Telecommute vs Office Commute – Weigh In!

Article by King Bea, Sourcing Specialist at Workbridge Associates Orange County.

My 20lb dumbbells sit in the corner of my room, gathering dust and indenting the carpet underneath. The fitness application on my iPhone would be my best point of reference as to the last date of their usage. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever used my dumbbells as more than just a daily reminder to exercise. They’re more of a symbol of an idea. Originally, I purchased the pair because I thought owning them would make exercising more convenient and that I could be more productive with my day. Oddly enough, I’ve found that I prefer to boost my heart rate away from home, away from my room, and apart from these cursed dumbbells. (Yes, I’m actually going to bridge the gap between dumbbells and telecommuting, but remember, this is a blog post. An anecdotal one for that matter.)

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Sales Engineer Resume Tips

Sales Engineer resumes should allow highlight a Sales Engineer’s most significant deal accomplishments. For example, ensure that you highlight your top 3 deals with associated dollar amounts. Your resume should also include quota attainment for the team that you have supported, assuming it is greater than 85%+. You probably want to highlight your largest win that was a competitive takeaway, and ideally use a competitive marketshare leader or well known vendor. Highlight in your resume an example of a win with a creative solution that was non-conventional. Ensure that you include a hobbiessection in your resume, as many good SE Managers are looking for well-rounded SEs. It also helps to list out any competitive sports you have played or competitions that you many have participated in. Everyone is looking for an SE who has a successful track record of winning

The Evolving Sales Engineer – Sales Engineer Manager Book

For Sales Engineer Managers, who are looking to expand their knowledge on new techniques and tactics to bring their Sales Engineers to the next level, then I would suggest the following book, The Evolving Sales Engineer. Key Concepts include:

-How to pick talented SEs
-Coaching Tactics
-Managing Office Politics between Account Managers/SEs

The author Edward Levine has a great grasp of the challenging world of Sales Engineering.
I would suggest this book to both SE Managers and SEs alike
Good reading!

Mastering Technical Sales – Sales Engineer Guidebook

Learning about Mastering Technical Sales? If yes, then this book is a must read!!! Mastering Technical Sales by John Care and Aron Bohlig covers the full spectrum of what Sales Engineers need to know in order to be successful in their technical deals. It starts by covering fundamental concepts around:

-Qualifying Leads
-Determining Go/No Go strategies for RFPs
-Needs Analysis Tactics
-Delivering the Perfect Pitch
-How to Avoid ‘Dash to Demo
-Remote Demonstration Tips
-Objection Handling
-Channel Selling with Partners
-Hiring SE Talent
-Time Management & Metrics

This book is a must-have in any Sales Engineer or SE Managers collection!

Improve Your Sales Demos

Looking to Improve Your Sales Demos?? Effective sales demonstrations are one of the most important pieces to progressing your opportunity forward in the sales cycle.  Software vendors who already have an in-house demo environment for their Sales Engineers may feel that they have all of the bases covered…. Wait, you may also want to consider that you software solution may be a point solution in the grande scale of all of the business applications required by an organization.  In economic times that are much more difficult to sell in,  it is even that much more important to show off much more compelling demos.   SO….. a great hosted service for companies looking to demonstrate their software solution integrating to other systems is Skytap.

Skytap offers web based access to vmware images and data centers so that your Sales Engineers can book configure a custom environment for their demonstrations.  Take a look at your Sales Engineering organization and spend some time looking at Skytap to help improve your sales demos!

IDC™s 2010 Sales Barometer Study: Guidance for Sales and Sales Operations Executives

The past 12 months have been, without a doubt, very difficult on technology sales organizations. As part of our annual benchmarks research, we went out to the field and surveyed leading hardware, software, and services sales executives to see just how bad of a year it’s been, and more importantly, what leading organizations plan to do in 2010 to improve their organization.

The bad news?. . . . ½ of all sales reps in 2009 didn’t hit their quota and buyers remain dissatisfied with the quality of interaction with their vendors’ sales reps.

The good news?. . . . There is significant opportunity for improvement.

