Category Archives: SE Theory

SE Book [Draft] Exchange of Goods, Introduction of Currency, Worth vs. Value, Retail Sales Inventions

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!

Here we have loosely chapters 2 through 5 of the first section of the first part. All rough draft and cold read.

The really rough draft text of the 4 chapters:

Exchange of Goods

Barter vs. Trade; They sure sound the same, don’t they? Actually, the terms refer to different methods of moving money or goods around.

In the case of barter, which is older than trade, the exchange is ‘goods for goods’. No money is exchanging hands, which is why it was used far, far earlier than the invention of currency. Bartering on a local scale meant that the other party had access to the same materials, so the inherent value was the same. But if the materials were hard to obtain, even in the same area they could be given a higher value-even though both parties have access to the same materials.

Another consideration in local bartering would be if the materials needed to be prepared in a fashion that required, say, a significant expense of labor, or skill.

But a much less labor-intensive approach would be to barter with a party in an area that doesn’t have the advantage of your natural resources, and vice versa. The problem there, of course, is that there is no control over what goes for how much, and you couldn’t arrange a deal in advance.

You were really at a disadvantage if you were the one traveling to the other. Not only did your time and expense go into the traveling, but at the end there were 2 things you wouldn’t have any control over. One was what the other party thought your goods were worth. And two, as you’ve no doubt guessed, was what value would they attach to the goods they were giving you in exchange. Both parties back then, as today, would over-estimate the worth of their own goods, and underestimate the worth of the other’s.

And if you couldn’t find someone to deal with, then you just went back. And if you were looking for a big difference in available resources to barter between, the value of your goods went up the further you traveled.

Money changed all that. You didn’t have to carry goods at all. You could go anywhere you liked-local or not-and just trade your money for goods or services. Wealth became not who had the biggest stockpile, but who had the most money. The difference is pretty significant. Suppose you are sitting on tons of furs, ready to wear/use. But nobody wants them; Everyone already has all the furs the could ever use. Are you wealthy? Maybe. But you can’t unload one single fur to anyone around you, so their value goes down.

Remember the stories about the gold rush[es], where in the mining towns a haircut would go for 100x what it would in the real world? Supply & demand, and taking in gold for goods or services was trade.

My neighbor has no furs, but lots of currency. They are wealthy in a very versatile way. They don’t need to find people without furs, as their currency (as long as it is within the area recognizing the currency, and is valued reasonably) can buy anything.

Gold or other precious metals were used before coinage, and even salt was used as currency in certain situations. Gold was an early favorite as it never rusted or broke down, and could be melted to make it more pure. It could be shaped, melted down and re-shaped as often as desired. The fact that there wasn’t much of it around early on made it valuable-not the fact that later it would be fashioned into coins.

Now trade actually encompasses, or includes, bartering (the barter system). What I mean by that is that all bartering is trading, but not all trading is bartering. Trading and the development of our week, are tied to one another. The week is, essentially, the days between market days, where the community and travelers would get together on an agreed upon day to buy & sell. It was a lot easier to use markets than just stand around hoping a Bauer or seller would walk by. Markets also allowed the exchange of news and ideas. While farm goods would stay fresh short distances, long distances were a problem for consumables.

Ebola, probably the earliest Syrian kingdom, regulated trade with silver. They established a value for a certain weight of silver, and all goods’ prices were fixed against that standard. All this was documented and in wide use back in 2,500 BCE. An interesting concern of the day was translation of language, and there are many dictionaries for distant languages with Sumerian translations found through archeology.

You might think that bartering is long dead, and that everyone buys & sells with currency, trading. At all levels bartering is alive and well. Many cities organize that are called Barter Exchanges. Small companies can deal face to face, while large corporations may exchange things like advertising or media exposure as leverage. Some actually use a “trade credit”, which is agreed upon, and in writing. The IRS now requires barter exchanges to be reported as per the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. For variations on this theme, see Local Exchange Trading Systems.

