Operational, Political, and Psychological
  • Presenting Your Solution: Using Logical Arguments, Emotional Appeal, and your Character
  • Organizing the Presentation to the CIO: How to Gain Credibility, Overcome Objections, and Consensus
  • Connecting with The CIO through Sales Linguistics(Using the Right Words at the Right Time to Persuade the CIO to Buy)

Part 3 - Advanced IT Sales Call Strategy The salesperson's most important competitive weapon is his mouth, and the winner is the salesperson who uses words that reduce the customer's doubt, eases his fear, and fosters his fantasy. That's why it is critical that salespeople master sales linguistics, the study of how the customer's mind uses and interprets language. Customer inertia, the drive to "do nothing," far outweigh the logical reasons you espouse for buying your product. You can recite a litany of reasons and a laundry list of benefits, and the customer still won't buy. This session will equip salespeople with linguistic strategies to differentiate their technology solution from the competition and enable them to create a call to action that convinces business and technical evaluators mentally and emotionally to buy. All competent salespeople can recite their products' features and specifications. Great technology salespeople build winning customer relationships based upon establishing rapport. In this session we review how to speak the customer's language and understand individual needs in order to execute winning sales calls. Topics include:

  • Sales Call Strategy and Stages
  • Sales Call Planning, Structure, and Communication Themes
  • Sales Call Execution: Conducting Persuasive Sales and Calls Presentations
  • Communicating Strategic, Operational, Political, and Psychological Value
  • The Persuasive Elevator Pitch: Linguistics Structure and Compelling Delivery
  • Messaging to the Customer's Mind via Letters, Emails, Phone CallsSales Call Strategy
  • Understanding and Anticipating Your Customers' Thought Process
  • Mastering Account Qualification during Face-to-Face Meetings
  • Objection Handling using Offensive and Defensive Call Statements
  • Customer Sales Call Coping Mechanisms
  • Psycholinguistic Differentiation Techniques
  • Group Presentation Strategies and Tactics
  • Closing Strategies and Advanced Linguistic Tactics
  • Sales Call Segmentation using Sales Linguistics
  • Personal Persuasion and Establishing Dominance
  • Positioning and Executing Demonstrations
  • Evaluation and Proof of Concept Strategy
  • Controlling Pilots and Proof of Concepts
  • IT Negotiation Strategy: Closing Strategies and Negotiation Tactics

Part 4 -Tales From The Field: Interview Session with Your Top Salespeople A key element of IT Sales Strategy workshop is the “Tales from the Field” top salesperson panel. "Tales from the Field" is similar to a roundtable talk show where your top salespeople are interviewed about their major wins and losses. However, this session goes far beyond discussing sales strategies and tactics. The psychological and intuitive aspects of selling are translated into common themes and models the entire sales organization can understand and emulate. The sharing of this "collective intuition" stops salespeople from chasing bad deals, helps create a more predictable forecast, and gives each participant (from novice to expert) tactics they can use immediately.

Technology ClientsSteve W Martin Heavy Hitter Sales Technology Clients


“The IT sales strategy training was really fantastic. Steve conducted a lot of up-front investigative research so that everything was really applicable to our sales group, process, and customers. I know my team and they can get pretty numb in some training sessions. But this had lots of different parts - some discussion, some slides, tests and plenty of interaction. I've had nothing but positive comments from everyone who attended and they look forward to putting some of this stuff into practice!”
Colleen Edward, Sales Enablement Director, Perceptive Software division of Lexmark

“Steve Martin’s workshop exceeded our expectations and was the highest rated session by attendees of our annual sales kickoff. It provided a very pertinent outside in view of our industry, the realities of the challenges that lay in front of us, and a call to action to build customer relationships. It incorporated techniques to improve our skills through the discovery of sales linguistics. The Tales from the Field top salesperson best practices panel provided an opportunity for the field to hear from their peers. It presented a number of important attributes of top sales people but also covered deals which are indicative to the success of our company – retention, upsell, and cross-sell. The feedback received from the sales meetings was overwhelmingly positive.”
Susan Wittmore, Director of Marketing, Rocket Software

“I was very pleased with Steve’s sessions on CIO sales strategy, enterprise account management, advanced customer communication, and the top salesperson panel that he conducted at our sales kickoff. He delivers on what he promises.”
George Bennett, SVP Worldwide Field Operations, Isilon Systems division of EMC

“Steve Martin was incredibly detailed, organized and engaged with our team. Our sales team left our annual meeting with the ability to be more thoughtful in the words they choose and how they interact and influence customers. I heard really great things about his four different breakout session and everyone is excited to read his book. It was a wonderful experience working with him.”
Amanda Comeaux, North American Sales Enablement Program Manager, Lenovo

"During the past twenty years I have seen it all--sales training, motivational sessions, coaching sessions, and workshops. But Steve Martin has generated the most enthusiastic feedback I have ever seen from a field sales organization!"
Scott Raskin, CEO, Mindjet Software

"Wow, the feedback was outstanding on Steve Martin’s session! The manner in which he engaged the audience and got them to think about the psychology of the sale absolutely exceeded my expectations!"
Rob Consoli, Vice President of Sales, Liaison Technologies

“Steve gave an insightful session on IT sales strategy at our annual meeting. He then followed up the workshop with webinars at critical moments during the following quarters to reinforce the concepts and apply the strategies.”
Mike Puterbaugh, Vice President of Marketing, Beyondtrust Software

“Steve Martin did a fabulous job and brought content, humility and context to our annual meeting. His strength is your ability to understand our context and tailor the session to meet that. He took time to understand and prepare which came out in the results.”
Elango Rathinavelu, Vice President, Mphasis division of Hewlett Packard

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Steve W. Martin

Steve W. Martin is the foremost expert on Sales Linguistics and the Human Nature of Complex Enterprise Sales. He is the author of the "Heavy Hitter" Series of books for Senior Salespeople.

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Learn what "Heavy Hitter" Clients have to say about Steve W. Martin's Sales Meeting Keynote Presentations and Sales Training Workshops!

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Heavy Hitter training is not the typical classroom lecture, it’s a completely interactive workshop. Learn how to penetrate, navigate, and conquer complex enterprise accounts.

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