Category Archives: Culture

Why Do You Need A Sales Engineer? Part 1

Are you a Sales Engineer? Do you manage Sales Engineers? How about Sales Consultant? I’d really like to help you get some visibility in my book in exchange for a few quotes from you. Free is a great price, and it’s a win-win! Contact me!

The biggest benefit a Sales Engineer can bring to you is the justification, mechanism, and leading-by-example to change your culture from an internally focused one to an externally focused one.

This first video simply illustrates the kind of problems and missed opportunities a company will have if Sales Engineering is not in play. When the entire company becomes focused on Customer Service as the #1 priority, and prioritizes & justifies everything as such, only great things can happen.

In addition, we talk about misaligned corporate culture than doesn’t treat everyone as a customer (internal or external). I make no assumptions as to whether your executives have realized this is the direction they need or not, so I start from square one, building a case and justifying why the benefits of making the Customer King are worth hiring a Sales Engineer to do their part to lead by example to make it reality.

In the first installment of this video series, we take a high level look at what a Sales Engineer can do for you to change your culture forward to a Sales- and Customer-focused one.

Subsequent parts of this small series will address each of the components shown here separately, namely: Exec/Decision Makers, PDM (Product Development Managers), Sales & Sales Management, Engineering & Development (QA, support, etc.), and of course Prospects & Customers.

It is hard for companies selling technology to see how they can move from being a technology-centric culture to one that puts Customer Service at the top. Most who are simply used to doing that way can’t see how focusing on Sales and the Customer will pan out to enable revenue.

I share my experience helping companies understand exactly WHY this should be done NOW, HOW this is done (what customer-focused communication looks like), and HOW a Sales Engineer fits into all this as a catalyst for change, and WHY every company out there needs a Sales Engineer.

Each of these parts is not short, and can be likened to about an hour session I would do when training a group, or at a show. Some are relatively short.

I did not speed through these as fast as I could for a few reasons. For one thing, even though I write out most of what we talk about, some like to take notes, and find pausing a video annoying. In making videos like these, I have to consider the common denominator, and not leave anyone behind.

I apologize in advance if this more thoughtful pace is too slow for you. I think there is a way to play videos at multiples faster than they were recorded on YouTube, so I invite you to explore that option if you need to.

Why Do You Need a Sales Engineer? part 2

Are you a Sales Engineer? Do you manage Sales Engineers? How about Sales Consultant? I’d really like to help you get some visibility in my book in exchange for a few quotes from you. Free is a great price, and it’s a win-win! Contact me!

How does a Sales Engineer fit in? What does an org chart look like when you have a Sales Engineer? Which departments in a company does a Sales Engineer interface with, and why?

We start at this highest level, representing the areas of a company that work together at a block diagram level. The value to each in bringing about a Sales- and Customer-Centric culture is emphasized.

Sales Engineers are chartered with making everyone work together for the Prospect/Customer’s best interests, and for the sake of the deal.

Our next part dives right into how Sales Engineers directly assist Sales and Sales Management.

Why Do You Need a Sales Engineer? part 3

Are you a Sales Engineer? Do you manage Sales Engineers? How about Sales Consultant? I’d really like to help you get some visibility in my book in exchange for a few quotes from you. Free is a great price, and it’s a win-win! Contact me!

Sales and Sales Management is the focus of Part 3, where we tackle the most commonly thought of reasons a Sales Engineer helps get and keep more revenue. No other job title in a company is tasked with making all the different departments work together for stellar customer service, and to focus on the deal.

Throughout this series, I am pointing out very specific tasks that are vital for your success, but are not assigned to anyone, and thus fall off. In each case, we see why a Sales Engineer takes care of each of these, and why your Sales Engineer is the best person to do it.

All too often, the role of a Sales Engineer is confusing to companies with management that is naive or winging it. The purpose of these video lessons is to help companies understand why the role is so vital, but also to illustrate to HR/head hunters/recruiters personnel why exactly a Sales Engineer is NOT a Solutions Engineer, or a Sales Rep/Manager, or an Engineer, or any of the dozens of off-target descriptions I see every year.