The Introduction of Currency

Coins were first thought to have been religious trinkets used in religious rituals, and maybe even distributed by priests. The earliest known were from the Kingdom of Lydia in Iron Age Anatolia. Coins as we know them evolved from other shaped metals or materials in various forms. If the form was standardized, typically called an “ingot”, it would mean that the value was set and agreed upon by a standard, typically the local kingdom or other authority. The late Bronze Age peoples used tokens, or shaped metals in ingots, to prep resent their currency, but there weren’t markings on them.

Aristotle said that the first place that issued coins was Demodike, or  Hermodike, of Kyme. Kyme was an ancient metropolis located in coastal Turkey. The name Hermodike doesn’t sound familiar to you? Maybe you know her as Queen Midas. That’s right, the wife of the guy whose golden touch was only cured by the god Dionysus.

The term “money” is thought to come from ancient mythology, when Zeus tied Hera with a golden chain half way between the Earth and the Heavens. Hera (Moneta)was lonely up there, and the word for lonely in Greek is “mone” or “moneres” (μονήρης), which means alone or uniquely alone. Hera broke her golden chain with the help of Hephaestus, and the gold chain fell to Earth and became money for mortals.

Did you know that all the gold in the world (above ground) if collected together, would form a cube 20m, or 60+ feet on each side? Another fact about gold as that metal backing much of our paper currency, is that price fluctuations in gold’s trading price are not because the value of gold is changing. It actually reflects the value of the currency changing. I’ll dally a moment longer here to suggest you to read the “Jekyll Island” story (”The birth of the Federal Reserve System”) in  Anthony Reinglas’ Thy Kingdom Come: Overcoming a Failed Economy to find something actually interesting on the topic.

It is thought that because the gods were involved with the Hera myth, gold was only used until 390 BCE in ancient Greece in temples and graves, and certain jewelry. In that year King Philip II of Macedon made gold coins for all of Greece. It’s funny and poignant today that the Greek word for money, “numisma” (or “nomisma”) means to the Greeks, “It is something we think has value, or something that someone convinced us it has, but in reality it has not.” In China, round coins were popping up in the 4th millennium BCE, with Rome not catching on until 289 BCE.

In the United States, we’ve had coins at 1/2 of a cent, two cents, three cents, and even 20 cents. And did you ever wonder why certain coins have those little ridges on their edges? It is from the practice of detecting “clipping” easier. Clipping is simply taking a little off a coin, and adding a lot of clippings together to get an appreciable amount of metal for free.

Currency, whether coins, credit, backed, paper, or commodities, futures, stocks, etc. Has allowed us to trade at all levels of society, acquiring it via any means. Gone are the days of bringing a chicken to fill up your car. In a way, it is kind of sad. Because now money from a bank you robbed spends the same as that hard earned at minimum wage. Money no longer cares what kind of a person you are, what your abilities are, or even where it came from. Your own merits no longer count for your worth in society. Your worth and value is now determined by your checkbook.

Worth vs. Value

According to[]:

“Worth is a synonym of Value.

As nouns the difference between worth and value is that worth is (countable) value while value is the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable.

As verbs the difference between worth and value is that worth is (obsolete|except in set phrases) to be, become, betide while value is to estimate the value of; judge the worth of something.

As a preposition worth is having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.”

To me, the difference is a little simpler to explain. The worth of something, anything, is the going rate-whatever the market will bear. If I want to sell my car, I look it up on line and see what professionals list it as, as well as what others are readily willing to pay for it. What are they selling for these days? It doesn’t matter if there is sentimental value, as the buyer will no doubt not share my sentiments, experiences, or memories.

So my car will sell for $1,000 or I will never sell it-at any price-because it was the car we shared so many memories in. We spent hours fixing it up, making road trips to far away places. That car was always there for you; It never let you down. You will pour many thousands of dollars into it to keep it running-long past the time for it to pass on to the junkyard to have it’s parts stopped off one-by-one as it’s shell rusts away in a field. That car is family, man! And that is it’s value. The value to me is far more than it’s worth.

You don’t worth something, you value it.

