Category Archives: SFE News

The Alexander Group – “Sales Management Consulting Services”

The Alexander Group provides sales management consulting services to the world’s leading sales organizations. When clients need to drive sales ROI and improve revenue, they look to the Alexander Group for data-driven insights, actionable recommendations, and most importantly, results.

The sales experts

Founded in 1985, they have served more than 1000 companies around the world and across all industries. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow sales — they also have a rich repository of industry data that informs all their recommendations.


‘This article originally featured on Telecom Council”

European tech is awash in cash

There was $88 billion in M&A activity in deep tech[1] in 2016 (following three brisk years — roughly one deal per month since 2014).[2] Further, Brexit impact will be negligible – only 2% of respondents to an Atomico survey cited Brexit as a big issue. Most founders’ concerns remained (predictably) on key business issues, such as finding sources of funding, regional professional support (such as legal and accounting help), prevalence of engineering talent, and general risk aversion from banks and investors. In the past year, the first European technology companies valued at or over $10 billion, such as Supercell, emerged. Can the first $25 billion or $50 billion valuation be far behind?

European tech will become better distributed in 2017

In part due to Brexit, but also because of the standard network effects of big business (education expanding, governments raising technology funds, etc.), European centers of excellence will not remain so focused on the UK. London will cede some talent and capital to Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki, and there are already secondary upstarts, including Munich, Zurich, Copenhagen and Lisbon. Interestingly, talent is the leading reason founders locate to a city, beating access to money by 27%.[3]

Further, there is a lot of dry powder being stacked up on the other side of the pond. U.S. Venture Capital Firms are investing more in Europe (average increase of 88% every year since 2011), and I believe we should expect an 80% increase again in 2017. Where this capital goes will depend on where the talent is, and that talent, perhaps tempted to remain in place (rather than migrate to the UK, which has been common for much of the past two decades), will build local engines of innovation all across the Continent.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Dominate Investment in Europe

Close to 1,000 deep tech startups, which include AI-based software, have been founded in Europe since 2014 with many more to come in 2017. $2.3 billion has been invested in deep tech in Europe since 2015, steadily increasing year over year – 4x the investment was made in 2016 versus 2011.[4]

Further, Europe has a recognized prominence in these fields, and top talent and entrepreneurship will become more regionally diverse. For example, there are already deep tech engineering centers of large U.S. tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft) in Germany, the UK and Switzerland. But, just as interesting, new graduates specializing in AI are most abundant in London, Paris and, yes, Madrid and Barcelona, which means that Southern Europe, often an also-ran in technology-related fields, is getting in on the action.

Europe is coming into its own

Technology as a business is strong globally. The U.S. is frequently the fastest-moving engine of innovation, financing and leadership, but Europe has been showing signs that it is ready to assume the role of #2 – with the world’s second-largest GDP, a massive population of over 500 million, and a renewed – and healthy – distribution of talent, it is set to break new boundaries in 2017.

[1]  Deep Tech = AI (machine learning, speech recognition, NLP, etc…), VR&AR, IoT and Hardware (drones robotics); VR/AR = Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and IoT = Internet of Things

[2]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

[3]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

[4]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

WebyClip – “Secure Networks Across Europe”

If you have shopped on eBay or Best Buy online and watched a video that matched your product search, you have touched WebyClip’s technology. The company develops an enterprise-grade platform that used artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically curate videos for visitors to online retailers and hospitality websites. WebyClip calls it ‘visual marketing.’

To better market and sell its game-changing technology, the Israel-based company hired SFE to position and sell its solution into retailers and hotel companies throughout Europe. Get ready for the ‘videoization’ of the Web!

About WebyClip
WebyClip pioneered automated video curation with an enterprise-grade, scalable video platform for online retailers and hospitality websites. Since 2013, WebyClip has been helping e-commerce marketers to automatically source the most relevant product videos from across the Internet, bolstering conversion rates and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Backed by the investments from Vertex, Magma, Maverick and iAngels, Webyclip is rapidly becoming a market leader for intelligent visual commerce, delivering digital shopping experience that are more inspirational, more entertaining, more educational and better converting. – “Reserves SFE for Global Sales Support”

January 1, 2017

When one of the best-known brands in the online reservations industry needs to expand their professional sales globally, whom do they turn to? To Sales Force Europe!

Although already a household name among consumers, needs to sell hotel operators, bed-and-breakfasts and small businesses in the hospitality space.  That requires a lot of high touch, personalized contact via a team of sales professionals who know how to sell the SaaS business model (which, as we have blogged about, requires a very different sales strategy). came to SFE for our expertise in recruiting experienced and regional sales professionals.