Hopefully, when everyone realizes the value, the rich reward of having a Sales Engineer will permit salary to be correctly placed (comp, etc.).

Interestingly, the changes in culture that will push you forward are the ones that don’t require you to change much at all. In fact, it’s simply working BETWEEN the existing elements you already have-but keeping Customer Service the #1 priority. When we make decisions based on how it will help the Customer, and not ourselves, we instantly become more efficient.

Just ask yourself: “How Much Will This Cost?”

P.S. I thought perhaps turning one of the lights off would make less glare, but it really ended up making less light! In future installments I go back to more lights…

Why Do You Need a Sales Engineer? part 4

Are you a Sales Engineer? Do you manage Sales Engineers? How about Sales Consultant? I’d really like to help you get some visibility in my book in exchange for a few quotes from you. Free is a great price, and it’s a win-win! Contact me!

In Part 4, Engineering & Development are the company entities, or departments, we’re taking a look at. How a Sales Engineer works with Engineering to make them more accountable, and more efficient is discussed in detail.

The Engineering, or technical portion of your company is likely only tasked with engineering, development, quality assurance, support, and other goals and objectives relating to them internally. But part of accelerating your business with a customer service culture involves bringing Eng/Dev into the fold with the rest of the company.

We discuss how Engineering can use the Sales Engineer to quantify & justify their needs to elements of the company that have no knowledge or visibility into their space. Making everything into a budgeted project, and making product changes that are designed to positively impact sales and our existing customers is just part of it.

The Sales Engineer helps channel the skills of Engineering into phenomenal customer service, which is the ONLY path to gaining revenue, which allows them to increase head count, improve tools, and generally do their job better.

A Sales Engineer is a win-win for all components of an organization!

Managing Remote Employees For SE Managers

Are you managing remote Sales Engineers?  Do you know if your Sales Engineers are as productive as they can be since they are thousands of miles away, and many timezones apart…Many Sales Engineer managers struggle with this.  There are many tips and tricks that allow you as a manager to bridge the gap, and below are a couple to get you started.First consider communication frequency and communication methods…The default reaction of a rookie manager is to call and ping their remote employees simply to check in on them…The typically ‘yt?’ (you there?) message over instant message software provokes feelings of distrust.  Instead schedule regular meeting, probably more frequently than if they were sitting in the same location, but try to leverage webcams to maintain the personal aspect itself.  Secondly, many of the IM solution have webcam functions built in over IM for quicker response for urgent issues/questions and this quickly validates if your SEs are as productive as they can be.  Give it a shot.



How to [Define, Describe, Classify, Group, Find] Everything?


Up to Now

I’ve been designing a software product seriously for coming up on three years now, and a further two before that just convincing myself it was possible. The product operates on collected data and creates interesting relationships between them. Really, that is all there is to it. But like any simple objective, the road has become longer and more circuitous that we could have ever imagined.

Big Picture

The idea isn’t new, but the tools available today make it practical. Those tools are computers. Computers, though, need things represented as numbers. They crunch those numbers, and out comes a number. Sound familiar Douglas Adams fans?

The problem for me was routine up until the point where I had to interpret, and establish as events, text. The problem of textual language represented in computers is actually much older than AI (Artificial Intelligence). Continue reading How to [Define, Describe, Classify, Group, Find] Everything?

Why Sales Engineers Don’t Belong in Cubicles

If you understand what Sales Engineers are, then you realize that they should be isolated from the general population in the same way that field reps are-and for the same reasons. The same traits that make a Sales Engineer effective are the same that alienate them from the common cubers, and I’ve recently proved this is true.

For one thing, successful Sales Engineers are able to convey confidence above all else. That confidence, in a sales situation, translates into credibility for the Sales/Account Rep. That confidence is completely 180 degrees against the flow of a successful cuber, in that they learn to survive by being passive in all matters, avoiding making decisions. A no-decision is a decision that can never be wrong, right?

But in the Sales Engineer’s world, there is no room for indecision-we may only get this one chance in front of a prospect! We need to be able to say what is needed, and say it confidently. There are many funny names/phrases for what we do in a tight spot, such as “being frugal with the truth”, but one of my primary axioms for Sales Engineering is:

Never leave the call with questions about your stuff.

