Best Practices and Strategies for Sales Engineers
The objective of this section is to share real sales strategies, effective techniques, proven methodologies, powerful tips, secret tricks, useful recommendations, examples of best practices, work expertise, and knowledge from high experienced businesspeople and prestigious institutions to help sales engineers and technical sales professionals to become successful.
What is the Main Role of a Professional Sales Engineer?
Sales engineers have to visit their customer so they need to move extensively and spend a large portion of time traveling to meet with customers. Sales engineers are specialized in sell complex scientific, industrial and technological products or services to other engineers. Sales engineers use their technical knowledge, business acumen, professional relationships, knowledge of the targeted industry, and soft skills to explain the benefits and value of their products or services to potential customers, so they probe how their solution can help the customer to achieve their goals.
Sales Engineering exposes salespeople to many different industrial environments, technologies and technical challenges while working with customers. Successful sales engineers have a technical background and knowledge about the sales cycle, customer buying behavior, market competition, sell strategy, sales planning process, contract negotiation, market pains and needs, etc. Typically they move in a risk/reward world based on core salary plus sales commission.
A sales engineer has multiple responsibilities, like meet with customers to understand their needs, set up pre-sales demos and proof on concepts for customers. Sales engineers like working with lots of different people on lots of different projects, like a key account manager they are usually are the primary point of contact and are also responsible for managing the relationship with the customer; besides, they design engineering solutions that will meet the business outcome and will not exceed the customer’s budget; they help prospects to make the right decision, build trust, address pricing & billing issues, help customers setup and deploy products once sold, continue working with customers to ensure high satisfaction and discover any new business opportunities.
What is the Best Answer to (Interview) "Sell me This Pen"?
This is a common question in job interviews to evaluate sales expertise and communication skills. When you’re asked to sell a pen, it’s all too easy to focus on that pen. You might be tempted to talk about its many features with expression like: “this is a great pen, this pen writes upside down, this pen is the cheapest pen on earth, and this pen will never run out”. There will be a lot of good reasons why the pen is better; however, it’s a big mistake.
If you are trying to sell solution instead of products, maybe you start talking like: “This pen is always there when you need to write down a note”’. It is not too bad; but is still the wrong way. If you start talking about the pen, you’ve fallen into a trap.
You should start “qualifying” your customer, so your sales pitch is the act of getting to know something about your buyer, you need to know about the people and what their needs are, for example: “I would like to learn more about how you use a pen during your daily work, What kind of pens do you use?, When was the last time you used a pen?, How much does cost matter to you?”.
Without knowing their situation, needs, and value wanted, you become a show-person. After this qualification, you can tell your customer about what you have, because you’re filling a need; here you make the case that what you’re selling meets those needs. Remember, it’s about custom-tailoring your sales approach based on their specific needs and goals.
Finally, don’t forget to close the sale, summarize the main points you made and why they should move forward with placing an order.
What can I do if Competitor's Product Seems Better Than Mine?
Sometimes competition’s data sheets and their product look superior to yours “on paper”. In case your costumer doesn’t have any idea how the competition’s product works in the real world, never concede on a feature unless you have hard evidence that your product is not the best.
There is a good chance that the competitor’s features your customer think that “requires” are really things that might be nice to have but not really needed. Most people don’t want or care about additional features until not having these additional features becomes a problem.
Engaging your prospects with valuable technical information has proven to be one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert and trusted resource. Provide them with concise information in any communication and attach any other relevant information in a PDF file or link to a video.
Your offering is not just the product. It is a combination of your company prestige, technical support, after service, scalability, operational cost, maintenance cost, quick response, good seller-client relationship, customer perception, etc. The evaluation of which product is better depends on: What does the customer see as the combination of values, that you are presenting?. It is up to the sales rep to highlight these strengths, over the features and advantages of the competition.
Make the process of dealing with you so easy and fluid, that they would not possibly think of buying from anywhere else. As a sales executive show your customer that you will give them a level of personalized attention, and will not leave them after close the deal in case of any problem.
How to get Prospects to Leave their Status Quo and Start Buying?
The truth is that the majority of customers prefer to do nothing instead of change. In fact, a big percent of deals in the pipeline are lost to “no decision” rather than to competitors. Often, even if you sell a truly remarkable product, your buyers probably will not recognize the real value you offer to their organization. Finding the right person to talk is also very important, you should not waste time talking to someone who does not make the decisions in the company, reach out to the decision maker.
Customers do not buy products; customers buy the results that product will give. To get prospects to leave their current Status Quo, technical sales reps need to tell a story that makes a compelling case for why they should change, and why they should change now. Start making a list of all of the benefits that your customer will love by using your product or service. If you have some sales references, or if you are going to have a sale on your product soon, do not forget to tell your customers about it.
Instead of just talking about what you do, and your solution applied to solve your customer’s needs, create a speech or presentation based on the buyer’s point of view that allows prospects to really understand the message of your value proposition. Winning deals is all about challenging the customer’s Status Quo, highlighting the benefits of switching to your solution.
Become trusted, be helpful and act like a consultant or advisor to your prospects. When you start your sales move, remember to relate to the problems or needs that the business is facing. Typically, the customer is looking to do one of these things: Increase their return on investment (ROI), reduce cost, increase efficiency or productivity, and reduce risk (in terms of financial, legal, or safety).
What Should be the Mindset of a Technical Sales Professional?
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, because as long as potential customers see you as a friend and adviser, they’ll be interested to buy. It’s not what you say, It’s what your customer believes. You can have the best sales presentation in the world, but if the customer doesn’t believe your proposition, then you don’t have a chance.
Never make a prospecting call, or go to a business meeting without having a clear goal. “Always be closing” is seared into the minds of salespeople all over the world. Never go into a sales call or meeting not knowing how you are going to close the sale, using several different approaches based on what the customer tells you.
There is no such thing as a standard sales speech or unique sales presentation; they all vary according to industry, customer profile, product portfolios, target price, sales stage, etc. Take the time to engage with the customer. Sales managers have the big challenge of giving salespeople what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the entire buying process. Whenever you want to sell a particular item, you should make sure that you are familiar with it. The sales team can confidently communicate and demonstrate their value to multiple buyer types. However, if you don’t believe that you create more value at your price than your lower-priced competitors, then your prospective clients won’t either. There’s a good reason why confident salespeople are more successful.
Technical Sales is about helping other engineers to be able to see and achieve what they didn’t think were possible. Look at your current customers and ask them what outcomes have you been able to create for them?. Next, when you call new prospects, you will have in your mind that this is going to work, because probably, the outcomes that a similar type of customer is looking for, will match up to what you achieved with another customer.
What are the Customer's Expectations? What do Buyers Want?
According to the “THE GROWING BUYER-SELLER GAP” by CSO Insights, 45% of prospects admitted they wanted to evaluate their needs and look for solutions themselves, before contacting any salesperson. The challenge today is that buyers are changing substantially faster and to a greater degree than sales organizations. They’ve rapidly come to expect personalization, transparency and immediate fulfillment. Meanwhile, sales organizations have been slow to change. Buyers reported that their top objectives were that sellers left with a clear understanding of their needs and that, as buyers, they may have a clear view of how the seller’s solution would help them.
Buyers were twice as likely (61.8%) to say that salespeople meet their expectations rather than exceed them (31.8%). Less than a quarter (23%) of buyers selected salespeople as a top three resource to solve business problems. Also, buyers might not miss their sales representatives if they were to go away. With sellers being viewed as a less valuable resource, buyers are not inclined to engage them early in the buying process when they are working on clarifying their business problems and opportunities.
There is a range of decisions that buyers make along the path to a decision. For example: How big or important is this need? What is the universe of solutions that would potentially meet the need? Do I want to act now? Will this solution work in our specific environment? Can we justify the purchase? Is there consensus to move to contracting? How will I track my results?
Customers have little tolerance for explaining their business to a salesperson. Buyers appreciate a seller who did all necessary research into their industry needs beforehand and did not ask unnecessary questions. Customer expectation is that every call or meeting be effective, compelling, and concise. Every interaction has to be worth the time. Sellers may focus enough on, and demonstrating enough commitment to: what happens after the sale?.
How to Write an Adequate and Successful Follow up Email?
There is a wide range of ways you can follow up your customers; you can do it by phone, a letter, or even in person, but the fastest way is to follow up is by email. Following up right after a trigger event provides the perfect opportunity to naturally start a conversation with a prospect.
There are some rules when it comes to following up leads:
- Patience will be rewarded. You need to play the long game and follow-up consistently over a long period of time.
- You need a system to preventing embarrassing situations like duplicate emails or making your prospects feel like they’re being spammed.
- Sharing wisdom, references, statistics, or any other kind of relevant content is always a great practice.
- All sales emails should be short, but follow-ups should be even shorter.
- Show absolute belief in your product’s fit for the prospect.
- Introduce personalization or points of interest that the prospect mentioned previously.
- The subject line on your email should be one of the reasons you get a response to it.
Here are some good examples of proven strategies:
- The ‘How Did We Do?’ follow-up email: “To help us serve you better in the future, we’d love to hear about your experience with our sales / projects / services / support team”.
- The ‘Survey/Feedback’ follow-up email: “We pride ourselves in providing the best ‘product/services’ for our customers, and so we’d like to hear your feedback”.
