Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #1: Jealousy

January 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Sales engineering (SE) can be a rewarding, intellectually challenging, and lucrative career. I’ve written many blog articles about the characteristics that exemplify a successful SE, but this series of posts is all about the kinds of actions that can damage a career.

I’ll begin with jealousy: one of the seven deadly sins that can rear its head even in places like technology sales. Surprisingly, envy is often worst when the firm’s having a great year, and everyone’s making money.

Enterprise technology salespeople live a professional life that’s fraught with peril. They must cope with constant rejection and dashed hopes from prospects, while their own management shrinks territories yet raises quotas. Predictably, this results in high job turnover and continual insecurity, not to mention lots of lost sleep.

With all these downsides, who would take on this job? Someone who wants to make lots of money, that’s who: it’s not uncommon for a sales professional to make two, three, or even ten times their expected income if (and only if) they have a good year. Meanwhile, their SEs tend to bring home a relatively predictable income every year. In a bad year, they’ll make less, but not drastically so, and in a good year, they’ll make more – maybe 25% or so, which is great, but not stunning.

In my experience, jealousy arises when a salesperson is paired closely with a single SE, and the team far exceeds their quota. Naturally, these uneven financial outcomes can breed resentment and envy in the SE, particularly when they perceive that they’ve “done all the work” to win the deals. Some SEs internalize this bitterness, while others broadcast it to the world.

A single, loud, jealous SE is all that’s necessary to create a toxic environment. First, other SEs may start questioning the compensation system and making demands, while salespeople will start wondering if their own SEs will “turn on them” if they have a good year. Ultimately, all of this reflects badly on the instigator and can even result in their replacement.

Fortunately, thwarting income envy is quite achievable. For the SE, it’s vital to accept that there’s a fundamental difference between themselves and salespeople. Quota-carrying salespeople get fired much more easily when they miss a number, while SEs tend to be kept on even when inevitable revenue shortfalls occur.

SEs should also be mindful about never complaining out loud about the disparity in take-home pay. If things seem really out of whack, it’s reasonable to discretely engage management to discuss the problem, but nothing will change the reality that salespeople will always make more money in a good year.

Finally, a relatively small percentage of SEs are capable of making the difficult shift to becoming winning sales professionals. A progressive management team should offer a clearly defined career path and supporting procedures for those that want to undertake this ambitious transition.

Ready! API/SoapUI NG Pro on-demand training and certification now available

December 31, 2014 Comments Off

I’m happy to announce that the current SoapUI Pro on-demand training course has been updated to showcase the new capabilities present in Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro: the next generation of SmartBear’s award-winning API testing solutions.

You can learn more here.

Webinar on Data-driven API Testing Using Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro

November 13, 2014 Comments Off

Far too many software services and APIs are placed into production without comprehensive, data-driven testing. This oversight often results in unnecessary software flaws, service outages, sluggish performance, and frustrated users.

On Monday November 24 at 10:00 PST (18:00 GMT), I’ll be presenting a Webinar along with Jim Holmes from Falafel Software. We’ll cover the following essential topics during this 45-minute event.

  • The importance of using lots of realistic data to test your Web, REST, JMS, and other services
  • Feeding your service tests with data from diverse sources such as spreadsheets, flat files, and relational databases
  • Employing dynamic, data-driven assertions to validate service responses in real-time
  • Querying back-end databases to confirm service and API responses

We’ll illustrate these concepts with practical examples using SmartBear’s Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro technology. You can sign up here, and even if you can’t make the live event we’ll send you a recording afterwards.

Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro: the next step in delivering mission-critical APIs

October 31, 2014 Comments Off

I’ve been designing, developing, and testing APIs for many years. APIs used to be of interest primarily to narrow constituencies such as architects and developers. That’s no longer the case: today, APIs constitute the foundation of Service Oriented Architecture, and thus most modern applications.

SoapUI has long been considered the premier service-testing tool. Over the past 7 years, WiseClouds has participated in the incredible growth of the SoapUI ecosystem by offering training, certification, and consulting services.

From its inception, SoapUI has been an elegant, powerful technology, but as the years have gone by, it’s matured into something much more than a testing tool. In fact, it’s now a platform containing all the technology necessary to place an API into service.

I’m very excited about the direction the product is taking, with the release of Ready! API containing SoapUI NG  (next generation) and related technologies for service virtualization, load testing, and security. We’re expanding our training classes and certification to cover all of this new functionality.

I’ll be blogging about some of the new capabilities in Ready! API, but for now you can learn more here.