So where to start? Well, it’s all about improving sales productivity. Easy, right? Well, certainly not.

Let’s start with why improving sales productivity should be one of your top objectives for 2010, as it is for many of our study’s respondents? Here are 3 reasons:

  1. The rise in sales costs is outpacing revenue growth: Sales investment is forecast to increase by 4.7% in 2010, outpacing the 3.2% growth in IT global revenue. (refer to the chart below)
  2. More leads are needed to close a deal now than ever before. (2/3rds of companies experienced an increase in leads needed to close a deal during the past 6 months)
  3. 72% of companies have seen an increase in buying cycles during the past 12 months; and IT buyers confirm this trend based upon IDC’s recent customer experience study. (click here to attend our upcoming telebriefing re: this IT Buyer Experience study)
In prior posts I’ve spoken about IDC’s sales productivity framework, which includes five key levers: Talent Management, Sales Management, Sales Methodology, Customer Intelligence and Sales Enablement. All of these levers are critical in driving sales productivity in organizations. More specifically, here are some things that sales and sales operations executives should do in 2010:
  • Maintain the momentum for sales productivity improvement efforts. The downturn in 2009 convinced many sales executives to prioritize productivity improvement initiatives. These initiatives are at risk in 2010 as revenue growth, albeit low, returns to the IT sector.
  • Empower sales operations as the driving force for productivity improvements. Sales operations must be considered a strategic driver of process improvements across the sales organization in addition to its more tactical support function. Key areas of focus from a people, process, and technology perspective include sales enablement, customer intelligence, account planning, and pipeline health.
  • Optimize sales’ time. Yes, reduce sales’ administrative time which is about 20% of the average sales person’s work week; however, focus more on improving the quality of the time invested by sales reps in preparing for customer interactions. (Sales reps spend approximately 17% of their time today on preparing for customer interactions) Customer intelligence and sales enablement are key levers to increase the quality of this time spent. This strategy is in alignment with feedback from IT buyers, indicating that over 50% of sales reps are insufficiently prepared for customer meetings.
  • Improve sales enablement. Sales reps continue to find it difficult to leverage internal resources (e.g., marketing assets, subject matter experts, process training tools) to help them optimize customer interactions. Sales operations must play a pivotal role in establishing, executing, and governing sales enablement initiatives across the sales organization. Alignment with marketing will facilitate this process as they are responsible for the marketing content and asset life cycle.
  • Better leverage sales automation. The successful deployment of a sales force automation (SFA) system is a foundational element for a productive sales organization. This system must be consistently deployed and adopted, including maintenance of high-quality data in the system, and leveraged throughout sales’ processes. Embed newer sales automation technologies within your SFA to increase productivity, including solutions to customer intelligence, content and asset management, and internal social media applications to better leverage tribal knowledge. (yes, that would be Sales 2.0 applications)

I invite you to comment on this topic as well as share what you’re seeing “in the field” by joining the discussion!

7 Common Lies Told by Enterprise Software Sales People

Pat: You should always be aware of what people are saying and doing to find ways to trip you up. Prepare for these questions below, and others I’ve written about, so you don’t end up fish food for the Meeting Sharks. Do your best to fight the stereotype discussed below. Who knows? Maybe one day it will be obsolete.


Ever meet an enterprise software salesperson you could trust? While such paragons of virtue exist, they seem the exception rather than the rule. Here are 8 common lies used by some way too many enterprise solution providers during the sales process. Continue reading 7 Common Lies Told by Enterprise Software Sales People

The Technological Singularity and Merging With Machines

Technological_singularity_michiokakuThe term “singularity,” which is often heard today, comes originally from my field, theoretical physics. It denotes a point in space and time where the gravitational field becomes infinite. At the center of a black hole, for example, we might find a singularity. It also refers to a mathematical term where a certain function also becomes infinite. But the type of singularity that you have probably been hearing about the most lately is called “The Technological Singularity” and although its not a new concept, it’s definitely becoming more of a mainstream topic of conversation.