Continue reading Why Sales Engineers Don’t Belong in Cubicles

3 Essentials of Change Leadership

Culture Change is my Thing. I’m glad that not just the signs of a broken/caustic/costly culture are known, but also what you should be looking for in leaders to get you back in the black-people-wise and money-wise…

This article on LinkedIn by Greg Giuliano quickly shows what you need to dig yourself out:

The dominant topic for our clients in all verticals at the moment is change. This is the overriding business imperative they are all facing: The way we work is changing. How do we lead change rather than react to it?

There are three essential components to leading change successfully.

  1. Create a compelling vision of the future. Where do you want to go? What is the case for going there? How will you measure success along the way and at the end?
  2. Align thought and action. Is there clarity about what will be done to realize the vision, who’s doing what, and by when? Is there a common language and process tool kit for leading change embedded with leaders at every level to ensure consistency in execution?
  3. Grow leaders at every level. Do you have leaders who are agile and adaptable? Are your growing your capacity at every level to sustain high engagement and high performance?

Only you know how prepared you or your organization are to lead change. Too many negative responses to the questions above may be a sign that there are conversations that need to be convened with your key stakeholders to agree the vision, create alignment, and grow your capacity to lead change. The time may be ripe to define the future state, analyze the current state, and build a cohesive and comprehensive plan to frame the transition from where you are to where you want to be – in short, to lead change.


Here’s A Breakdown Of The Speech That Won The World Championship Of Public Speaking

[Saying it was the World Championship is like baseball in the US having a World Series]

On Aug. 23, Sri Lankan human resources consultant Dananjaya Hettiarachchi was crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking by Toastmasters International. He survived seven rounds of a competition that lasted six months and included 33,000 competitors from around the world.

He and eight other finalists competed at the Toastmasters annual convention last month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hettiarachchi took first place for his speech “I See Something,” which clocked in at seven minutes and 20 seconds. You can watch the full speech below:

We spoke with Hettiarachchi about his winning speech and what you can learn from it. Here are a few things that made it great:

He keeps you guessing.

Hettiarachchi tells us that the modern style of speech-making has  transitioned from a theatrical monologue to a conversation with the audience.

There are several theatrical elements to Hettiarachchi’s speech, but they’re done in a way to connect with the audience rather than dive deeper into himself.

He bookends his speech by holding a rose in his hands — the first time to pull the audience into his message and the second time to send them off with a laugh. He avoids being melodramatic or silly by finding a rhythm of silence and laughter, drama and humor.

“A speech has to be like a rollercoaster,” he tells us.

He starts with a message.

Hettiarachchi tells us that a common mistake beginners make when crafting their speeches is starting with a topic instead of a clear and concise message. This message is whatever you want your audience to be thinking about when your presentation concludes.

The message of “I See Something” is that anyone has the potential to be great, even if they’ve long abandoned their greatest aspirations. To avoid making that sound trite, he tells his own story of going from a law-breaking and lost kid to a motivated and focused adult. His story is the vehicle for a message, which the audience can personalize for themselves.

He fluctuates his cadence and gestures without making them distractions.

Hettiarachchi is far from monotone, but he also doesn’t sound off the wall. He expertly alternates between lowering his voice to a solemn level and raising it for comedic effect.

Pay close attention to the way he makes use of pauses. He takes anywhere from one to a few seconds of silence to emphasize a point, staring into the eyes of audience members to hook them even further.

At the same time, his gestures are open but controlled, so he doesn’t look like he’s flopping his arms.

He ties everything together.

There’s a technique comedians use called a “callback,” in which a joke alludes to a previous joke in the set for added laughter. It serves as a sort of reward for being an active listener and makes the set feel more cohesive.

Hettiarachchi pulls this off with the phrase, “I see something — but I don’t know what it is.” It shows up in the beginning, middle, and end, and feels fresh each time because he plays with the delivery. He also introduces his parents in the story with similar audience prompts.

When he concludes his speech, you’re left laughing and feeling satisfied.