About B.V., part of the Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN), owns and operates™, the world leader in booking accommodations online. Each day, over 1,200,000 room nights are reserved on The website and apps attract visitors from both the leisure and business sectors worldwide.

Established in 1996, B.V. guarantees the best prices for every type of property, from small, family-run bed and breakfasts to executive apartments and five-star luxury suites. Truly international, is available in more than 40 languages, and offers 1,220,754 active properties in 227 countries and territories.

Inbenta – “Everyday A.I.”

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) sounds futuristic, but it is making its way into everyday tasks. Inbenta, which specializes in Natural Language Processing and semantic search, is focusing its AI solution on better website customer service – intelligent bots that can actually understand what you ‘meant’ rather than what you typed.

With offices in USA, Spain, France, Brazil and Chile, Inbenta is no stranger to international sales. But when they wanted to step on the gas to accelerate global expansion, they hired SFE for our international sales expertise and our network of sales professionals in over 30 countries.

About Inbenta
Inbenta specializes in Natural Language Processing and semantic search to improve the customer experience online through Artificial Intelligence-powered technology that helps businesses increase the efficiency of its customer service, call centers, e-Commerce, FAQs and social media platforms. Support services such as dynamic FAQs, knowledge management and virtual assistants improve business website searches, customer self-service, and e-Commerce conversions.

With a team of expert linguists assigned to each client to help them understand the root cause of queries and make suggestions on updates to FAQs, Inbenta’s products help

businesses improve the overall online experience offered to its customers. Inbenta’s patented technology has greatly reduced incoming customer service emails and calls to call centers for industry-leading companies including Ticketmaster, CA Technologies and Schlage Locks.

Amer Mounts – “Screens Across Europe”

As more signage and displays go digital, companies need hardware to mount those screens onto walls, ceilings, retail shelves, restaurant counters, etc. And that’s where Amer Mounts specializes: clamp mounts, articulating mounts, wall mounts, projector mounts, mobile carts—every type of display mount one can conjure.

The company manufactures and sells its mounting hardware through offices in USA and Canada, and distributes through a network of resellers. To sustain the company’s growth, Amer Mounts tapped SFE to develop channel relationships and distribution networks throughout Europe by leveraging our extensive distributor relationships and our network of in-country sales professionals.

About Amer
Amer is a global distributor and manufacturer of digital display mounting hardware, as well as networking, storage and security products.

The company has earned a reputation as a provider of dependable hardware backed by the most comprehensive support and appropriate customer warranties in today’s market since 1997.

Amer’s reseller network has continued to grow, and through this success the company is growing its innovative, value-laden product line into the SOHO/SME market. These products will continue to enhance efficiency and improve productivity everywhere that people connect.

Qurami – “Never Again Waste Time in a Line.” #YouAreNext

We at SFE hope never again to waste our time standing in a line! Thanks to a free app developed by our newest client, Qurami, we may not have to.

Qurami is a Rome (Italy) based startup with the clever hashtag #YouAreNext. Their free app for iOS and Android allows users to reserve their place in a virtual queue, prior to arriving at a location. The app provides real-time updates about one’s expected waiting time, and notifies users when their turn is near. Currently the technology is integrated at a range of public offices, hospitals and universities.

To scale their company, Qurami’s developers hired SFE to sell the technology directly into museums, theaters, banks, train stations, post offices, and a number of other institutions – and also to develop a channel strategy. Qurami was particularly impressed with SFE’s prior channel development experience and existing network of procurement contacts

Try it for yourself: the Qurami app is available for free at the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

About Qurami

Qurami is the App that gets a virtual ticket on your smartphone and checks the queue on your behalf.

Time is the only variable we can’t control. Qurami was born with the goal of unbinding us from time wasting. Today it’s an app that helps thousands of people to create their own time, from a smartphone. Go get it! #YouAreNext

5 Sales Disciplines of a VC-Backed Growth Company

December 9, 2016

5 Sales Disciplines of a VC-Backed Growth Company
(lessons from our in-the-field experience)

All VC-backed companies need to grow. For start-ups and mature companies alike, there is actually a real cost to not expandingsales and distribution quickly enough. But in our experience, growth can also be risky and expensive if not done well.

We set out to write an advice piece listing the top-5 successful sales disciplines for rapidly growing VC-backed companies, based on our 20-year experience leading their sales teams. A bit of Googling to see who else has written on the topic shows that everyone from Harvard Business Review to McKinsey has compiled lists of do’s and don’ts. These are analysts and consultants who don’t get their hands dirty with the actual selling, preferring to conduct surveys and wax philosophically instead.

