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Episode 72 - Solutions And Credibility - How Sales Engineers Impact A Sale With Ramzi Marjaba


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How can sales engineers help to improve your business growth?

For many, technical selling can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Join Doug C. Brown as he speaks with Ramzi Marjaba, founder of We the Sales Engineers, about the necessity of solutions, how product knowledge builds trust and credibility, how to use technical knowledge to strengthen your sales skills, and much more.

In this episode, you will learn:

 

Episode’s guest – Ramzi Marjaba

CSS 72 | Solutions And Credibility

Ramzi Marjaba started off as a Support Engineer at a major networking company, then moved on to Network Design Engineer, and since 2014, he’s been in Sales as a Sales Engineer, Lead Sales Engineer, Hybrid Sales Engineer, and Solution Specialist. Throughout, his passion has been with helping others achieve their goals. He’s designed networks for Tier 1 organizations, helped customers like Cisco and Nokia, but the proudest Ramzi has been when a human being tells him that Ramzi has changed their life. Ramzi founded the We The Sales Engineers community to connect, help, and guide sales engineers around the globe. Ramzi hosts the “We The Sales Engineers” podcast, which has crossed more than 150 episodes.

Visit his website: www.wethesalesengineers.com

Solutions And Credibility – How Sales Engineers Impact A Sale With Ramzi Marjaba

I’m bringing you another great guest. His name is Mr. Ramzi Marjaba. He’s a super smart guy. He runs a company that is called WeTheSalesEngineers.com. We’re going to talk all about sales engineers, sales solution consultants and sales specialists using technical people even if you have a non-technical business. How do we work with the methodically minded as well?

A lot of sales engineers are super methodically minded because they think about the process. Most of them by nature but not all are introverts. How do we work with those people? Why do you need one of these people? When I say need, it’s a must. When you come down to it, in every company no matter what you’re selling, there will be people who are going to ask technical questions.

Business after business, I’ve been in sales role after sales role. It always comes down to the same thing. You could say, “I own a music store. What’s so technical about that?” There will be people who will come in and want to know why this particular density of this particular wood makes this guitar sound this way or this piano. If you’re selling a $100,000 piano, people will come and ask questions that are of technical nature as well.

They will do this in auto dealerships. I gave an example of that in the episode with Ramzi. They will do this in all aspects, including technology businesses, which is where most people think sales engineers belong, “I’ve got a software company. I’ve got that type of company. It’s all technically oriented. I need a sales engineer or solutions consultant.”

Every company should have one of these. It doesn’t matter, whether you’re selling training services or whatever it is. The bottom line is I recommend that you look at this in a different light. Ramzi and I are going to cover a lot. It takes us a little while to get going into this episode. We get rolling. He and I have known each other for a while. We do joke back and forth. It’s a great episode. Without further ado, let’s talk to Ramzi.

 

CSS 72 | Solutions And Credibility

 

Ramzi, welcome to the show. I’m grateful you’re here.

Thank you for having me, Doug. I’m happy to be here.

We’re talking about sales engineers, why your company should have one even if you think you shouldn’t have a sales engineer and why we should have a technical person to speak to our clients, whether we have a technical business, a semi-technical business or a plain vanilla business. I’ve got to turn it over to you. Why should we have a sales engineer?

I am biased. Everyone should have a sales engineer for any reason but mainly, the big thing I see is if there’s a salesperson working with a customer and every time they work with a customer, they say, “I need to get a technical person on the call,” that technical person should be a sales engineer. There are a bunch of different skillsets required from engineers or technical folks to then communicate with the customers.

It takes a lot of different skill sets from engineers or technical folks to communicate effectively with the customers. Click To Tweet

I worked in engineering for a long time. I didn’t feel like I needed to explain stuff to the customers. This is the way it is. Understand it or don’t understand it. It’s on you but when you become a sales engineer, you understand you’re in the business of selling. You’re in the business of solving a business problem through technology. It’s in your best interest to take the time and explain things to customers in ways that they understand. That could be technical or business-y. That’s the main reason I see. People should have sales engineers who are technical and can communicate with customers.

I can imagine a lot of people going, “That sounds cool if you’re a technical company but I’m not a technical company. We sell office supplies, cars, medical equipment or something like that.” They’re thinking, “I deal with the doctor.” Let’s step back. What is a sales engineer? When we throw the word engineer onto it, a lot of people think of technical right out the gate but there’s a lot of technical in everything. To me, a sales engineer is a highly standalone support mechanism for the sales channel to be able to describe all the stuff that salespeople can’t when it comes down to it.