Retail Sales Inventions

You are not likely a retail Sales Engineer, nor will you likely become one. The reason is that they don’t exist. Sales Engineers are for larger sales that have long sales cycles, with several prospect contacts and multiple simultaneous efforts on your side. Retail is the opposite of a Sales Cycle. There is only interaction with a prospect if the prospect asks for it. But just because retail sales doesn’t involve Sales Engineers doesn’t mean it is irrelevant. The same mindset and mental mechanisms used in retail sales are present in larger deals-from the consumer’s perspective, that is. Unaware of it, the buyer goes through the same mental genuflecting when buying anything expensive that they are not an expert in, which usually includes a car. So for just a minute or two we will look at how that experience has changed for our buyers as they shop for everything in their lives not work related.

The birth of modern retail in the 1700s and 1800s is marked by the development of the department store, chain store, and the price tag. We also have the bottle, the Sears Roebuck cataloger, the receipt, cash register, and even the vending machine during this early period. Advertising, a huge money mover in it’s modern form is invented along with the telephone.

Since that period we have been introduced to things like a price gun, the shopping cart, and a supermarket to push it around in. Air conditioning brings customers in past the neon signage so they can fill their shopping bags. At night they can still shop thanks to fluorescent bulbs and credit cards. Credit card debt soon followed. You could be seen on CCTV surveillance cameras taking clothes off their hangers, using your calculator to see how much money you had left after buying something, heading to the checkout where you put your goods on a conveyor belt. You bar codes got scanned while you watched an in-store television and watched a fork lift move some palettes.

Your smart phone scans branded items to see how much they are at the on line store, and you can put your leftovers in that Tupperware in your electric refrigerator for later.

In the 1910s, “Women became the nation’s primary purchasers of consumer goods, making 85% of consumer purchases. In advertising, however, women worked on products for the women’s market (food, soap, fashions and cosmetics). Men moved through training programs, working through all the departments to find the right job. Women started lower, as secretaries or researchers, trying to get noticed as copywriters.”, according to[]

It is critical to see how fast things changed so late in history. We are in business consumers drawing parallels from our personal, retail experiences. Buyers of high priced software tat Sales Engineers help sell to them are still, in their minds, going through the same processes for buying decisions that they do when buying tires for their car. An interesting thing to keep in mind as we look at how sales methodologies evolved is just that-they evolved. Each new one was developed with the lessons of the last, designed to be perfect for all time. Nobody creates something saying, “Well, this will last a few years tops.”

Our brief history of sales continues now with these breakthroughs as the backdrop for the processes and methodologies that make the art of Sales Engineering a science. Maybe not an exact science, but a science nonetheless.

This seems a good time to introduce and/or define a few terms in this whole process, as they are sometimes confused. There are four terms, or identifiers that we use Ni Sales Engineering more than any others:

Supplier – One who crafts, manufactures, or fabricates the thing or stuff. They are usually the shippers or deliverers of said goods (Distributor).
Seller – This is where Sales Engineers are. We are part of the Selling Team, with a Sales Rep (”Rep”) typically having the most at stake. In big ticket software, the supplier and seller are typically the same company.
Prospect – Someone who has not yet bought our stuff. They may in future, or they may not. Getting their attention is called “prospecting”. An existing customer can still be a prospect if they are looking to purchase additional things we sell.
Customer – Someone who has already bought our stuff. This may be a channel, or reseller.
Consumer – Sometimes called the “End User”, this is the party that actually uses and benefits from our stuff. They may buy our stuff directly from us, through a consultancy, or even online.

Early on in our 50,000’ timeline, we will see how it all started with 1:1, face to face sales, and quickly turned more industrial as demand outweighed demand, and cost of goods became significant in price-based competition.

I’m looking for your comments & suggestions. Feel free to use YouTube if you would rather.

SE Book – [DRAFT] What was there before Sales?

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!

I really would like the benefit of your feedback as I go through the chapters. I’ve just written them fast, top of my head, and found in doing these cold reads that my spell/grammar checker in Scrivener took some liberties. Some really trip me up.

Below this video I will paste the text I read. It isn’t perfect, it’s just a first draft. Comments about how awful I look aren’t actually necessary. I’m well aware.

