I’m a technical sales engineer at Pointwise. Now that I’ve lost half of my audience with that statement I’ve really got my work cut out for me.
So what is it about salespeople that make consumers – in particular, who are engineers – head for the hills? Is it the typical image of a used car salesman? Is it because of those incessant telemarketers peddling insurance? Or perhaps it’s due to the salespeople at those little kiosks in the mall trying to sell us an exfoliating cream from the Dead Sea?
I think the reason we fear being approached by salespeople is because they are really not trying to help you. They’re just trying to convince you to buy their product. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the No. 1 goal of any business is to make money but I think it’s possible to do so while providing a legitimately valuable product and/or service. And it’s up to the salesperson to demonstrate that value.
Back to the point of my post.
As a sales engineer, my job is to demonstrate to other engineers how our software is of value to them. In fact, I take this one step further. My job is to help engineers solve their CFD meshing problems and I use my education and experiences, both of which are technical, to do this. And of course, the tool at my disposal is our CFD meshing software, Pointwise. This may all sound a bit cheesy – a salesperson’s pitch – but it’s the truth. If I can’t help you solve your problem, why would I expect you to purchase a license of our software?
I understand this may sound somewhat altruistic to all you sales engineers and sales managers out there who have quarterly quotas and annual revenue targets to meet. However, not every salesperson can be that smoothing talk, A+ seller who could convince my grandmother that she needs to spend $10K on meshing software that he assures her will bake her crumpets just so. Nor should they have to be.
A good sales engineer also can identify and be open about when he cannot provide a solution. In the long run, it’s better to walk away from a potential customer and in turn, likely gain their respect rather than lose it. Because, at least in the industry we predominantly work, respect is everything.
Clearly, you need a good product or service to sell to go along with good sales people but I believe the recipe for success is to provide solutions and not features. Verbs not nouns.
The ideas I describe are nothing I’ve conjured up. There are many professional courses and books that describe these philosophies, each with their own spin, but there is one in particular I will point you to. It’s called Getting Naked, by Patrick Lencioni.
Patrick uses short but well written fictional stories to illustrate his point. So even if you’re not into business methodologies, the entertainment value is worth it.
So do not fear us. We are here to help.
Well, most of us are.