There is no one-size-fits-all. Some companies should not have sales engineers. If you’re selling medical equipment and your salespeople are very technical and they can get into the weeds of the product, then maybe sales engineering is not the right thing or maybe that salesperson is also a sales engineer. It’s a combination role. I’m in a combo role where I’m a salesperson and a sales engineer for a techy company.

The whole role of sales engineers is to solve a business problem through technology and be able to take something technical and show the value in a business sense to the customers. If your salespeople can do it, then you don’t need sales engineers. As soon as you get a little bit more technical where you have to do demonstrations, proof of concepts and stuff like that and you’re wasting your salesperson’s time from being outside, meeting customers and bringing in more leads, that’s where a sales engineer can come in.

I have a client that’s a marketing company, for example. They do a lot of digital online marketing. Their sales team can speak on the front end to a certain degree but then when it starts getting into questions about heavy marketing concepts and technology, whether it’s software or, “How do I use Facebook or LinkedIn,” that’s another level or a sales engineer because they wouldn’t call it a sales engineer. They call it a marketing expert but it’s more of a sales engineer.

They might be called solution consultants. There are a million titles for sales engineers. I had a video where I talk about the different titles for sales engineers. A solution consultant could be one of them where you’re consulting with customers. It’s a little bit techier. Let’s take that marketing firm, for example. They may have to integrate with other platforms. You have marketing, HubSpot and Salesforce. I’m sure people are familiar with those two.

They might need to integrate together. How do you integrate that? Ask the solution consultant, sales engineer or whomever you want to ask. As soon as it’s out of the depth of the salesperson and you need to bring someone in who knows the technical part, they also need to be able to communicate that to the customer. We brought in people who are very technical in whatever sense from technology, technical in marketing or technical in whatever industry.

They need to be able to communicate effectively with a customer. That’s where I see a lot of disparity. Salespeople are great at communicating but they don’t know the technology. You bring in someone who’s technical but doesn’t know how to communicate. Who’s going to fill in that gap in the middle? That’s where solution consultants, sales engineers, solution engineers, presales or whatever you want to call them come in.

This is interesting to me because I bought a new vehicle. I don’t know why I bought another truck but I wanted a truck. I go to buy this truck. Firstly, the sticker shock on trucks is insane. I’m like, “Seriously? $110,000 for a truck. What is this? Is this a magic flying carpet truck?” My point is I go in there and I want to buy a boat because I want to tow my boat. I go in and ask, “What’s the towing capacity of this particular vehicle?” The salesperson goes, “I have no clue.” I ask, “Why is a Hemi engine different from a regular eight-cylinder engine?” The salesperson goes, “I don’t know.”

I asked something about the interior wiring and if it could be wired for this type of sound. They’re like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” My level of trust is dropping precipitously as we are going along. I’m like, “Why would I spend this money on a vehicle if I don’t have my answers?” This is where I hear a solutions consultant, a sales engineer or whatever we want to call them could step in and go, “The towing weight is 26,000 pounds.” Is that what we’re talking about?

We’re talking about a very bad salesperson in your situation. To solve that, if the salesperson is so overwhelmed that they don’t have time to look at that information, a sales engineer can come in. The issue that I see with car dealerships is that you’re going to need to pay another sales engineer a good sum of money to do the salesperson’s job. There are combo positions.

If the salesperson is so overwhelmed that they don't have time to look at the information, a sales engineer can come in. Click To Tweet

In mechanical, if someone is selling a wind turbine, generally speaking, they’re called sales engineers but they do the sales part and the engineering part because they’re usually mechanical engineers who understand it very well. They’re doing everything from finding the lead. Let’s talk about the role of the sales engineer. The sales process is usually this. You get a lead, do the qualification and discovery, start selling and then close the deal. The cycle repeats.

Generally speaking, sales engineers come in at a discovery call. They might lead the sales or the selling part. Depending on how complicated the technology is, there could be a demonstration. In your case, if you’re buying a car, that’s taking it for a test drive. There could be a proof of concept, which means in the car situation, you’re keeping the car for a week, driving it around and seeing if it works for you but if it’s techier, you need a sales engineer there to answer those questions, “How much does it tow?” If you try to tow a building, the sales engineer will tell you, “Calm down. It can tow boats.”

