If you work in the IT world (whether in-house or in an IT consulting or IT vendor environment), you have likely been on the receiving end of a sales presentation. Depending on your title and responsibilities, you may even have had to deliver a few of these presentations. Those of us who have been around for a while can remember when the dreaded software sales presentation was canned and consisted of a restricted demo with a script and an awkward, often frustrating, question and answer session at the close. If you were on the buying end, you usually didn’t get enough information to make a decision, and the sales team probably didn’t seem too concerned about your unique challenges and needs. If you were on the selling end of the equation, you probably had your share of frustration as well. Prospective clients didn’t seem to understand the value and uniqueness of your product or services and you were probably caught short on questions that you couldn’t possibly answer because you didn’t truly understand their business.
Fast forward to today’s sales environment and the new, improved sales team. Sales Engineers, Sales Managers and Sales Professionals come together to build and deliver an engaging, thoughtful and informative presentation that hits the mark! If you have worked with a great Sales Engineer, or managed a sales team with a Sales Engineer, or if you ARE a Sales Engineer, you understand the value of this approach to application and software sales and services.
Today’s sales pitch is not about the amazing hoops your technology can jump through. Rather, it is about how your product can solve problems, and how it fits neatly into the infrastructure, network, hosting, architecture, scalability, performance, user skills, integration, security and technology environment of the client’s organization. The client IT team will expect clear answers from you and it will want you to understand the enterprise issues and challenges and create opportunities for improvement, user satisfaction, great ROI and low TCO. No more canned demos!
A well trained, innovative Sales Engineer might come from a technical lead position or be a solution or technical architect, or a sales person who has taken the initiative to work with your technical team to build an understanding of the product and the problems the product is designed to address. That person will be able to engage the IT team and the business managers to answer questions at the appropriate level and to help the client team see the vision of how this technology will work in their organization (both at a technical level and in the business user environment). Great Sales Engineers will not wait for the client to bring up issues but will introduce the issue and then, with heads nodding in the room to indicate that the problem is troublesome, she or he will skillfully reveal the solution and address technical concerns, budget and other topics, leaving little room for dissent or complaint.
If you want to be competitive in today’s application and software market, you must provide the knowledge, skill and approach to address the client questions and concerns from every angle and make the sales meeting interactive. No dry demos, no scripted nonsense – EVERY client wants a personalized, thoughtful, informative presentation that will convince them that yours is the right answer to their problem. YOU should want that too, because THAT is the way you close a deal!