The video of my reading the first chapter:

Can you imagine having to create, from scratch, everything you need to live? If you want electricity, you need to create it. There are no outlets on the Wall and no batteries. Would you like to wear clothes? You are free to make any you like-but fro meat? There is no clothing store, and you cannot even order on line. What would that have been like? Can you imagine it?

Before you could buy something from someone, there was a time when there were no buyers, and no sellers. No money was needed, because currency in any form simply wasn’t needed. You were roving, self-sufficient, and sometimes teaming up with others to make hunting for your next meal more likely to succeed before you died of hunger. If someone asked you to barter or trade, the concept would be foreign to you. If they want to trade a fur for a piece of obsidian, the person with the obsidian would wonder why you had too many furs, and what they would do if they gave you their only knife.

This was the age before bartering, and long before sales. The only people you learned from were your parents, or a communal group, but with lifespans so short you had to learn fast. Just having no Internet must have been a struggle.

Eventually, people are believed to have settled down in agrarian societies, making them more efficient at obtaining meals, and thus allowing them to spend more time on things like religion and making better stuff. Until recently it was thought that religious practices involving complex structures with large stones and other materials was only possible once people settled down, but findings in Turkey at Göbekli Tepe very recently have shown that assumption to be false. It is so old that it makes the Hypogeum look like a drive-through church. The point is that even though it is almost assuredly a center of worship, and at around 12,000 years old the oldest man-made structure yet discovered, it shows no sign of being a center of a society, or city. There is no garbage.

So as little as 12,000 years ago, man was still wandering about, chasing lunch. There were no excesses of commodity, and bartering, as explained, meant that I had to take time and produce excess at a time when I couldn’t find a surefire way to have dinner every night. It just wasn’t practical. The entire world had anywhere from one to 10 million people.

It is thought that the exchange of goods, or organized bartering, started around 6000 BE with the Phoenicians, who had observed this to a smaller extent in the surrounding tribes throughout their kingdom in Mesopotamia. This was a radical concept, where a person would do more than just over-produce for personal consumption, but rather exchange excess for stuff needed now, or before they could produce their own in time.

The first trade routes were developed to transport salt and flint. Jericho, founded in 9000 BE, was built on such a route. I always wondered why these routes weren’t called barter routes. The thinking is that a trade route is unique in that at no point along the route are the goods exchanged. You go with what you have, and come back with what you need. What you have and what you need determine the route, and ultimately the destination.

Agriculture is now a big deal, with the first sheep being herded in Northern Iraq (Fertile Crescent), domesticating of the pig in Turkey and China, and the 5 million people left on Earth are going back into Europe as that nasty Ice Age recedes.

If bricks at Jericho were the high tech of the 9th millennium, by the 8th millennium BCE, pottery was all the rage. And it makes sense why; you could now carry other goods-even liquids-great distances to trade as well as the dry goods. In fact, things like salt & flint, and later obsidian (first traded from Anatolia (modern Turkey) to Southwest Iran), were items traded most simply because they had a high value for their volume & weight. In other words, you could trade more for carrying less.

You might be forgiven for thinking that in the 7th millennium BCE every one of the 5 million earthlings are living in nice agricultural centers, or even cities, living the good live. But we’ve only been talking about a very small part of the world, and most everyone is still in hunter-gatherer tribes, or bands, roaming around. Pottery itself isn’t yet widespread, so it was good top live in the Middle East back then. The cow has just been domesticated and for the first time gold and copper are made into ornamental jewelry. The Chinese, who will essentially invent transcontinental trade, have just domesticated rice, millet, soy beans.

Pottery was a game-changer. The earliest pottery had bottoms that were pointed, and couldn’t stand on their own. This was for the simple reason that the inverted cone shapes could easily be tied to pack animals by using loops of rope. Interestingly, Central America invented pottery at the same time, with no communication or travel between the societies.