The sales engineer’s role in all this has helped with the negotiation. We’re building the value of the product, “You want to tow the boat. It’s towing a bigger boat than what you have. You can even upgrade at some point.” You’re showing the future value of the product, “It’s low on gas,” which trucks are never low on gas. That’s what we’re doing as sales engineers. It could be a different person if it’s too techy or it could be the same person going through all of these motions of the sales cycle.

We’re speaking with Mr. Ramzi Marjaba. There’s a company called We The Sales Engineers. They can be found at WeTheSalesEngineers.com. I wanted to bring forth this subject so much. I agree with you in that case. The salesperson is weak or inadequate in that capacity but a lot of salespeople never think that they should be technical. They think their job is, “I bring the thing, the game and the client to the thing. I don’t need to know all the technical stuff. I just need to bring it there.”

In some capacities, that works pretty well in a model. The reason I’m bringing this up is that a lot of people are saying, “I turned my people into technical people.” What I’ve learned working with sales engineers is they have a specialty that most salespeople can never get. They don’t have the methodical breakdown engineering mind. Most salespeople have the gift of the gab.

The sales engineers I’ve worked with usually are very fun but reserved types of personalities. They’re very methodical and pragmatic in their approach. They’re not the party animal that a salesperson necessarily can be. It’s not to that say they don’t like the party but I’m saying that they’re not that type of person usually. It’s the ones I’ve worked with. Have you worked with any that are so much of an outgoing personality that they can replace the salesperson’s role, for example, like you?

I consider myself an introvert. There’s a combination of both. It’s a scale from being an extrovert to an introvert or life of the party to the guy standing in the corner, which is me. They don’t want to talk to people. They work differently. When you look at a salesperson, they’re making calls all the time. You’re going to have to balance the fact that the more technical the salesperson is, the less dependent technical people they are, which means they can close the sales cycle faster because they’re answering most of the questions there and then. You’re balancing being out there and trying to find new leads too. Which one is more important for you?

Some sales engineers are the life of the party but if you put a life-of-the-party sales engineer with a life-of-the-party salesperson, then you’re never going to sell anything. You need a balance between the two. I’m an introvert. I work better with extroverted salespeople because they pull me out and I rein them in. If they’re both all over the place, who’s taking care of the customer? You’re doing what you want. You’re not focused on your customer and what they need. If they’re two introverted SEs, then no one is taking a customer out to lunch ever. There’s an introverted salesperson and an introverted SE because I’ve seen both.

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Solutions And Credibility: If you put a life-of-a-party sales engineer with the life-of-a-party salesperson, you’ll never sell anything. You need a balance between the two.

 

You’re bringing me down the path I wanted to go. Everybody has a different level of sales ability and acumen. What a lot of companies look at is the front-end side of this. They go, “If I can get the front end fixed, they will sell,” but there’s a high percentage of people who are highly methodical that a person who’s not methodical doesn’t know how to sell to. That’s where I found huge value in having solution consultants and sales engineers.

Even when I was selling telecommunication services, I would bring in big accounts. I could get them to the table but if it got technical, I needed Peter Weston and Ramzi Marjaba because I was not able to talk to the IT side of the game or the engineering side of the hospital and bring all these together. I didn’t have that level of knowledge. When companies hear about sales engineers, they go, “I’m not that technical. I don’t need that. What’s the point? It’s an added salesperson.”

I would make a strong argument and almost fight it to the death that they’re losing valuable sales in some capacity by not having that methodically minded person who has that technical expertise. I don’t even care if it’s a vacuum cleaner store. I remember I went in and spent $1,200 on a vacuum one time. I was shocked that I did it but I walked in. The person greeted me. She was very nice. She said, “Are you looking for this? You have to talk to John.”

John comes out and starts demonstrating what the vacuum would do. He’s talking about the suction power and how it will do this and that and all these things. I swear to you that in the middle of the whole thing, rudely, I took my credit card out. John is on the floor showing me everything. I threw my credit card at his feet. I didn’t even know what the vacuum caused. He did such a great job making me feel safe using technology and technical abilities that I was like, “I’ll take it.”

He goes, “Sir, do you want to know the price?” I’m like, “What is it?” He goes, “This is $1,200.” I’m like, “I’ll still take it.” This was back when an average vacuum you would spend $200 on tops. My point to the audience is people like you are invaluable in every single sales scenario. You could train your sales team to do it but when it starts to get to a point where the sales team doesn’t have it, they need a guy, people or a gal like you.

I want to bring up two points or maybe more. We will see. First off, there’s the sales engineer and solution consultant. These terms initially bring credibility. Salespeople have a bad rap, whether it’s earned or not. When you’re talking to someone in sales, the customer knows that this person is trying to take their money, especially if it’s someone that they don’t know.

When you bring in a sales engineer, a technical resource or whatever you want to call them, you shifted the conversation from money to solving problems. That’s one aspect that immediately helps the sales team. The sales engineer is still trying to sell but we’re more interested in solving problems. The selling comes second to us. That usually helps.

The second point I want to bring up is speaking someone’s language. That person who was selling the vacuum was speaking your language. You were sold right away. When we’re talking about companies, there are multiple people making decisions. It could be the end user who’s going to use the product, the software or whatever it is that you’re selling on a daily basis that has input towards if they should buy it or not and if they’re going to use it. There’s the manager and the director. Each of them has its language.

The salesperson can very well take care of directors, the higher-ups and the business people who are not involved in the tech. The sales engineer can close the techy people and help them understand the value of the product so that they can push upwards as well. You’re not having a top-down approach anymore. You’re having a two-pronged approach. That sounds like a marketing term. You’re flanking from both sides so that you can help the customer make a decision that’s best for them.

What you’re speaking about is you’re having a peer approach to the sales process at that point. For people who are technically minded speaking to other technically minded people, it’s like, “You get me and understand me.” That reduces their fear. They are high influencers in complex sales. It doesn’t matter what somebody is doing, whether they’re bringing in a new marketing initiative or a new technical issue. That hits them but decisions being made in a company all fall back a lot of times on the technical people, “We’re going to go out and get a whole new cell phone plan.” The sales engineers and the tech people on the backend are going, “Wait a minute.”

Everybody would know Salesforce. The sales manager or the VP of sales decides, “We’re going to go with Salesforce.” The individuals are going to have to use it. The individuals are going to love it or complain about it. If they complain about it and everybody is complaining to the VP of sales, then the VP of sales might start thinking twice about renewing the subscription or maybe looking at a different solution.

Without question, I’ve seen this happen over and over again.

The sales engineer’s role, in that case, is to talk to the salespeople, “What problems are you having? I want to build a solution that the VP would like but I want you to be able to use it as well. Help me help you.” The seller of Salesforce wouldn’t go down to the weeds and talk to their customer’s salespeople potentially from what I’ve seen. I’ve had the company say, “Congratulations. You’re using Salesforce tomorrow.” What is that? I’ll figure it out.

I remember when I worked for that telecommunications company. We were bringing in Oracle or one of the SaaS platforms. They’re like, “All your salespeople have to put all your conversations in this, all this and all that.” In my head, I’m going, “This is going to cost me $25,000 in commissions. I’m not doing this crap.” If I had to have somebody like you come from a technical point of view and say, “This is how it’s going to make you more productive and how easy it is to use,” then I wouldn’t have pushed back.

That’s how it’s going to make you, the individual, money and in return make the company money. The VP of sales didn’t make this decision to lose money. If you lose money, they’re losing money. They may have the vision but it wasn’t trickled down to you.

That’s the invaluable part of what you do as a solutions consultant, sales engineer or whatever we want to term that. If we think of a real estate transaction or any person who’s selling, a lot of times, the person who is buying knows they’re trying to take the money out of their account and stick it in the company that they represent. If you take a real estate agent, for example, that real estate agent is going to show you homes and say, “I think this and that.”

You might love that person and get along well with them but then you ask for something called an inspection of the home. We ask for an inspection because we want a solutions consultant to come in there, fill us in on everything that’s going on with the home and explain it to us so that we can make the best decision for our value when it comes down to it. People don’t think about that person as a sales engineer or a technical solutions consultant. They think of them as an ally and as a friend.

You’re still paying the money though. As a customer, you’re still paying more for them. We do it for value.

We do it for peace of mind because we want to know. We know when we’re buying a home. What’s the roof like? We don’t know. What’s the underlayment of the roof like? We don’t know. We bring somebody technical in to resolve that for us. It blows my mind that many companies don’t think like this. They’re burning sales out to flushing them out the window. Smoke is pouring out. All their hard-earned prospecting dollars are flying out the window by not doing this.

