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SEU 001 What is a Sales Engineer?

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!

Making Sales Professionals Successful

You like one liners? You got it!


Now before you cry havoc, I already know that the video is not the flashiest video you will ever see. I’m still working out the kinks in these in a new way to video-using dry board/dry erase. I usually use this format in front of prospects/customers and when training, albeit on larger boards and in front of audiences.

Still, this video will give you an idea of my speaking stye, and more importantly how I see the Sales Engineering role today. The job has come out of obscurity since technology has gotten so complicated that sales reps are no longer required to be technical enough to describe what they sell, or demo it.

I do these off the cuff (from memory/experience), but without a live audience it’s more difficult to do. I find myself distracted doing it alone, trying to remember everything-things I wouldn’t do in a live setting. So be merciful about the delivery.

The content, though, I tried to make invaluable to someone wanting to know if being a Sales Engineer would be what they’d like. I cover the basics at an extremely high level, and even that took 44 minutes. Future videos in the series will tackle one subject at a time, but it was only fitting to get the biggest question out of the way first.

I will be numbering these (this one is #1, unsurprisingly) for easy sorting and locating on YouTube.


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 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…

Pat’s Sales Triads


I had a great talk with a technology CEO today, and we talked about how the perceptions of a prospect/customer can impact the sales cycle. While we want to, or even assume, that everyone knows all about or fancy new shiny toy (software), this is seldom the case. If you aren’t a brand name, welcome to the struggle.

I used to say that you know you are cutting edge or have a good/new idea, when you spend 1/2 your time explaining WHAT you do, and the other 1/2 talking about why the prospect/customer needs what you are selling.

But these days it’s a more complicated story I tell. For example, I would represent our discussion this morning more like this:

ScreenHunter_61 Jun. 25 14.453 Ring Circus – Prospect Perspective

Some of this is easy to figure out, some not.

What They Think They Do

as an enterprise sales engineer, I can tell you that this is not as predictable as you might think. Ask each person in a company what they do, and you will not get the same answer. Below The Line, you might hear “We Solve Problems”, and they would go on about what kind of “pain points” they solve. This is Tactical Selling. I never use the term “pain points” in a meeting, or, well, ever because it is not the way to do enterprise sales [well].

If, on the other hand, you ask someone above The Line, they will say “We Create Opportunity”, and they will go on about opportunities for their share holders, management staff, and growth. Even then, each will describe a different opportunity… You see where this is going.

What They Think You Do

I love this one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked “What keeps you up at night?”, and heard “XYZ, but you guys aren’t involved with that.”-and of course, we actually did. So what is the issue at plpay here?

You remember earlier when I was talking about 1/2 your time talking about what you do? This is it. Come to find out, even though we use our technology on a daily basis, not everyone else does. What is worse, if this has happenned to you, then you are not in control of your image.

What this means is, the market/vertical/specialty that you play in has been advertised & marketed for you. Someone else has taken this job on for you, and there is a 99% they were/are wrong. If it was TV/Rags/Media, then it is easily reparable. If it is from a competitor, though, it is much more insidious. Often times, the prospect will tell yo uwhere they heard this if you ask, so ask!

What They Think Is Possible

This is what our discussion brought out. It is actually a more subtle aspect of the “What They Think You Do” circle above. This is the perception (isn’t perception reality) that they already know (so they think) everything in the realm of possibilities. It means that the prospecct is certain they know what can be done for them, and they are just shopping for someone to do it. Well, as I’ve said on many occasions, “The surety of a prospect that they know their issues/problems is inversely proportional to the truth.”

Why is this the case? Well, it’s really because they are not experts in what you do, but they do not want to appear to be uneducated about what you do. They have many technologies from many markets/verticals at play at their company, yet their company may have nothing to do with any of them. How does the head of a shoe company become an expert DBA? Or more germane to our discussion, how is an executive at a non-IT company able to keep up with the myriad of technological advances, along with emerging providers, that are out there? True, they are interested in hearing what other companies like them are adopting (some markets are unhealthily habitual like this: Insurance & Finance leading the pack), but beyond that, they really know nothing.

You need to be expert at manipulating conversation to understand these subtle dynamics, and give them what I call “A Way Out” of being either uninformed, or worse yet, dis-informed. You need to be gracious.

So with these 3 circles, imagine your last call/solution/sale. How closely were these 3 circles overlapping each other? Were some or all disconnected completely? This is why you will hear people talk about a “complete disconnect” when they are talking about qualification (another topic we’ve dug deep into on this blog).

The more these 3 overlap at the front end, the shorter the sales cycle, and the higher the likelihood of closing-and both of those make everyone on your team happier!

Now this is all well & good, but as the title alludes, this is only their perspective. The sale takes more than just them, though! It takes you, and what you do. So as you can imagine, there is another key perspective set to look at, and that is from our perspective:

ScreenHunter_61 Jun. 25 15.06

 What We Think We Do

This is the start of our perspective. Things here are just as important, but much harder to face. We are inherently dishonest with ourselves [in business]. But once again, if you ask the tactical/technical in your company, they will say “We Sell Drills!”. But if you ask the strategic/solution executives & managers, they will say “We Sell Holes!”. Do you see the difference?

One is concerned with selling as many drills as possible, focusing on features like speed, durability, and specs. They will list all the features and say “There is no product like it!”.

But what of our strategic employees? What of our enterprise sales? What will they say? We already know they say “We Sell Holes”, but what does that mean? We don’t really charge “By The Hole“, do we?

Of course not. What it means is that we sell a world with holes that we have drilled. Strategic selling deals with painting a picture of how things could be. We capture imaginations, create dreams, and drive opportunities for  (you name it).

I have an easy to remember axiom to remember selling tactically or strategically:

A prospect/customer has one of 2 things:

1. They have something they don’t want (problem to fix/tactical)

2. They want something they don’t have (opportunity to take advantage of/strategic)

Well, they can have both at once, of course, but I was talking about each individual DSO (Discreet Sales Opportunity).

So just like the Good/Fast/Cheap triad, these 2 simple triads should remind you that there are 2 ways to look at each opportunity. Their way, and yours!

pat :)


We’re All Salespeople (Selling), So Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

Sales Engineers,

We tell it to everyone, but they just don’t seem to get it, or want to admit it. In David Lazarus’ article HERE, he gives more examples from Daniel Pink entitled, “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others“. If you don’t know who Daniel Pink is, crawl out from under that rock and search YouTube.

A few brief paragraphs from the article:

Continue reading We’re All Salespeople (Selling), So Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

Easy Collaboration On The Cheap

Today we look at some free tools out there that allow you to do some things with documents (today we just look at spreadsheets) that you simply can’t do by emailing copies all over the place.


1. To give normal spreadsheet capabilities to all users. This also means more than one user can view/edit the document at the same time.

2. To let multiple users edit the spreadsheet online, without any software installed beyond an everyday web browser.

3. Allow seeing who did what & when, rolling back to earlier versions, and all the essential things collaboration requires.

4. Allow the downloading of the document (as it is in that specific moment) in a variety of formats. Users work off the master online, and each download is only a snapshot of the master at that time, and will not reflect subsequent changes.

There is more than one way to do this (with different tools), but we’ll focus initially on the best & easiest (free) one there is: Google Docs/Google Drive (they are going through a name change crisis now).

Note: You do not need a Free Google account to access/edit a document, only to host one. Let’s start first with an existing account, and create a document for us in this tutorial:

My user on Google will be my main one, Pat Trainor (Pat.Trainor@gmail.com). I will now log in and create a test spreadsheet for our use today:

Continue reading Easy Collaboration On The Cheap