We have the good fortune of working with a lot of different types of sales organizations. One of my favorite types of sales teams to work with are those that are highly technical whether it's pharmaceutical or engineering or financial services. These people are smart and certainly very capable, and they have strong domain knowledge that is not only very useful but really critical for them to be able to use with their clients. So, it is not a surprise that as technically oriented companies are looking for ways to grow, they're looking for ways to leverage their technical talent's ability to sell more effectively.
00:00 We have the good fortune of working with a lot of different types of sales organizations and one of my favorite types of sales teams to work with are those that are highly technical, whether it's pharmaceutical, or engineering, or financial services. These people are smart and certainly very capable, and they have a very strong domain of knowledge that is not only very useful but really critical for them to be able to use with their clients. So, it's not a surprise that as technically oriented companies are looking for ways to grow, they're looking for ways to leverage, how do we develop our ability to sell more effectively, but also even people who aren't necessarily in sales positions and technically oriented companies, how do we leverage their talent so when they're on-site, they can look for opportunities to develop business, or maybe bounce that lead or referral over to the sales or business development force? But together, how can we make sure that we're leveraging our technical talent to grow our business?
01:16 Today I'd like to talk with you about three best practices for doing so. When you look at this type of individual, do they have the skill, do they have the will, and is there a fit culturally for them to be able to sell within an organization? Now, these three things are important for any kind of position, so no matter what role an individual is in, they have to have the skill, they have to have the will, and there's got to be a fit. So let's talk specifically about what this looks like for a high tech salesperson. When it comes to will, many people have, if they haven't been hired for selling, you may definitely run into some resistance. If they've trained, say to be an engineer, they didn't go to school to be a salesperson. They weren't trained to be a salesperson, they didn't want to be a salesperson. So now you're asking them to go in and sell and by all right, they have a reason and you can expect them to potentially balk at that.
02:17 Of course, our point of view on selling is that all sales is really consultative selling, and it's very much a conversation that we have with our client to identify how can we bring value and help their business improve, but also how can we solve problems? One of the things I've learned about highly technical professionals is that they are phenomenal problem solvers, so if you can maybe even eliminate the word sales, or at least redefine what sales means in a consultative manner, you can leverage and kind of harness their natural problem-solving ability in a way where they feel like they're bringing value to the customer as well as value to your organization. So that's will.
03:02 The second then, is skill. Even if they're excited, "OK, you know, I'll take a look at what this opportunity is, see if it's something I can do." If they haven't had any training or experience, you're going to need to develop their skills. One of the things we've learned about working with these types of teams is that they, again, they're smart, they're very process oriented, so if you can give them a very logical framework or process for consultative selling, they grab it and they run with it. So building trust, how do you understand what's important to the customer? How do you recommend a solution or give them a best practice for a piece of advice that's going to advance their business? How do you support them on an ongoing basis? All of those skills, which are very consultative, they can use in a manner that is logical, relevant, and provides a good framework for them.
03:58 It's not technical, it's not at all manipulative, nor should any type of good sales be. The third then is fit and I tell my clients when I work with them if you're about to embark on leveraging your technical talent in terms of selling and they haven't done that before, even with the amount of development that you might do, even with the right positioning, you can probably expect some turnover. So take a look at your systems because this will help to also create the type of environment to support them. Are you hiring technical professionals who have a propensity to sell and consult more effectively? Do you have a good performance management system in place? Is there a reward system in place? People do with they're rewarded to do. This is very high level, of course, we have a lot of ideas. This is a real passion for us, and I'm very happy to talk with you in person in a little bit more detail if you like. But keep in mind, these three areas – will, skill, and fit, and you'll soon be on your way to really leveraging the technical talent you need to grow your business.
Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!
Vice President- Business Development & Performance Improvement
Susan brings over 20 years of experience working with global markets and organizations, helping them navigate through tough economic challenges while maintaining their margins. Since joining SEG in 1995, she has had the privilege of working with organizations that truly value the development of their employees and recognize the impact their people have on their bottom line results. Learn more