The thing about sales engineers also is they have experienced combining multiple solutions together. If a salesperson who’s not experienced in tech was asked the question and the obvious answer is no, a sales engineer can come in and say, “Maybe we can do exactly that but how about we combine this with that and get it together? You have a bigger solution that solves more of your problems. We get paid more money.”

CSS 72 | Solutions And Credibility
Solutions And Credibility: Sales engineers have the experience of combining multiple solutions. When a salesperson is asked a question and the obvious answer is no, a sales engineer can offer bigger solutions that solve more of your problems, and you get paid more money.

 

The client and the company are happy. When you ask for a referral as a salesperson, then they go, “Ramzi came up with this amazing idea.” They dote upon you. It makes the expansion of the sale and the regeneration of a new sale much easier when we’re doing that. I want to go back to one thing you said because salespeople are positioned in a certain way. I remember that my good friend Andy Miller, said to me one time when I was younger, “2 salespeople and 1 manager come into the company to meet with people to sell to them. I’m sitting on the other side of the table and thinking that I’ve got 2 liars and maybe 1 honest guy.”

There are some bad salespeople out there. The majority that I’ve worked with have been great. They want to help the customer, especially if it’s repeat business. The perception is there. It’s having someone technical who can speak the language of multiple levels in there and answer technical questions instead of saying, “I don’t know how many horsepowers it has,” or whatever the question may be.

You’re speeding up the sales cycle because you don’t have to go back every time and get someone else. Instead of trying to get someone technical to come and talk to you who may not be able to communicate properly because they’re not sales engineers and they’re just engineers and they know what they do, you’re delaying the sales process more. Another question that I have is this. What else could the salesperson be doing instead of trying to find all these answers to all these questions?

I would like to add one more point. Two salespeople, a manager and a sales engineer come into the room. We’re bringing a trusted advisor. There’s a level of trust that you bring into that sale that no salesperson can bring without hard work over time because of who you are and the level of expertise that you bring. People know they’ve got that side covered.

In telecommunications, for example, the number one reason people don’t buy telecommunications is they’re afraid that if they make this decision, their company is going to get knocked out of service for 1 day or 2 days. They’re going to lose more on the backend. When I used to bring the engineers in, they would talk about how to eliminate that possibility. All of a sudden, the CEO is like, “Let’s go.”

You’re talking to an expert about how to reduce risk. Sales engineers can loan credibility to their salespeople. When I’m on a call and I’m meeting one on one with a customer, I say nice things about my salesperson, “He always tries to take care of their customers,” especially if it’s true. If it’s not true, I won’t say anything but if it’s true, I try to lend some of my credibility to them.

That’s an interesting point because when you have that credibility, it’s like an MD or a senator writing a testimonial note on behalf of Doug. All of a sudden, Doug gets elevated because of their status.

It’s credibility by association.

That probably always works as long as the salesperson roots for the same hockey team that you root for.

I’ve seen sales engineers and salespeople work together. They’re an amazing team together. You can tell when they walk into a room, “These guys are going to take care of me because they’re in sync. They’re not talking over each other and bad-mouthing each other. They both have the same goal of helping me the customer.” I’ve had sales engineers trying to rein in salespeople who are flat-out lying. I’ve had to sit in rooms where my salesperson would say something and I’ll have to say, “Sorry. What he meant was something different.”

I don’t want to take away credibility but I also want to tell the truth to the customer. The only thing that I have as a sales engineer is my credibility. If I lose that, the whole sales team loses that. I still have to be honest. If the sales salesperson and the sales engineer are on the same page aiming for the same goal, it will work well. If they’re pulling in different directions, then the customer will know. They will not buy from that team unless they have to.

We’re speaking with Ramzi Marjaba. You have a company called We The Sales Engineers. Tell people what you do because I don’t think people know but it’s a cool concept.

I appreciate that. When I started this company, there weren’t any resources for sales engineers. You can see a lot of resources for salespeople and technical but nothing in between for sales engineers. I’m coaching people who want to become sales engineers and sales engineers on how to upscale and be better partners for their salespeople because it is in the end a partnership. If sales engineers do their job well, closing the deal is so much easier for the salesperson.

If sales engineers do their job well, closing the deal is much easier for the salesperson. Click To Tweet

Some of the skills that are lacking from technical people are the ability to do proper discovery, ask the proper questions and then throughout the sales cycle highlight based on the discovery and the pain points that the customer has the value of our solution. If we can do that well, all salespeople have to do is ask for a PO. They won’t have to negotiate on price. That’s what I teach my clients to be better at sales engineering.