With animal husbandry (pastoralism) well along, and the transport of seed across vast distances to keep their grazing land fertile, it was getting easier for populations to grow, and excesses in vital staples to be stored for use or trade. This is considered the age of The Rise in Agriculture, all because of the early versions of sales-trade and bartering. The earliest beginnings of money are found in “counting tokens” in the fertile crescent (modern Iraq) about now. And if you wanted wine, you were in luck because Persia was making it 8,000 years ago. In Africa pottery was first being used decoratively along with a boom in jewelry, which are sure signs of a society with desired goods to trade. If you are the first or best, other people will want it, and give you what you want for it.

Egypt will play a key role in the development of sales. In the next 1,000 years of our abbreviated history, the area of Northern Africa starts to become a desert. It is thought that this gradually forced the peoples of Northern Africa Eastward into what would become Egypt, as the Sahara Desert began to take shape. These new arrivals to Egypt took full advantage of the Nile and pioneered advanced agricultural technology in 5,500 BCE to take advantage of the seasonal flow of the river, thus bringing fertility year round.

But the biggest advance for our concerns was the virtually instantaneous creation of a modern civilization in Sumer in 5,400 BCE by the Sumerians in what today is Southern Iraq. They pioneered irrigation and many advanced that will lead civilizations to a sales oriented culture, starting with the technology of the day, irrigation.

Agriculture has been the basis of economy and trade for thousands of years, so it is surprising that only in the 5th millennium BCE we got around to inventing the wheel. Even the plough wasn’t invented in Europe until 4,500 BCE, and after a hard day using it, you could now have a beer.

With the 4th Millennium BCE, things really start to move fast. Sumer and Egypt were the most advanced societies and advances still used today just kept coming from the Sumerians. Among them, the very first bit of writing, called proto-cuneiform (or “Prue-cuneiform) in pictographs, along with advanced, creative writing, base-60 mathematics, astronomy, astrology, civil law, complex hydrology, schools, and even the sailboat. They even had time to create the first proper cities, managed as such.

During the period from 3,000 to 2,000 BCE we had the Early to Middle Bronze Age, and all of sudden nobody was happy with what they had. Imperialism, or the desire to conquer, seemed a lot faster and easier than keeping up with the neighbors the old, hard way.

This theme is familiar to us today, but back then your king would look around and see that a neighbor had developed a collection of wealth, or a crippling military technology, that he really wanted. In one fight, he could gain land, the possessions of others, and all the housing and technology. If you were fierce enough, and had a reputation, the locals would just drop everything and run. The Hebrew Bible is filled with stories of just what this was like. But this was a double-edged sword, with the birth of revolution from within as a concept.

Sadly, the highest technology of the time, in Sumeria, fell victim to war between the city-states it was comprised of, and as it is today, war drains the will and wallets of the people. If you didn’t profit from war, you could always go over to Egypt and see the great pyramids under construction, which included Khufu’s, which would be the tallest man made object on the planet for thousands of years.

Thankfully, the Sumerians saw that never-ending war was not helping, and the 3rd Dynasty of Ur was ushered in by a unification of the warring city-states. They even had time to invent poetry and the telling of epics, and with writing, they had a way to jot it all down instead of trying to remember it all. If it weren’t for the Armories constantly nipping at their heels, Sumeria might still exist today.

Now the development of trade and eventually sales, by way of money or currency, is speeding up. It’s the 2nd millennium BCE, now, and Egypt has calmed down a bit, along with the Armoried kings over in Babylon. And as you’d expect, when people stop fighting, they start thinking. Well, at least after the upheaval in the 1,600s.

We get chariots and a [Phoenician] alphabet, and there was a movement toward using writing for bureaucracy and international trade. In fact, the Phoenician traders were also so skilled at sailing that they spread their language and alphabet though out the Mediterranean expanse, it was used virtually exclusively in the region, and as the first Canaanite language it was the parent of many languages using alphabets.

The Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age with the invention of wagons, which could haul exponentially more goods than the equivalent of just horses, and shipping routes for trade were forming, as it was far faster than overland. Two horses can only carry so much, but those same two horses could pull an extremely heavy wagon much easier and faster. I guess you could say the wagon ushered in the concept of “Time To Market”.

