Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Technical Win

Has the Technical Win become redundant in the modern world of Solution Selling? Ask any group of Sales Engineers to define their job, and the phrase “we’re responsible for winning the technical sale” will be heard. Many SE organizations measure and publish their Technical Win Rate for RFPs, Proof of Concepts and Trial/Evaluations. This month I’ll examine the Technical Win (TW) and determine if it is real, if you should care, and what the metric tells you.

The concept of the TW has always bothered me, as no-one actually gets paid for a TW. All that matters is the full business win which involves th etransfer of money from the customer to your company and eventually to you. The TW rate is usually at least 20-30 % points higher than the Business Win (BW) rate - so publishing the TW rate is equivalent to telling sales that they stink at their job. There is a use for the TW, but only if carefully measured and then judiciously applied in the field.

For more read the fullt Talking Point : The Technical Win : A Pointless Metric?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Training Wheels For Politicians

Over in the UK there is a growing scandal about the outrageous expenses claims submitted by the MPs (Members of Parliament). These claims have been made public and are infuriating the British public.

On the practical side of the equation it is worth noting that David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary (Hilary Clinton’s equivalent) , has received over £7,000 (Nearly $11,000) worth of presentation training since June 2007. Interesting that a career politician felt it necessary to obtain these skills – you would think they were par for the course. The debate has been going on with regard to whether he should have had these skills before the Prime Minister appointed him to the position - as a requirement of the job. The more balanced view is that everyone has the “right” to receive on-the-job training to make them more effective and more efficient. In fact that balance is really between your current skills and your potential to do your job (and possibly your boss’s) better.

So then circling back to your job as a Sales Engineer – have you had that discussion with your boss about the training and development you need over the next 12-18 months? Even with tight budgets and travel restrictions your company needs to invest in you as much as you invest in it.

Have that conversation today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Averages and Superstars

Every business is looking for efficiency gains and improvements in productivity. Your company is no different. So how can you, as a Sales Engineer, contribute towards those efficiency gains?

Firstly, some background on labor efficiency. As a rule, the more complex the job the greater possibility there is for a larger variance between the average and the superstars. For example, in manual labor, a superstar may be able to carry 25-30% more bags during a day, unload a truck that much faster, pick grapes etc.. In sales, especially in this economy, many reps will end up the year at 60-75%, a few stars will finish the year at 250-300% or more.

Simply being able to conduct one more presentation, demonstration or sales call a week will put you in the minor productivity gain arena – so how can you leverage your Mastering Technical Sales skills to fully maximize your productivity. Here are a few ideas:

1. It’s not just you. By building a new demo, sharing competitive data in a new way and generating Pre-sales ready messaging you can make everyone more efficient. A 10% gain applied to, say 50 people in your company, results in an overall 500% gain based on your hours.

2. Look back on all the sale calls you have participated in over the past six months. How many of those have required “re-do’s” when you needed to set up another call to cover some technical or business point that was omitted? How often do you need a “recovery” call because you missed something in discovery? How many pointless RFPs or POCs have you completed, knowing that you weren’t going to ever get the business. THOSE are the sales activities that you need to fix – because that is where you can claim time back from the demo gods, and accelerate the sales cycle because you execute perfectly.

Think about it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

He Said What ? - and other May content

The MTS website has now been updated with new content for May. We’ve added :

The Three-Hour Demo : how to shorten a long, boring demo.

The MTS Reading List : Suggested Reading for the Sales Engineer who wants to Master Technical Sales.

He Said What? – This month’s “Ask John” features that eternal question of how and when to correct the sales rep when they say something horribly, horribly wrong.

And a reminder to sign up for the Monthly Newsletter on our main Web Page.