If somebody wants to get ahold of you, how do they do that?

I’m on LinkedIn as Ramzi Marjaba. It’s Ramzi@WeTheSalesEngineers.com if you want to email me. I’m happy to help and chat with anybody.

I would like to ask one last question because people who are reading are going, “This makes sense. I’m getting it, I hope.” The question would be this. How do we work with a sales engineer? Let me preface it by saying this. I drove all my sales engineers insane because I would be the innovator. I never lied to my clients. Most salespeople won’t lie but what salespeople will do is they will embellish the possibilities to future-pace it out. Guys like you will come in and go, “Yeah, but.” I’ve got a sales engineer in my company. I own a company. I want to bring a sales engineer. I don’t want to disrupt my sales team. How do they work together? What’s the best approach?

Like any partnership, it’s open communication. If I feel you, Doug, going a little bit overboard, I’m going to tell you, “You’re going a little bit overboard here.” I have to listen to your response because maybe you have a reason you’re doing that. If we can discuss openly being partners, not subordinates or anything like that, that’s the best way to move forward.

Sales engineers need to take a lot of responsibility on their end as well. Sometimes we feel that sales engineers are subordinate to salespeople, which we’re not. If you put a two-hour call on my calendar two days from now to do demos of fifteen different things, I need to be able to grab the phone, call you and ask you the simple question, “What’s this about?” Usually, it’s not as bad as we think.

You set up 2 hours in case we need it but it could take 5 minutes. It’s a discovery call. It’s a demo but we can do it more as a discovery call. If we want to show something, we can show something. It’s open communication, in the end, being on the same page, knowing that you both have the same goals of helping the customer as long as that’s your goal, closing that deal and making some money in the process. People would work together very well.

CSS 72 | Solutions And Credibility
Solutions And Credibility: Being on the same page, knowing that both the salesperson and the sales engineer have the same goal of helping the customer, you can close that deal while making money in the process.

 

I would like to add something to that. If you’re a salesperson using sales engineers, understand that the time and value they bring are equal or even exceeding your time, value and ability because they’re very busy on the backend most of the time handling multiple accounts. The reason I’m bringing this up Ramzi is I learned this early on with the sales engineers that I worked with. People were doing exactly that internally. They’re like, “I’ll schedule two hours.” It could take fifteen minutes because the salesperson is feeling so inadequate.

What I used to do is I call them and go, “I’ve got this issue. You’re busy but I don’t want to mess with your schedule. How much time do you think this will be?” What I didn’t know at the time because I was being naturally me is the sales engineering team talks to one another. They’re like, “Doug is a good guy to work with. Pierre is not so fun. Mary is great.” It’s important for the sales team to understand how a sales engineer works too. Take them out to lunch and start to understand what’s in their world too because I promise you that there’s so much stress on the sales engineering side in many capacities. Salespeople don’t get it.

The way I see it is salespeople work in five-minute blocks. Their minimum time block is five minutes. You can make a call in five minutes. I’m not saying you’re working 5 minutes at a time but you can complete a task in 5 minutes. Some tasks could take 30 minutes but you can call 5 people in 5 minutes. Sales engineers’ minimum time block is 30 minutes to 1 hour. If there’s a demo, we’re spending an entire day preparing for that demo so that the next day, we can kick ass and help the salesperson close the deal. If there’s a proof of concept, we’re collecting all the information.

We work differently. The one thing I teach my SEs to do is to put it on their calendar. One big mistake SEs do is don’t put the backend stuff on their calendar. When a salesperson looks at their calendar, they see it’s all empty because they don’t have customer meetings. It doesn’t mean that they’re not doing anything. What ends up happening is the salespeople put more calls on their calendar and sales engineers work at nighttime to prepare for all those calls, which leads to burnout, resentment and all that stuff.

If you’re a salesperson working with SEs, I would highly recommend you tell them, “If you have a demo that you need to work on, put it on your calendar so that you have these five hours blocked to work on the demo. If you want to highlight a different color so I know, that’s fine but make it on your calendar. If I see your calendar is fully blocked, I’ll give you a call and see if you can move something for an important customer meeting but if you can’t, then I’ll have to find another resource or we will figure it out together.”