- The ‘Can I help you’ follow-up email: “Just checking in to see how you’re getting on with ‘product/service/project’? Just let me know if I can help you with anything”.
- The ‘Anything else?’ follow-up email: By sending this email, it’s a polite way of giving the customer a chance to ask anything else and feel entirely satisfied with the interaction.
Don’t Fear Customer Rejection, but Customer Indifference
Transactional selling, or product-focused selling, puts the product at the center of the sales process. When using this method, sales reps will push a product’s features and benefits with little to no concern for how these align with, or can help address, the customer’s needs.
Have a profound understanding of your customer. Have an intense account relationship management with your top 20% existing/potential customers. Think if you can you customize any product/service you offer to your top 20% of customer?. If you have lost your ability to offer something special to your costumers, you will be just another vendor.
Perception is all there is. There is no reality, only perceived reality. We assume people are listening to us; but maybe customers are tired, they are sick of being marketed to. There’s too much competition. They are bombarded by information and as a result they are closing their eyes and ears. Playing safe is extremely risky. You will need to constantly adapt the way in which you deliver to the changing needs of your top customers.
Great sales engineers focus on the customer’s needs and experiences rather than on a product or service. Needs-based selling makes individual customers’ specific interests the focal point of the sales process. Needs-based selling often helps salespeople establish productive, long-term relationships with customers.
Consultative selling is a type of need-based selling established on the development of personal relationships and open dialogue between buyers and sellers. Another positive aspect of consultative selling is that it lends itself to “value-added selling.” Sales reps that approach prospects with a consultative selling mindset will naturally know more about what the customer is looking for; therefore, the customer will never be indifference with them.
Self-Diagnosis Questions for Setting SMARTER Goals
SMARTER is the acronym of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound, Easy to Understand, Rewarding. Here are some useful questions to help you set your smarter goals.
- SPECIFIC: What do I want to accomplish?. Why is important accomplishing the goal?. Who is involved?. Where is the location?. Which are requirements and constraints?.
- MEASURABLE: How will I know when it is accomplished?. How will I measure and evaluate it (performance indicators)?. How much / How many I need to reach my goal?.
- ACHIEVABLE: Is it possible to accomplish this goal?. Is this goal realistic, practical, reasonable?. Is this goal too exaggerated or ambitious?.
- RELEVANT: Does this goal seem worthwhile?. Does this goal match my needs?. Does this goal really matter?.
- TIME-BOUND: When is the due date to complete my goal?. How often will I review my goal’s performance indicators?. When do I need to present a partial fulfillment (checkpoint)?.
- EASY TO UNDERSTAND: Do I have problems to remember my goal?. Do I need to repeat my goal many times to understand it?. Do I find a tricky or confused meaning?.
- REWARDING: Why will I feel proud to achieve my goal?. What will I obtain after accomplish my goal?. What does motivate me to carry out and fight for my goal?.
Gain Credibility Delivering a Great Customer Experience
Customer experience is your customers’ perception of their experience with your business or brand. A good customer experience means that the individual’s experience during all points of contact matches the individual’s expectations. Customer expectations are higher than ever. Even if you think your brand and customer experience is one thing, if the customer perceives it as something different, that is what the actual customer experience is. Managing that perception should be a top priority of sales representatives.
The most fundamental challenge you will face is delivering consistently the brand promises you have made to customers. Developing a remarkable customer experience is a continuous effort. A customer who is satisfied with a business interaction is 4 times more likely to do future business. 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
You could use customer experience as a sales tool and an added value differentiation. Understand: How are you going to probe that your company can deliver a great customer experience?. Using a genuine and authentic approach is a powerful tool, and it’s very important if you look for new business opportunities.
Ask great dynamic questions that challenge the prospect, show them you know your stuff. Always listen your audience and check the language you are going to use, only positive, engaging words. Leave you customer with an action, proposal, further information, even a sale. After a meeting, send your customers something immediately that will remind them of you.
A business cannot exist without its customers, and this is why companies are focusing on how to win new business and, perhaps more importantly, retain existing customers. If you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to invest in their experience!. Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached, and they remember how they feel when they interact with you and your Company.
How to Handle Price Objections in Technical Selling?
In many cases, price objection is the easiest way to get rid of the salesperson; in other cases, price objections just mean, what you offer does not fit into customer’s need, or your prospect would see that your product’s price is much higher than its value. Rather than trying to figure out how to handle price objections, work on learning how to prevent them arising in the first place. So, the first thing you must do is discover and establish the real reason the prospect is asking about price.
To overcome these objections, you have to verify that you understand the customer’s problem. Then, show them how your product will solve their problem and quantify what that’s worth to them. Your customer has to see / understand the ROI. Show them how your product can improve their metrics and how much money they can stand to make. Then explain that they’re actually losing resources by using their current ineffective or nonexistent solution. Quantify how much they’re losing.