The first millennium BCE is still in the Iron Age, and it was the time of empires. Empires meant conquest, and it meant trade. The father of monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, is spreading in and from Persia. The Greeks just made the first language with vowels, calling it… Greek. We now get Geometry, the concept of atoms, the first railway, large trade/war vessels, lighthouses to keep them afloat, the crossbow and the siege engine. On the barter, or trade, side we see by 500 BCE the trans-Sahara trade routes out to Morocco.

In fact, in a way we can blame writing for having Sales. Around 3500 BCE the Sumerians advanced from pictographs to cuneiform in order to keep track of the quantities of goods moving throughout their kingdom. By 2,500 CE there were already gold and silver standards as the basis for determining and stabilizing prices. Coins, though not widely used, appeared as early as the sixth century BCE in Iron Age Anatolia (Kingdom of Lydia). They were initially made of elect rum, an alloy of silver, gold, and copper. But again, it would be a very long time before widespread, much less consistently recognized, coinage was used in any fashion.

Paper is invented in China in 105 CE by Cai Lun, ushering in the paycheck (eventually), and the first paper money and bank notes are issued in 670 CE. That technology would be given to the Arabs in the mid-8th century. In 785 CE, China develops sea trade routes to the East coast of Africa, which cuts out the the Arab middlemen. This trend of spend a little up front, make a lot on the back end is something we still profit from today.

Muslim traders settle in Madagascar in the 9th century, while in 863 CE the Chinese author Duan Chengshi writes about the Somalian slave, ivory, and ambergris (a waxy, flammable substance coming from the festive tracts of sperm whales) trading. In 1088 CE we usher in the era of proposals with the invention of movable type in China, and with the printing press in 1439 CE in Germany we can see mass mailings in our future. And with the invention of the proper newspaper in 1605, we can now advertise in style. Anders Celsius develops the Centigrade scale for temperatures, and to this day nobody knows why this was necessary.

But we’ve sped past a point in history that is of vital importance to our story: The Renaissance.

From the 1300s to the 1700s it bridged the old and the new, the Middle Ages and modern history. At it’s roots it was Humanism, or the philosophy that “Man is the measure of all things”. The positive influence and impact of specialized leaning and widespread educational reform were balanced by the lack of basic knowledge in the family unit. This period was made all the more dramatic by being right after the Dark Ages. It is postured that the Black Death pandemic (from the pathogen Yersinia pestis), which killed 1/3 of the world’s population from 1346 to 1353, was responsible for the attitude or outlook in people. For the first time, people were thinking about mortality as much as morality. If Florence was the actual century of the origin of the Renaissance, it was likely because the city lost a full half of it’s population.

Sociologically, the plague spread to all levels of society, but the poor were hit hardest due to the physical  conditions the plague thrived in. This left moderately more educated people than not. After this, money and art were close friends, with wealthy patrons sponsoring large works of paint, construction and sculpture. This money came from increased trade with Asia and the rest of Europe, and from sources like silver mines in Tyrol and booty from the Crusades. Some even think that the money came from those that had the plague hit a little too close to home, and they saw extravagant religious works as acts Of devotion, piety or repentance. If you wanted textiles, you went to Florence. If you wanted fine glass, you went to Venice. And because ideas and news travel with goods traded, Venice naturally grew in educational centers.

And it is exactly this distance between those who knew, and those who didn’t that comes to us from the Renaissance. Prior to then, throughout the Dark Ages and before, your family knew all you needed to know to survive. Remedies and practices of hunting and farming were handed down to the next generation, and the only specialists were those with a specific basic skill, such as working metals and perhaps animal husbandry. But even then, they were within the same village or quite close by.

All that changed when the Renaissance created centers of learning, and advanced education in very specific areas was possible. Those with the money, connections, or even skills could travel beyond their small villages and live in large cities. Larger cities were more lucrative, as if only a small percentage of the population would buy your product or services, a larger population within reach would make that small percentage lucrative. Collections of similarly skilled people formed associations and guilds to protect their income, ensure only those properly capable were bidding on work, and wield power over going rates. And today we see this in specialists in every vertical, from doctors to lawyers. Specialty is the way things are today, and we find ourselves camping in automated palaces, incapable of surviving without electricity and WiFi.

end of chapter 1 draft. In the end, these numbers will change as chapters get deleted, moved or added.