A big mistake SEs do is they don’t take care of their calendar. I’ve seen a lot of salespeople’s calendars. If they want to call a customer, they have it on their calendar. If they want to work on a quote, they have it on their calendar. That’s a big difference in the way they work. If the calendar is empty, it doesn’t mean that they’re not doing anything. It means that they didn’t put it on their calendar.

The big mistake most sales engineers do is they don't take care of their calendars. Click To Tweet

I’ve seen that as well. I will tell salespeople or people who are selling one last thing. If you have something you’re not sure can be completed, don’t sell it and then dump it on the sales engineer.

We’re going to say no. Good sales engineers say no ahead of time.

I’m guilty of this. I was a top rep in the company. I went out and sold the products that we didn’t have but I knew we could technically do it. With a good reason, the sales engineering team came out with pitchforks, lanterns and torches but the thing is if I called you, Ramzi or a guy like yourself ahead of time and said, “I’m thinking of doing this,” and you said, “Technically, we can do it. We don’t have a product set for it,” and we talked about it ahead of time and worked it out, that wouldn’t upset the sales engineering team.

What I didn’t realize I was doing was creating a whole boatload of procedures, processes and work for these people. I was out there selling something and thinking, “This is what I’m supposed to do.” Everybody was selling. Whether you own the company or you’re working for the company, please take note that these folks work hard and long hours behind the scenes as well.

I appreciate that.

You’re welcome. Ramzi, thanks for being on the show. I appreciate you being here. As always, I had fun. We didn’t harass each other as much as I thought we were going to, which is unusual for us.

My apologies. I’ll work harder next time.

Thanks again for being here. I appreciate it.

It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

What did you learn? I learned something. Sales engineers plan their day differently than salespeople do. I never thought about that point because we’re so used to selling if we’re the owner of the company or we’re the CEO. We’re in that position. We’re still rainmaking. We go out and do our thing. We come back and take care of this solutions consultant, sales engineer or whatever it might be but what we don’t think about is how the impact is upon them.

Think about it in terms of if you have a company and you have an IT department or if you’ve ever worked with an IT department, everything gets dumped back on that IT department, whether it’s wireless phones, technical internet or CRM. We’re making a decision in operations. That’s going to change everything. The IT gets it dumped back on them.

That’s what happens to sales engineers if you utilize them in those capacities but if you utilize them upfront like if you use an IT company or IT department, they can bring a tremendous amount of value to this selling process as well. The very sales-oriented sales engineering mindset brings processes, systems and clarity of communication to your sales process as well as your sales team.

If you’ve never thought about it, I would look at getting a technical person. Maybe you get them part-time. You reach out to Ramzi to have a conversation with him. Maybe you have somebody that’s on call for something like this. If you’re selling a complex sale for sure or if you’re in a multi-person sale and you don’t have a technical resource talking to their technical resource, the probability of you closing that sale is diminished greatly. What will happen behind the scenes is if that person is not the direct decision-maker, they are an influencer in the sale.

What happens is the front end is going, “This is good.” HR is saying, “This is good.” The operation is saying, “I can do this,” but then you’re going to hear this, “From a technical point of view, this is going to cost us an extra 3 months and $300,000 in implementation.” Let’s back up the sale here. That sale could unravel and you wouldn’t know but if you have a technical liaison talking to that technical person within the company, they’re communicating to resolve that issue long before it goes to the decision table. That’s what you want to bring.

In any capacity in your company, if you don’t have people who are speaking the technical side of the business, there is a high percentage of people who are methodically minded. It’s just human beings. If you don’t have that, you’re going to lose the sale in many capacities. If you like the subject matter, please let me know. If you love it, give it a five-star review. If you haven’t subscribed, please do. We would love to have that happen for us.

The more people we get, the more beneficial the algorithms are for us and the more people we can help as we go along. Speaking of helping, if you have an episode you want to hear more about, reach out and let us know what that is at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Let us know your ideas on the subject you want. We will find the expert and bring them to you.

Maybe you want to be a guest on the show and get your reach out there and extend it. If you have a subject matter you think you can talk on, let us know what that is as well. If you have any desire in helping someone who works for you, someone you know or the company, in general, to get to the top 1% of sales earners and get your company revenues into that position, reach out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com.

If you would like to grow your revenues in your company and want to optimize all that process, reach out to me. Let’s have a conversation. Go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Sell it for profit. Help a lot of people. Play win-win. Make somebody’s day better. Make your day better. It makes the whole world better. Until next time. To your success.

 

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