If you’re pitching a range of features, many of which the prospect doesn’t really care about, they’re going to object on price. They feel like they’re paying for a whole load of stuff they don’t particularly want in order to get the one thing they really do want. Before decreasing the price which devalues your product/company, tell your customer that for those with a smaller budget, you have an alternative product or version of your product for a lower price. Emphasize that it has less features or whatever it is that makes it cheaper and that it’s maybe a more affordable option.
Trying to win on price is never a winning strategy. Explain that although your product costs more than the competitor’s, it’s less expensive in the long-term because it’s higher quality and does more. Looking for a small way to increase the value of the product is better than reducing the price. When you reduce the price you kind of admit that it’s not worth what you were trying to sell it for. Find a way to add a bit more value to what you’re offering. Is there an add-on you can include in the deal?.
What to do, If your Prospect is Afraid of Spending Money?
The prospect might be afraid to spend money on your product or solution because feel it risky. Think about things from your buyer’s perspective. You know the solution you are selling is great, but your costumer don’t. It’s your sales job to make your customer feel safe in the decision phase.
Make them feel like your solution will work for them as advertised. You can introduce them to clients who had similar problems or are in the same industry who have had great experiences with your product. Case studies are another great way for your prospects to see real people having real results. Could you offer a limited-time introductory offer to help the prospect see how your service or product is useful to them?
The customer must feel that buying from you is a profitable investment. Nevertheless, all investment has risk and investors know that, but they have the money to invest. However, if you are trying to sell to someone that’s got no money to invest, maybe you haven’t properly qualified the prospect based on its financial capability. You need to qualify and disqualify prospects properly so as not to avoid wasting time with prospects who are not going to end up buying your product or service.
Price is an easy objection to use to get out of a conversation, so make sure that you know what’s really going on. Start by figuring out what the lead actually means by “no money.” Perhaps, they are at the beginning of their buying process and the customer is looking for budgetary information. Maybe you can offer a financing plan or a different offering at a smaller price that does meet the budget?
How to Keep Closing B2B Sales Deals, During a Global Crisis?
According to Jeff Winters from Harvard Business Review businesses who spend their time brainstorming how to drum up new leads once ‘the storm’ has passed will be too late to gain a competitive (or any) advantage. The tactics that worked in the past may or may not work now. The old profile of a winning salesperson as a rugged individualist is giving way to a new profile: a team player who can collaborate with others.
Switch to ‘yes’ mode and be empathetic. Engaging with prospects’ social posts, writing handwritten letters, giving strategic information or maybe genuine gifts are all smart tactics for staying top of mind — but they’re just some ideas. Continuing to generate leads and close sales will require continuous experimentation.
Look for prospects that are doing okay financially, then your prospect is likely more inclined to buy from you. If they’re not, your prospect’s buying behavior will have changed, too. These changes can range from not buying at all to slowing down the sales cycle. Take this into consideration when you’re forecasting leads and deciding how to spend your time. It is also critical to know how your prospect’s customer is faring as you think about the resources you’ll spend on a sales deal.
It will be easier for salespeople to deal with repeat customers who are familiar with the company and the value it offers. You may not be able to sell your product at a premium price. If you can get something to sell to your prospect who needs it during a difficult time (even at a discount), that will be a win for everyone. They’re receiving what they need, and you’re still selling.
Pitch all deals like you’re pitching to a CFO. Think that all deals are receiving more scrutiny from financial decision makers. Because people will be scrutinizing buying decisions more, you need to be more intentional, direct, and repetitive about ROI. You have to emphasize to your prospects that you have a very clear, demonstrable ROI. To demonstrate ROI, you must highlight the direct connection between the product or service you’re selling, and the customer organization’s goals.
Build a Relationship with your Leads Before Asking for Money
Successful salespeople make sure to sell something they believe in. Understand what you are selling. Find a product that you just believe in. Allow your passion and excitement for the product to come through in your sales approach. Most salespeople are clear on what their product or service does but fail to address the needs of the client first. Slow down your speed and speak with leads in a consulting manner to close more deals. Practice your active listening.
The biggest challenge in most organizations is that their salespeople simply don’t meet with enough real prospects. Spend time with decision makers who get what you are doing. Stop trying to convince the wrong people or those that just don’t get it. Sales Engineers should spend less time preparing what they want to say to a customer, and should spend more time thinking of the questions they must ask.