Countless books on the subject are being published on a consistent basis, and Ray Kurzweil just recently launched his documentary, “The Transcendent Man” which shares his vision of a world in which humans merge with machines and is currently screening in sold-out screenings around the planet, web forums, blogs and video sites.


Continue reading The Technological Singularity and Merging With Machines

Social Media and the Workplace

In the late nineties, when the internet started to become popular, the beginning of a revolution started: mails could be traded not only electronically, but instantly as well, and the first instant messengers (ICQ comes to mind) were invented. Centralized, unidirectional communication started to lose space to bidirectional communication – a powerful way not only to get information, but to socialize as well.

At first, this had little impact at workplaces: modems were slow, the costs of being connected to the internet to the average person were prohibitive to the average user, and communication was usually restricted to text-based messages and a few photos.

During the last decade, however, communication went through a revolution: both bandwidth costs and prices of storage devices fell sharply, and processing power became cheaper. This provided users a fertile ground to create videos, take thousands of photos, upload their high-quality mp3 songs to their favorite homepages, and so on.

It was then that social media started to become serious.

In no more than a few years, social media changed from a hobby into almost a need to be connected – all the time, everywhere. And this very need is giving companies a hard time:, a partner of Wall Street Journal, for instance, states that social media can lead of a loss of productivity of around 1.5% in a company, “the difference between keeping a company open or closed if the budget is low”.

The risks, though, are not limited to material damage: they can go as far as damaging internal relationships as well.People, as previously stated, are socializing beings, and unfortunately conflicts may occur from this kind of socialization., for instance, states that an employee was fired after publishing derisive comments about her boss. The fact led to a suit, possible brand exposure, and possible loss of money – every company’s nightmare coming true.

Does that Mean that Companies should Shun Social Media?

If social media presents serious threats to businesses, why should it be allowed? First, let’s face it: social media is here to stay: not only social media represents 22% of all time spent online, states MediaWire, but according to e-commerce, but 5 out of 10 social media tools are being adopted by “more than 50% of brands and retailers”, states the news portal. This means that, although there are risks, any company could seriously benefit from social media. Therefore, here’s a list with a few tips on how to decrease profit loss:

How to Prevent Internet Abuse

  1. Manage the time your employees spend online: have you ever considered liberating the internet only during break time and filtering certain sites? While people tend to frown upon this, they will still be able to browse the internet (which will keep them happy)while still minimizing productivity losses.
  2. Allow access to some sites only to certain groups: if your company does decide that accessing sites such as Facebook outside lunch break is important, consider restricting this privilege only to those who are prepared to handle this kind of communication properly, as the PR staff of your company.
  3. Track who is misusing your internet connection: you can use a proxy to identify abusers and modify your policies so your employees will sign a contract stating that their online activity may be monitored. Again, this will not turn you into Mr. Nice Guy, but you might consider this to be better than employing per-site restrictions.
  4. Micromanage sites your employees visit: simply using a huge firewall to block many sites isn’t very effective. What if your company decided that Facebook is harmful, but Twitter is essential to spreading your business around? Never block any site “just because”: you might be losing a valuable tool that would help you grow otherwise.
  5. Make productivity expectations clear: after all, it’s not only the internet that’s at fault in productivity loss. Reading a magazine, watching TV, listening to an mp3 player instead of working; these are time wasters, too. That way, you’ll increase productivity overall, and not just recover lost productivity from online time wasters.


Although social media can decrease profit and productivity when used inadequately, they’re here to stay, and if managed properly, they can increase brand awareness at an inexpensive price, increasing loyalty both from your employees and customers. A good way to make your company grow is to create a proper social media account with your company logo and signature, and a personalized page. Also, don’t forget to “shout” about your brand: create a friendly workplace and a social media page, and your own employees will gather their friends to your page, which means they’ll be exposed to your products. This way, you can have a peaceful workplace, loyal employees and customers and new customers arriving virally, exponentially – And this is the dream of every company.

Chase R. Smith is a productivity and time management professional. For more tips & techniques to help you become more effective with managing your time and tasks visit Chase at Source:

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