Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Multimedia Marathon - Do The Math!

Those of you who have ever attended one of my workshops know that my primary message revolves around simplification and focus. I was recently working with a highly analytical and technical SE team so I challenged them to do the math. We looked at a standard one hour sales call and calculated the amount of information that would typically be relayed. Here is what we came up with.

Presenting/Telling:      10,000 Words
Presenting                   30-40 PowerPoint slides   =or=
Demoing                     30-50 distinct screens

Now put yourself in the place of the customer. How, out of all those words and screens, do I figure out what is most important to me? How good a job are you, as the Pre-Sales Engineer, doing in guiding your customer towards the technical and business nuggets of gold they need to make a decision to buy your stuff?

If your #1 value proposition and differentiator in how you fix their #1 business problem takes you 25 words to explain - then the statistical change of that being top of mind with the customer is 25/10,000 or 0.25% if you don't help it along.

Scary odds!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WhiteBoarding The Chinese Way

  Proof that presales is presales the world over! I just finished a workshop in Beijing with 25 Chinese presales engineers. I feel that I learnt as much as they did about whiteboarding in their particular business environment. For example - I learnt that Chinese customer are as tired of PowerPoint as the rest of us; I learnt that whiteboarding is easier and faster in Chinese script; and I learnt that you don't draw the competitors solution in red as that is a lucky color!

 We also developed a neat trick of putting current state within the top third of a poster board along with some economics, the bridge in the middle third and the desired/future solution state in the bottom third. To make the comparison even more forcefully at the end, fold the paper to eliminate the middle 1/3 bridge and directly align and compare the current and desired state data. Different colors, comparative numbers = awesome presentation results.

Great job everyone!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April in Asia

I'm just starting my Asian tour - a week in Singapore and then four days in Beijing. Both are new cities for me so I'm looking forward to some business and pleasure during the ten days. The April MTS content has been posted on the website and the newsletter will be distributed on Tuesday April 5th morning (EDT).

This month I came up a dozen great ideas for SE's at the start of a quarter. Since most companies have just finished Q1 (with notable exceptions) it's typically an occasion for a few days of down time before the constant drumbeat of presentations, demonstrations and POCs start up again. So it's a great time of the year for an SE to not only catch-up on overdue tasks, but to plan ahead for some self-improvement. Read The Quarter Is Done - Now What? for some ideas.

I've also heard a lot this year about the constant drain that internal meetings take on the time of an SE. Some of these meetings are beyond our control and are scheduled by people several levels up the food chain - but hey - some aren't. You can get control back over your week by shaving some minutes from each meeting - here are some ideas to do that - beyond the standard "set an agenda" stuff.

This month's Ask John deals with an SE who has just been given a team lead position in a new small business "run-and-gun" operation and the difficulties he is facing in getting the reps to focus on the requirements given the in-and-out nature of the business.

Finally , the course highlighted for the month of April is a management workshop designed to help SE Managers mentor and give feedback to their teams. It's the #1 job of any manager to develop and serve their staff - not something that too many SE managers always focus on given the revenue demands.

Good selling!