What is a Sales Engineer?

I get this search string for a web browser’s referrer more so than any other. And I’m really glad someone is asking, but way too often the wrong answer prevails. Well, at Google, this is what a Sales Engineer does:


But really, to answer what a Sales Engineer is, it might first be good to read an article I wrote a few years back about What a Sales Engineer is NOT. From there you will also see some “related Links” below the article to lead you to other defining articles.

The confusion as to what this vital role is, and even what it should be called remains …inexplicably. Companies way too often see the word “Sales” in a title, and assume that you are a sourcer, or cold caller that hunts for leads, then closes them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. True, a proper Sales Engineer is paid on base+commission, but as I’ve written before, this is due to the requirement for suggestions outside of the protective Account Rep’s to be geared toward closing the most business ($) in the shortest possible time. This is how your reps are comp’d, and if you are not, then you will not be invited to the party.

If you are like I was, and am an accomplished engineer in many diverse disciplines, then your best shot might be to ask to tag along with your sales reps on actual calls. This might be the first sales call you’ve ever been on! Say not a single word, unless asked to do so by your rep. Do not speak unless spoken to, in other words.

Do this a few times, and start to get a feel for what your company’s customers are asking for, what they actually need, and how your company’s sales reps perceive your products. The analytic in you will soon see that they do not overlap each other perfectly. In fact, there might not be any overlap at all. Your reps won’t see things like this, but your engineering mindset will, and you’ll be compelled to figure out ways to “fix” the situation. RESIST THE URGE!

Your opinion is not wanted. You have no street cred with these reps, and they don’t think there are any problems-or they affix blame to others (what I call Blame Management, but more on that another day). You need to continue on these ‘expeditions’ until you learn more about how things are in the streets, versus how they are at your HQ/office. They are far from the same.

So back to the 3 areas of understanding (which are really perception). Imagine 3 circles drawn on a piece of paper. Each circle is labeled as:

  • What problems Corporate (Mktg/Adv) thinks we solve
  • What problems Sales thinks we solve (see comp plan)
  • What problems our prospects/customers think we solve

There are other tools in my methodologies that are related and similar, but lets just focus on these for now. For the most part, you will be able to tell where each one of these circles lie after a month of going to sales calls. Things may look like:

(click on image for full size)

So the job, or objective, of a Sales Engineer is actually quite simple. Create as much overlap as possible. There is much, much more to it, but for now this should act as a good intro. Be sure to cruise through the related posts below this article to fill in more of the blanks!

The Sales Engineer – Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Sales engineers generally are required to possess a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and many have previous work experience in an engineering specialty. New sales engineers may need some on-the-job training in sales or may work closely with a sales mentor before they can work on their own.

Education and training. A bachelor’s degree in engineering usually is required for a person to become a sales engineer. However, workers without a degree, but with previous experience in sales and technical experience or training, sometimes hold the title of sales engineer. Also, workers who have a degree in a science, such as chemistry, or even a degree in business with little or no previous sales experience, may be called sales engineers. Continue reading The Sales Engineer – Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

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.


My book: Sales Consulting with Sales Engineers

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!

I’m pulling the trigger on the book I’ve had in my head for several years now. I can essentially do every chapter from memory, the same way I do these videos-right off the top of my head.

I’ve fine-tuned my messaging, methodologies, and other things I consistently, repeatedly use to help people be successful, so what am I waiting for?

Well, for one thing, I’m dreading hiring an editor… I don’t have $20k laying around to pay an editor, even if I could find someone knowledgeable in this niche.

I’ll post excerpts here for you all to comment on, as you are cheap labor! Seriously, I don’t know how I’ll get past hat hurdle. An editor can make a good book great. And every author thinks they don’t need an editor.

If you are a Sales Engineer, or manage them, please contact me here to have the answers to a few questions we’ll agree on in the book.

What are your thoughts?

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.

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.)

Continue reading Telecommute vs Office Commute – Weigh In!

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!