Unlike those consultants, SFE works directly with technology startups–typically funded by top-tier VC firms–as we lead their international sales expansions. We’re hands-on, selling in-the-field in 28 countries and holding direct responsibility for sales results. Working with as many companies as we have, it’s easy for us to see some common patterns that lead some VC-backed company to success (and others to failure) from direct experience and without any surveys:

1.) High-growth companies aim for sales growth and profits

VCs want their portfolio companies to go from zero to a thousand miles an hour as quickly as possible, and if it means bleeding red ink that’s OK in the short term. But eventually the company needs to exit and, in the past few years, capital markets have grown leery of growth-at-all-costs unless there is some proof that profitability can be achieved. The most successful companies we’ve worked with are hell-bent on global growth, but they approach new market opportunities with both a global domination and a profitability mindset.

2.) High-growth companies see macro opportunities before they become ‘obvious’
When Wikipedia launched in 2001 as a community-maintained online dictionary, the folks at Microsoft’s Encarta group were probably laughing. When Apple nixed the CD drive from its new MacBook Air in 2008, it was heresy. When Google started working on self-driving cars in 2009, it was perceived as an indulgent sci-fi exercise. High-growth companies see macro trends long before they become ‘obvious’ and they act quickly and decisively even as the critics tease them.

In a more mundane example, several of our clients at SFE have been doubling-down their investments in expanding to the UK market even as critics fret over Brexit because, in the macro view, now is actually the best time to enter UK since 1955.

3.) High-growth companies keep their burn rate in check

The advantage of having VC capital backing you is that you can burn cash to out-distance competitors. But that doesn’t mean that your spending goes un-checked. Series B and C rounds are raised mostly for fueling sales and marketing. And the smart companies we work with expand their sales and distribution channels aggressively, usually investing in international markets sooner rather than later.

You do not need to drop $1M in opening a London office, which can distract senior management and delay customer engagement, and which ignores the entire rest of Europe. Smart companies invest in services that deliver actual revenue — like like developing channels and doing localized lead generation in each target country. Our clients at SFE leverage our network of in-country sales consultants — located in 28 countries throughout Europe — to test new regions cost-effectively and to develop distribution and sales results using local contacts.

4.) High-growth companies stay focused

A small or medium sized company typically can do only one thing really well. If you try to do too much, your competitor who is doing ‘just the one’ will do it better and will win. High-growth companies have a discipline of focus, which starts with product development and core messaging, and continues all the way through to international expansion. They stay focused on core verticals, and they build their sales and marketing tools and service teams around those core verticals.

5.) High-growth companies keep the core team lean and trust Partners for growth

Adding employees increases capacity, but it also increases management overhead and fixed costs — not to mention it can also dilute founders’ equity. The high-growth companies we work with often use best-of-breed contract services — from legal and accounting, to marketing and international sales expansion. They keep their core team lean and focused on developing a core product value and customer service, and they leverage a network of specialized partners that are highly qualified and can provide the flexibility to grow and adapt to an ever changing environment.

If you manage a high-growth company, we want to talk to you. Since 2003, SFE has lead successful international sales and distribution growth for more than 200 clients into Europe and other expansion markets.

Rick Pizzoli
CEO & Founder


Accure – “Joins SFE USA Focus”

Accure helps data driven companies to connect to all data sources, aggregate, join and transform their data, build big data analytics based on machine learning, NLP, and statistical science so that our customers get actionable insights in a fraction of time and cost.

They are a strong technology team having extensive experience in building compute intensive data solutions, big data science, and algorithm development.

They have worked with small to large global corporations, including startups and fortune 500 companies, and demonstrated our customer focused approach to turning data into meaningful intelligence.

Their strengths are their partners located worldwide to serve local customers at a global scale.

Big Data Science, Without the Coding

December 1, 2016

Data scientists are among the highest paid and most difficult to fill engineering positions within data-driven enterprises today. Accure lets companies automate many of the big data analytics set-up and analysis tasks without writing a single line of code. Accure’s platform uses built-in, ready to use algorithms to do both supervised and unsupervised machine learning and prediction analytics.

Accure brought in SFE to expand their platform sales into enterprises focused in key verticals including Healthcare, Telecom, Retail, and Social Media. SFE’s understanding of the technology and our extensive sales contacts within enterprises in their key vertical markets was key to us winning the deal.

About Accure

Accure helps data-driven companies to connect to all data sources, aggregate and transform their data, build big data analytics based on machine learning and NLP, and apply statistical science so that customers can get actionable insights in a fraction of the time and cost.  Accure’s flagship ‘Momentum’ solution is a big data analytics platform that simplifies bringing big data from multiple sources (such as RDBMS, NoSQL, flat files, and TCP/IP streams) to high scale storage and processing systems built on top of Hadoop. Data from multiple sources can be merged, correlated, and transformed in the format required to solve the business problem.