TALKING SALES 28: "Avoid Point Solutions to Improve Sales" - Sue Barrett

John Smibert

Symbol Scales is made of stones of various shapes Sales ecosystem can be unbalanced by a new 'point solution'[/caption]

In this 3 minute interview Sue Barrett talks to John Smibert about the need to avoid implementing 'point solutions' in your sales operation.

Sue emphasises how important it is for an organisation's sales strategy and sales ecosystem to be balanced and integrated.

By implementing a point solution - be it training or technology - it needs to integrate with - and complement - the sales strategy and sales ecosystem or it can do more damage than good - no matter how fantastic the point solution is in its own right.

Sue emphasises that their are no short term quick fixes in sales.

Sue is an authoritative thought leader and an accomplished author on the selling profession. She's also founder and CEO of Barrett and

See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here


John: Welcome back! I'm here again with Sue Barrett. Sue's an authoritative thought leader and an accomplished author on the selling profession. She's also founder and CEO of Barrett and Welcome back, Sue!

Sue: Thank you, John!

John: You have written a lot about 'point solutions' causing issues and problems in sales and destroying sales productivity. Can you explain what 'point solutions' are and why it can ruin sales?

Sue: Okay. Well, firstly it's important to note that selling is a complex environment, so there's many variables. Whenever we're looking at running a good sales team - and an operation - we need to take into account a range of things. And they can affect different things, like you could put one thing in and cause a ripple effect on others.

What we've had in our profession for many, many years is people coming along - and it's not just in sales, it's in other professions too - they come along with the latest and greatest; whatever it might be. CRM is has been the classic in this.

John: Oh, yes.

Sue: Because a lot of people don't look at the complexity of selling, they're looking for the silver bullet, the knight in shining armour that's going to actually solve their sales issues, and so they'll look for things like CRM and it will solve everything. In fact, it can make things worse if it's not properly embedded, as we know. Training is a classic. There's lots of fads out there - you know, the latest training module here or the latest training module there; that will solve all your ills.

John: I know, and it really destroys me to see so much investment going into training and no return coming out of it, in a lot of organisations at least.

Sue: Absolutely. There's a lot of money that's being wasted, a lot of time that's being wasted because of this 'point solution' focus. What we have to be careful of is false prophets coming along and promising us that "You know, this is going to solve all your ills." Because in life we know that it's part of a complex ecosystem.

John: And the issue with a lot of technology providers is that they're exactly that, aren't they?

Sue: Yes. I think when we have to think about running good sales teams and operations is to consider "Does this support our strategy? Does this support the level of capability that we need to have out there?" and then if it does then how well does it integrate and connect with the other aspects of our sales operation.

John: Become a totally integrated part of our operation, part of our culture and so on.

Sue: Yes. If the vendor or provider is not able to speak in those terms then I'd be looking elsewhere, even if the promises they're making sound fantastic.

John: Really good advice. So, in summary, what should those sales directors and sales managers out there need to be thinking of and doing to address this point?

Sue: Well, not going for a short-term quick fix approach. They should actually be looking at, if it's training "Does this actually build out capability over the long term? Does it help us get into those markets and actually build out the sales, the deliverables that we want?" If they're looking at technology then they have to say "Okay, how easily is that going to be integrated into my current ecosystem? Is it going to cause too much disruption, or is it going to be easy for my people to adopt it as part of what they're doing?" I mean, these are just some examples that we can think about.

John: So, in a bottom line I would say: think more strategically and less tactically. Don't just put point solutions in, think about how the whole thing end-to-end will work effectively for you.

Sue: Yes, so you're not being expedient.

John: Sue, thank you very much - I look forward to our next discussion!

Sue: Thank you!


See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here



Your Invitation: I invite you to join the Sales Leader Forum group on LinkedIn where you can experience informative discussions with your peers and sales thought leaders on subjects like the one we have discussed here. I also invite you to subscribe to the

   - Sales Leader Resource Centre here

   - Sales Leader YouTube channel here (300+ sales leadership videos)

Please Share: If you valued this article, please share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook social media platforms. I encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions. So feel free to add a comment on this post - I promise to respond. If inclined please follow my LinkedIn post page here.

Want to touch base? If you have questions please feel free to contact me - email: john.smibert(at), Phone: +61 404857893 or Skype: john.smibert

Your B2B Sales Library

Need resources to help you sell or manage more effectively?

Ever wished you could find a wide range of B2B sales Resources in one library?

Check out the library here

It's packed with articles, videos, keynote speeches, Tools, templates, training materials, eBooks and eGuides.‚Äč

Subscribe to the Library Here


European Peer Group Chair Wanted

We have a number of new enquiries from sales leaders based in the UK, Europe and South Africa who are looking to join a peer group.

We need a Chair to facilitate this new on-line group. This is a valuable role that will be rewarded.

If interested read "Is a Forum Role for you?" and if the answer is "yes" please Contact Us


A Sales Leader Forum provides you with the opportunity to connect with your peers and create a support network of like-minded individuals to learn how they have dealt with the same challenges, issues and problems that you’re facing.



1000's of sales articles, videos and sales tools.  Sales leaders and their teams can access most of it free - simply subscribe.

This site brings you some of the latest expert thought leadership content on business to business (B2B) sales from specialists, sales leaders and sales professionals.