The 7 sales engineer behaviors that will wreck your career

September 29, 2014 Comments Off

Over my career, I’ve worked alongside many sales engineers, as well as built and led sales engineering teams. The vast majority were highly talented, conscientious individuals, but there were a number of people that just didn’t have what it took to succeed.

Some struggled with innate personality characteristics that blocked their success, but others just brought the wrong attitude to the job. I’ve already written about the traits that I consider to be most effective, and I’m grateful for the very nice feedback I’ve received from many of the thousands of readers of these posts.

I always try to keep this blog positive, but it’s worthwhile to look at the other side of the coin, especially for people that are considering how to become a sales engineer or advance their current careers. I’ll be writing about each of these behaviors in future installments.

  1. Jealousy
  2. Skepticism
  3. Egotism
  4. Negativity
  5. Tactlessness
  6. Stagnation
  7. Unreliability

Poshly: a great practical example of Big Data in action

August 31, 2014 Comments Off

With any new innovation, hype can often outstrip results, especially in the early days. A few years back, we saw this with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA): it had lots of promise, but there were relatively few examples of successful implementations. Nowadays, SOAP and REST services – supported by the principles of service orientation – are the primary techniques that distributed applications use to communicate. This has led to all sorts of innovative solutions, especially when pairing these services with mobile devices.

The same things are happening in Big Data: you hear about it all the time, but it’s natural to wonder how it’s being used to add value. Unsurprisingly, new technologies are often viewed as solutions in search of problems, and this is particularly relevant for Big Data since it’s such an all-encompassing discipline.

For Big Data, it’s always useful to look for practical applications: first define the problem, and then use Big Data to supply the solution. Poshly is a textbook example of what I mean: Big Data technologies and practices are being applied to meaningful problems, thereby helping customers answer questions that were very difficult to resolve prior to these advances.

Disclosure: I’m an investor in Poshly through my participation in Astia Angels, an organization I encourage you to check out. Poshly recently closed a $1.5MM investment, which you can read about here at TechCrunch.

Poshly’s website offers a variety of beauty product giveaways which consumers can compete to win by answering personal questions about their beauty routines, habits, interests, and more. The data these questions generate is highly personalized, but only shared with Poshly’s brand customers after being anonymized – meaning users’ personally identifiable information is removed, like their name, email or address. This “hyper-personal data,” as CEO Doreen Bloch calls it, helps brands better understand their customer base in general, or influence larger decisions, like what retail channel to roll out to next, for example.

I’m increasingly learning about dynamic startups like Poshly that are finding realistic uses for Big Data. As time goes by, I suspect that eventually we’ll stop using the term Big Data, and depict it instead as just plain “data” as we portray the exciting ways that information is being put to work.

Last day to tell the FCC you support an open Internet

July 15, 2014 Comments Off

Eight hours to go. That’s how long we have to get pro-Net Neutrality comments submitted to the FCC in front of their first comment period deadline — and save the Internet.

Let’s make our power clear, by submitting more comments than the FCC’s ever seen before.

Click here to visit our brand new website and send the FCC a formal comment demanding support for Net Neutrality. It’ll only take a minute:

https://www.battleforthenet.com

We’re in a battle to for the Internet as we know it. Net Neutrality guarantees all websites — start-ups, blogs, independent media — an even playing field. It’s essentially the First Amendment of the Internet.

But the cable companies want to gut Net Neutrality to increase their profits: Without Net Neutrality, those corporations can kill websites by relegating them to slow lanes if they don’t pay fees — or if they just don’t like the content they contain.

Many of you have already signed petitions to the FCC or President Obama — and so have literally millions of others. That’s incredible — and it’s had a huge impact. But now we all need to go one step further and submit formal comments into the FCC’s Net Neutrality proceeding.

It’s really quick and easy, and carries way more weight than the usual petition signature does. You’ll be a formal part of the process.

Click here to submit a formal comment to the FCC before the end of this comment period — it’s over TOMORROW:

https://www.battleforthenet.com

Originally the FCC was poised to undermine Net Neutrality all together. Because we all pushed back, now they’re considering adopting rules that would save it.

But they’ll only do so if we speak out again, even louder.

We can make a huge statement: We have a chance of submitting more comments than the FCC has ever received on an issue before.

The cable companies have millions of dollars and armies of lobbyists and public relations firms — and since they own so much of the communications infrastructure, it’s especially easy for them to push their propaganda.

But we have millions of people on our side — and our only chance of beating the cable companies is if we all take a stand, together.

Click here to visit our brand new website and send the FCC a formal comment demanding support for Net Neutrality. It’ll only take a minute:

https://www.battleforthenet.com

Thanks!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers