Your Company: Engineer or Sales Guy?Posted on August 17, 2012 by Greg No Comments
Like pilot fish swimming along with a big shark, these companies are effectively riding the coat tails of someone else’s feeding frenzy. That’s cool. It’s a good strategy. And it’s all part of survival in the technology jungle.
But while interesting to some, the technology (the steak) is not what sells. Rather, it’s the business problem it solves (the sizzle). Most people don’t give a hoot about the technology on the inside. They just want their stuff to work, feel good, look good… whatever.
The value proposition is the business problem it solves. Okay, okay, the technology is vital. But the successful marketing and sales of the thing will make or break the company.
Organizations, therefore, need to decide whether they are technology-focused, or sales-focused.
Who is at your helm? An engineer? A scientist? A back-slapping sales guy?
A few years ago a wise and successful company leader advised me that a company’s culture can be gauged by sizing up their executive management team. If the most influential and visible executive is more technology-focused than marketing and sales-focused, they’re in for an uphill battle.
It’s difficult to have the captain of the ship focused on technology while simultaneously encouraging the revenue-producing team to stay focused on sales. Conversely, it’s less of a challenge to have a marketing and sales-oriented chief who supports the company’s dedication to innovation aimed at solving business challenges.
So we should keep marketing and sales focused on generating revenue, not “geek speak.” A product’s features and benefits should be clearly mapped to solving real business problems. Sales and marketing ought to develop business-oriented relationships with their prospects and clients, not technology-oriented relationships.
Sometimes it’s geeks selling to geeks. Still, the messaging should remain trained on what problem it solves.
- For example, a company with a product that integrates with Salesforce.com should acknowledge its ability to work with Salesforce, but then spend most of its effort on how their product is uniquely positioned to help a company address a real business problem, regardless of Salesforce. At the end of the day the engineers have to tie their efforts to revenue, too.
A couple of more instances where engineering-focused companies get frustrated: