Speakers: Ryan Tognazzini | Matt Sharrers, Melissa Valdez, SBI
Today we are going to discuss what it means to be a CEO who comes from the Sales function -- a relatively unique accession path. Ryan Tognazzini will explore this different mindset so that those who are CEOs or who aspire to become a CEO, can benefit from his experience.


Our guest today is Ryan Tognazzini, Chief Executive Officer for iGrafx. Ryan represents one of the new breed of Sales-driven Chief Executive Officers who have come through the ranks of sales. Ryan is here to share his incredible journey from a front-line sales rep to the office of the chief executive.


Ryan is unique from our other guests because, not only did he work at SBI for seven years, but we have watched his career go from card carrying salesman, just out of school, to now the CEO of a software company.


Today we are going to unpack the career path of a new breed of Sales-driven Chief Executive Officer and what it takes to develop the business mindset to ascend to the top position.


Making the Transition from Salesman to CEO

  • Let’s begin by sharing with the audience your path from sale rep to CEO.  Tell the audience about your journey. 3:28 
  • You occupy the seat many sales leaders want – what is your advice to sales leaders listening who want to be a CEO? 4:23, 5:50
  • How did you transition from salesman to businessman? 7:37, 9:15, 10:04


Leading a Company-Wide Transformation

  • As a principal at SBI you advised and help CEO’s of our clients achieve strategic alignment. Now you are a practitioner executing Strategic alignment as the CEO. What is the value of strategic alignment, and how do you achieve strategic alignment with your functional leaders? 12:44  
  • What did your first 100 days look like as the CEO of iGrafx? 14:45
  • What major initiatives did you identify to increase your revenue growth and how did you prioritize them? 16:24, 17:58


Prioritizing Initiatives to Drive Revenue Growth

  • Situation – What was the current situation and what were you trying to accomplish with the transformation? 21:26, 
  • Opportunity – What did you expect to gain as a result of the transformation? 25:53
  • Results – What do the early results look like? 28:26


“What really makes a business run is having some business acumen beyond the traditional sales KPI. So, what markets should we be in? What’s the tangible product that we’re bringing to market? Whose problem does it truly solve? Why does anybody really care? When my boss hired me he said, “You sales guys, you think you can fix things with a good quarter. But you can’t. Be patient. You guys are never patient.” There are so many things that happen inside the business that impact the performance of the company that are removed from sales, and out of your control.”


For those of you wanting to learn how to grow your revenue faster than your industry and your competitors, we highly recommend an interactive workshop with one of SBI’s subject matter experts, and we’d love to have you visit us at The Studio if you find yourself in need of additional consulting.


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Sales Revenue Growth


Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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