Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How Many Sales Engineers Does It Take...

"How many sales engineers does it take to sell a solution?"

This seems to be a question that many sales and sales operations leaders are asking pre-sales leaders this year. For the middle to larger sized companies in software, hardware, services and engineering appliances the days of having a single SE working with a single salesrep on a deal have passed us by. The portfolios have now become so broad and complex that once you get past the basic discovery stage, no single SE can reasonably cover every single product/solution. This plays havoc with conventional coverage models, 1:1 or 3:2 ratios, geographically-based SE's and so on ...

It is fast becoming the norm that a complex deal may involve a half-dozen SE's - all with their own area of expertise (especially for a POC or complicated integration demo). This usually brings about thoughts of greater cross-training, better enablement and eventually re-organization of the pre-sales team; because something must be wrong if this many people are needed to sell the solution! So the question becomes - is this a fact of life as organizations grow and expand, or are there actions a pre-sales (and sales) leader can take to head off this issue? Of course - the dirty secret is that the same thing happens on the sales side when you introduce three levels of sales management, legal, support, services, a partner and several sales overlays to the process.

This is leading up to the June Talking Point which will be cover the "how many SE's does it take?" question. Probably a multi-part series. And a little controversial.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

50% of presales engineers who go through my workshops admit that they have been told they speak and present too quickly. It’s very rare ( less than 5%) that people are consistently told to speed up. The two primary reasons for being a motor mouth are firstly too much content and secondly a mixture of nerves and excitement. Both of which you have under your control.

The May Talking Point from Mastering Technical Sales is all about speaking too quickly, and gives you some real life techniques you can use to calm down and slow down your presentations. Just remember that the most comfortable listening speed for an audience is around 150 to 160 Words Per Minute – which is about half the average reading speed of an adult. By speaking too quickly you both lose your audience as it is hard work to listen to a fast speaker and you lose the focus of your message as you are obviously trying to cover way too much material in a set time.

Read the full Talking Point here

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Best Time Of Day For A Sales Call?

Now there's a question that had been debated throughout the ages. This isn't about cold calling, but about what time of day, and even which day to choose, for a sales call with the customer. it may or may not include a demo or presentation.

That's the subject of this month's Ask John question. The executive summary of the response is make it first thing in the morning, or over lunch (on the basis that the best sales call of all is usually when your laptop stays in the car). As a postscript to the answer, I should also add that Tuesday-thursday seem better than Monday or Friday.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Back Of The Napkin

In my quest to dramatically increase the usage of Whiteboards and relegate Power Point into the hole in the ground it truly deserves - I've now discovered a book which explains how to accomplish that amazing feat. "The Back Of The Napkin" by Dan Roam explains how to use pictures to solve problems (which is mildly interesting) and sell your ideas (which is highly relevent to the Sales Engineering profession. The first four chapters explain how to use a whiteboard/napkin/sheet of paper even if you have the handwriting of a doctor, while the final two chapters explain how to get your ideas across in a simple yet effective manner.

Absolutely worth the $16 it costs to buy this on Amazon - and a big thanks to reader Bill Weinberg for suggesting this as SE Book Of The Month.