If all vendors have an acceptable solution and all claim to have the best quality and service, the only differentiator left is price. In order to don’t fall at this dead end, every time you’re with a customer, make it a point to learn something personal and professional about them. Focus on building a relationship with your leads rather than making the first sale, they are willing to work with someone they know and trust. Perception is everything and a powerful and unique relationship is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Never give away discounts, unless you have an upfront agreement with the customer about what you will get in return. Never leave a meeting or a conversation without a solid next step. If the next step is to send a proposal, let them know you will put a proposal together, but you need to schedule a time during which you can explain it. Many sales engineers fail to effectively follow up after sending a proposal. They don’t even know if the prospect read their proposal.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business; a good after-sales service gains the trust of your clients, so they will most likely buy from you again.
How to Get Customers Comfortable with your Sales Approach?
Sales process can be different for every type of customer, or for every type of sale that you’re doing. As a sales professional you must use a different sales process, tested by the sales team expertise, not by your sales VP or by the CEO. You must define what process is better, based on the actual purchase process of the customer you’re selling, so matching the sales cycle to the purchase process.
Consultative selling is actually hard, you must be a big believer in what you are selling, otherwise you wouldn’t be selling it. We often focus on our biggest competitor, or the one we think is close to us in terms of capability and skill set; however, really what we should be focused on more than anything, it’s getting customers comfortable buying. You have to sell your product or solution, and also sell the idea of why they need to make a change? in order to move forward to your solution offered.
You can use a lot of discovery questions to uncover the challenges they have in their business or the outcomes they can’t drive. Often, customers try to avoid the conversation with an answer like “Send me an email with more information”. If someone asks for an email, you should get them to specify what it is they want to see, and get them talking even more about what they are looking for. A good answer could be: “I’ll be happy to send you an email. I have a few things I could send over, and I want to make sure what I send is relevant to you”.
People have access to tons of information now and they often do a lot of research before they invite you in. So, as a consultative salesperson, you need to kind of force them to think in their pain, not minimize it. Highlight all the opportunities that they are missing and related costs. Customer’s top managers have to know that there is a problem they can’t handle anymore; that pain is big enough that they need to do something, and you have the right solution to do it.
High-Performing Sales Engineers Sell Results, Not Just Solutions
Sales engineers have become adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them “solutions”, generally combinations of products and services. This works in case customers didn’t know how to solve their own problems. But what happens in case customers have a good understanding of what their problems are. Some companies can readily define solutions for themselves. Consultative sales approach is not enough in these cases, to become a high-performing sales professional it’s needed to improve networking skills and sell in innovative ways. You have to sell results, not just products or solutions.
Most sales engineers could think that an invitation to bid for a requirement whose engineering was developed by another company is probably destined to be awarded to a selected vendor, and it is not worth it. Nevertheless, great sales engineers use the occasion to reframe the discussion and turn a customer with clearly defined requirements into one with emerging needs. Even when they are invited in late, high-performing sales engineers connect with the decision maker, and try to rewind the purchasing decision to a much earlier stage.
Sell yourself; since most people you are selling to likely don’t possess a strong understanding of how your product works from a technical standpoint, your sales strategy needs to get them to trust you. Great sales engineers look for people inside the customer’s organization to help them. Look for people that are accessible and willing to meet, people that provide valuable information, are good at influencing others colleagues, are predisposed to support your solution, and will help network and connect with other stakeholders.
Some customers are strongly oriented toward the status quo. They have little interest in speaking with outside vendors or looking for better solutions. They don’t want to be asked. How to handle this kind of people? The first step is to gauge a customer’s reaction to a provocative insight, listen carefully to how the customer discusses the insight while the conversation progresses. Let him know that he is an expert in the field, and your job is not to obstruct him, but to help him meet his goals. Captured your prospect’s attention with what they will be able to achieve by using your solution. Don’t forget to follow up until you get a definitive answer.
Account Management is About Building Relationships with People
Building relationships is at the core of the key account manager job, it is important to consider very carefully how many of this kind of relationship can be sustained, and which customers will be targeted. All of the selected customers in the portfolio are key accounts, defined by the supplier’s categorization criteria, but they should be recognized as being different in nature and hence different in their treatment.
Here are some self-diagnostic questions that can help you to measure your knowledge about your customer:
- Do you have an up-to-date copy of your customer’s organization chart?
- Do you understand the relevance and importance of each person or their position?
- Do you know how each customer feels and think about your company?
- Have you looked at the overall picture and identified relationship gaps that need to be addressed?
- Are your stronger relationships with people who are really decision makers?
- Do you have any poor or weak relationships with people who are important?
- Are your relationships balanced across relevant areas of the company, or are there gaps in certain functions?
- Do you cover all levels in the customer? Or are you over-concentrated in one level?
- Are you missing to get a relationship with certain levels like the C-Level, or the user level?
- Do you understand your customer’s buying strategies as well as their business strategies?
Before you start to develop a relationship, you should first decide what stage of relationship you want to reach and believe it is achievable with the customer. That choice will govern how you approach the relationship, and how much effort invests in it. The relationship level targeted should be included in your strategic account plan and formally approved.
How to Present Your Technical Product to Technical People?
To connect with your listeners, you need to understand why your topic is relevant to them. If you want to break through, your message needs to convey. Why is it important to the audience? Why should they care? Why does your topic matter to them? It’s vital to understand what motivates your listeners.
Always give a practice talk before you present in front of an audience. A good way to determine what your presentation should say, it’s to explain your ideas verbally to someone who does not already understand your product. They will develop opinions about your presentation of the product. Ideally, the opinions will result in useful feedback. The value of feedback is powerful, it can help refine good ideas, kill bad ones, and postpone premature ideas that are not yet ripe.
Technical people prefer to share their thoughts with a practical process rather than an essay, but nontechnical people would probably try to explain first with words, either oral or written. In the digital era, information comes to us in many forms. Engineering data is not always kept in folders. In fact, data is managed across many mediums. Try with a flow diagram, videos, product demonstration, virtual catalog, visit to an onsite installation, or maybe a 3D experience.
Present your product in a way relatable to ‘the customer’s everyday’. It’s your job as a presenter to make your talk enjoyable and to help gets across what you want to say in a clear and easy-to-follow way.
When an audience member asks a question, it is a good idea to repeat the question, asking the questioner whether you have understood it, before answering the question. You give yourself a few moments to think about your answer. When thinking under pressure, it can be far too easy to jump to wrong answers.
Remember: Don’t give a talk while seated. Standing gives you more energy, the talk is more dynamic, and it is easier to maintain eye contact. Don’t face the screen too much. Don’t put your back to the audience. Don’t stand in front of the screen. Don´t look down at your computer all the time.
How to Improve the Success of your Technical-Sales Performance?
Commit to the long-term vision of what do you want to achieve, and never give up. Use that vision of the future to inspire you along the way, when work gets you down. The forces that help us be productive, and execute successful sales strategies are the source of our ideas: It’s our creativity. As you share your strategies with coworkers, you will start to see whether people engage (or not) with your strategies and support them.
A successful sales process doesn’t waste time talking about your features, but rather what your offering can do for your potential customer. Focus on habits, not goals. Create repeatable habits in your sales process, which you know will get you where you want and that you can do every single day without fail.
If you want to improve the success of your sales activities, it’s time to make motivation a priority. To achieve sales goals, salesperson’s motivation must be high. Six common factors that motivate salespeople are: Money, Opportunity, Teamwork, Independence, Visibility, and Excellence.
You can’t turn a NO to a YES, without a MAYBE in between. The path to a sale is never as simple as going from A to B. Create a list of common concerns that cause your prospects to answer with a ‘maybe’ and clearly explain why those concerns are unfounded.
No matter how hard you prepare, how well you pitch, or how much work you put in, sometimes it’s just not your time to win a purchase order. Don’t focus on the negatives. Each failure contains the seeds of your next success. The only real failure is in not acting, because we’ve neither achieved a result nor have we grown in any way.
The next time you get a reject, analyzing with your coworkers what you did wrong to lose the sale, but also what you could have done differently to win the sale. Aside from the collaborations and useful feedback that can arise, you are also likely to become more productive, also others will see your activity and help you make connections you would otherwise miss.
Maximize your Demo Skills to Achieve more B2B Sales
Technical sales reps must perfectly understand the product they are selling; they should be able to explain in detail how each product works, what business value it offers, and the results that the customer will achieve. Deep product knowledge is one of the few things that separates the top 1% of technical sales reps from the rest. For many B2B industrial products, the demo is critical to starting a sales process. The ability to perform effective technical demonstrations is an important skill. Technical sales reps need to not only understand the product or software, but must be able to show off its capabilities to a prospect effectively through a demo.
Some technicians suggest that delivering a great demo is an art, but it’s really a matter of practice. To give good demonstrations you need to be confident and feel comfortable speaking in front of a group. Practice what you are going to say and do several times to avoid problems. Be sure to speak in a clear and concise manner in a tone of voice with varying pitch as you describe step by step the product that you are demonstrating, so that your audience will not only be able to understand you but will also stay interested.
There is a misperception that the objective of the demo is to inform the customer about the capabilities of your product. It is Wrong! You need to communicate in a product-solution approach. Leave your prospect with the belief that your solution resolves their needs, it is better than your competition, and provides desirable business value to motivate them to become a customer. Technical salespeople must plan a proper demo structure, and master the fundamental principles of presentation skills that are necessary to develop long partnerships with industrial customers.
Great technical sales reps practice the art of proactive “Objection Prevention” and not merely “Objection Handling” and can thus reduce some of the most basic objections by way of how they approach a sale. Manage questions and objections, use this opportunity to direct the conversation, ask questions to validate that you communicated clearly and effectively.
Take Part in Trade Shows for Learn About your Prospects
Each person who approaches your booth is a potential customer; however, the welcome questions will allow you to determine if it is worth continuing the conversation to a deeper level. Once you have a possible lead, you need to qualify it to determine its viability. To qualify a lead, you need to understand if there is a fit for your product and also if there is a way for the prospect to get the funds to purchase it. Using the information from the intro, the sales engineer can focus on specifics and not waste time trying to cover everything. Review the items they want to see, make sure you are in sync with the prospect. This is also a good time to provide a brief of other things they may want to see.
Trade shows are a perfect time to learn about your prospects. Present Yourself Appropriately, you only have one shot at delivering a great first impression. Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. It may help you to prepare some questions for the booth visitors. Maximize the conversation with prospects. Based on their answers, give examples of how your solution has helped others like them. If someone is not a decision maker, ask if they know someone who would be a fit in their company. Make sure you have a solid next step, even if it is only sending a Brochure in PDF file, a commitment from them to take a phone call on a specified date for a meeting.
Be courteous and attentive. You can build your reputation and impress visitors when you speak effectively. Ensure that you can communicate your messages clearly and succinctly. Try to help. If you know of a company or product that can help your visitors, suggest it. Sharing prospect information to the other company’s sales staff and asking for referrals is also a good way to get more leads.
Reverse Brainstorming for Consultative Technical Selling
Reverse Brainstorming is a technique that builds on our natural ability to see problems rather than solutions more easily. People tend to overthink problems first. Instead of asking a group to brainstorm ideas that would work, the group brainstorms all the ways that they could fail. Instead of trying to solve a problem, reverse brainstorming generates ideas to make the problem worse. Then, you can reverse those ideas to discover fresh ideas for solving your original problem from a different perspective.
To use this technique, you start with “reverse” questions like:
- Instead of asking: How do I solve or prevent this problem? Ask: How could I possibly cause the problem?
- Instead of asking: How can I get more loyal customers? Ask: How can I lose my current loyal customers?
- Instead of asking: What do I have to do, if I want to achieve these sales results? Ask: What do I have to do if I want to fail to achieve my sales goals?
Reverse Brainstorming works in five simple steps:
- Step 1: Clearly identify the problem or challenge.
- Step 2: Reverse the problem or challenge by asking: “How could I possibly achieve the opposite effect?”
- Step 3: Brainstorm to generate answers for the reserve challenge.
- Step 4: Now reverse these answers into solution ideas for the original problem or challenge.
- Step 5: Evaluate these ideas and identify the best solutions.
Here is an example of reverse brainstorming:
- Step 1: DEFINE THE CHALLENGE: Increase by 20%, our machine repair service sales.
- Step 2: REVERSE THE CHALLENGE: How can we reduce sales of our services by 20%?
- Step 3: COLLECT IDEAS: We could take 1 week to send proposals to our customers. We could stop visiting prospects this year. We could forget to follow up old proposals. We could raise our rates.
- Step 4: REVERSE THE IDEAS: We cannot take more than 2 days to send proposals to our customers. We must increase our meetings with prospects this year. We need to follow up all our old proposals. We could offer discounts to selected customers for advanced contracts.
- Step 5: EVALUATE SOLUTIONS: All solutions are now evaluated, and the feasibility of those ideas is assessed.
Why Sales Engineers Must have a Personal Value Proposition?
A company’s value proposition communicates the number one reason why a product or service is best suited for a customer or for a market segment. A value proposition is about finding the unique value a company offers to its customers compared to other competitors in the same marketplace.
Most people know about the importance of having a value proposition, but very few companies have an effective value proposition. Alike, sales engineers often don’t establish their own value proposition that represents them and align them with their company’s value proposition. A sales engineer’s value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit he provides for his customers, based on his engineering background.
Identifying your unique value proposition compared to your competitors is the main pillar that establishes your success in sales because potential customers can quickly understand what your company has to offer, and what technical knowledge can you provide from your consultative and engineering perspective.
If you want to create a strong differential between you and your competitors, make sure you take into account the point of view of your target audience and explain your value as a sales engineer, in a way that will appeal to them. It’s essential that your value proposition includes a unique selling point or feature that sets your company apart.
To create an integrated, unique, cohesive value proposition, start by brainstorming: Which needs are you going to meet? What are your technical strengths? What are your commitments and motivations? What knowledge can you share? What can you contribute to your client’s personal life? How can you help improve the employment status of your customers?
Highlight what makes you different from other sales engineers. While your value proposition should help differentiate you from the rest of the industry, keep in mind it’s not a slogan, tagline, or job search. Your value proposition needs to be in the language of the customer. To do that, you need to know the words your customers use to describe your offering.
Strategies to sell Products or Services in Industrial Markets
When it comes to promoting a new product or service in industrial markets, it can seem like there are endless options. B2B businesses require planning and involve a lot more people when making a purchase. The first stage of the sales process is to figure out who your target customers are and create a “buyers’ profile” that you can start focusing on. Many industrial products by their nature are developed for a specific market. Focusing on only a few prospects is the best strategy and leads to the greatest chance of success.
The more you know about your potential customer, the better you will be off you will be to “speak” to their needs or pains. Qualify your prospects is an important step in the sales process because it helps you rank potential customers on the likeliness of purchasing and how your efforts and time can be split amongst them.
Meeting with customers in person is the best possible option when wanting to sell your B2B products or services. Attending events makes a great deal. Events with a targeted group of attendees can be a good source of leads, a way to meet new prospects, and a way to secure meetings with existing leads.
Communicate the clearest benefit that customers receive by giving to you their business opportunity. A unique value proposition can make all the difference in your sales conversions. A value proposition is a summary of how your product or service benefits your customers and summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service.
Prospects often second-guess themselves over making the right choices or are afraid to commit and potentially miss out on a better vendor, so most buyers pay a lot of attention to peer recommendations. Salespeople should focus on selling in a consultative way, helping prospects along their path to purchase.
Focus on Prospection with your Ideal Customer Profile
An ideal customer profile is a standardization description of the type of prospect that would realize the most value from your company. Understanding your customers is an essential step to selling a product or service that people are willing to pay for.
Prospecting is one of the keys and most challenging stages of the sales process. Without a sales pipeline full of good quality leads, no other new sales are going to happen. The more prospects or opportunities you generate, the more chances to close a sale you have.
In larger organizations, decision-making is spread across many departments and managers. Typically, the sales cycle is longer because multiple stakeholders in the organization influence the buying decision. You might have a good idea of the roles and titles of the stakeholders most likely to buy your products or services.
Take some time to find out what your ideal customer profile looks like and do some research. Who are your top five customers? Who are your worst five customers? Who are your most profitable customers? Which ones are the least profitable? Create profiles for each of these groups. In most cases, your “best” customers are your most profitable customers. Take the time needed to define your ideal customer profile, the effort you put in this process can pay off in the long run when you are working with customers that are a great fit for what you have to offer!
Look for companies as similar as possible to your ideal customer profile, then start cold calling them. What you need is not a scripted sales pitch, but a dialogue during which you can learn about their pain points, needs, and wishes, and most importantly maintain an interesting conversation. Your task is to impress them with how much you know about their company or industry.
Technical Sales Training for Make More Sales and More Money
How to Become a Sales Engineer? Some companies sell complex solutions that require sales reps to have in-depth technical expertise. Also known as sales engineers, these technical sales reps are extremely knowledgeable on the details of a product or solution, but they’re not always the best at converting prospects into customers. Many technical sales reps lack is the consultative selling skills needed to identify what a buyer wants and needs.
Across the board, most technical salespeople are good at answering technical questions accurately. This is necessary for basic success and credibility but is in no way sufficient, even as it relates to the technical expert role. Many sales jobs like: Business Development Manager, Industrial Sales Representative, Key Account Manager, Technical Account Manager, Technical Sales Engineer, or Industrial Marketing Manager, require knowledge and competences for: sales meetings, sales pitch, sales presentation, sales process, sales strategies, sales techniques, and others.
Sales engineers can’t be expected to just learn from and copy standard salespeople because they’re different. They need a new model and a new perspective on sales. Technical Sales Training Programs help salespeople learn and improve their selling techniques, skills, and work processes. You can search for B2B Sales Training, Consultative Sales Courses, Industrial Sales Training, Sales Engineer Course, Sales Engineer Training, Sales Engineering Course, Technical Sales Course, Technical Sales Training, Training for Account Managers, Training for Sales Engineers, Mastering Technical Sales, etc. Great sales training programs will help you sell at your full potential, improve sales skills, and increase sales. Participants will learn the value-creating behaviors most aligned with increased profit.
With the right training and coaching, sales engineers, and technical sales reps can develop the skills needed to be seen as strategic advisors. Technical sales training must serve to grow technical salespeople in business and commercial awareness (and a sharp awareness of how our own products/solutions fit), soft skills, empathy, how people make decisions, emotions and psychology. Regardless of experience, most sales engineers can benefit from some simple learnable shifts to their mindsets, business acumen, entrepreneur skills, and behaviors that translate into measurable sales results.