June 30, 2018 Comments Off on Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #6: Stagnation
Ageism is absolutely real in technology companies. However, in my experience it’s much more predominant for developers. Companies want to squeeze as much code as possible from people for as little money as possible. Younger people are more likely to tolerate this, while older workers are far less idealistic and can see right through the scam.
On the sales side of the organization, ageism is less prevalent because all that matters is hitting quota. In fact, older professionals bring some unbeatable skills and experience to the table, and a 60 year old sales rep that consistently exceeds her revenue quota will continue to hold her job; the 30 year old who only closes on excuses will be shown the door.
It’s important to note that for older sales engineers, the ability to land and keep a job only holds true if the individual takes the initiative to remain current with the latest relevant technologies. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve personally encountered far too many sales engineers whose technical education stalled sometime during the Clinton administration. Unsurprisingly, prospects and customers pick up on stagnation, which diminishes the likelihood that the sales engineer will be able to make a compelling case about the technical merits of their solution. Managers notice it too.
There’s no excuse for this: there are ample resources online – both software and tutorials – for any kind of new technology that you can imagine. We’re not talking about a major investment here – a few hours should be all that’s necessary to at least speak intelligently about a new trend, particularly one that is a major factor in the product or service that’s being sold. As an added bonus, this will help not only when talking with potential customers, but will be invaluable when changing jobs.
May 31, 2018 Comments Off on AWS Neptune graph database training now available
Currently in preview mode, Amazon’s new Neptune graph database offering will be a game changer. By democratizing access to graph data, it will spawn innumerable new initiatives.
I’m proud to announce the availability of the WiseClouds’ Amazon Web Services Neptune Graph Database Design & Development course. Available for private delivery (both via live Webinar as well as onsite), these hands-on classes are highly customizable based on client requirements. To learn more and download the syllabus, visit here.
April 30, 2018 Comments Off on Advanced SoapUI Pro training at SmartBear Connect!
SmartBear has just announced its second annual user conference, to be held in Boston on October 29 & 30. Training will be a big part of this year’s agenda. If you’re interested in strengthening your SoapUI Pro skills, you’ll want to stay tuned to this blog for more details about a whole day of hands-on advanced training that we’re planning to deliver.
March 31, 2018 Comments Off on Sales engineer career path #2: Marketing
While many Sales Engineers (SEs) gladly elect to spend their entire careers in this interesting, challenging, and potentially lucrative job, others choose to explore different roles. I’m writing a whole series about prospective post-SE career paths, and it’s now time to examine what a move to marketing might look like.
Marketing in a technology company offers numerous potential responsibilities, and a sales engineering background provides a great foundation to be an effective marketer. Of course, there are always positives and negatives to any career change, so here are a few of the most notable examples:
- Executive potential. It can be difficult to directly advance from sales engineering into an executive (VP or higher) position. In contrast, in marketing there’s a clear career path from an individual contributor to an executive.
- Defining product strategy. Marketers often have more input into the company’s strategic vision and positioning than individual sales engineers.
- Travel. Marketers generally spend less time on the road than sales teams, and when they are asked to travel, it’s often to trade shows held in places where people want to go.
- Compensation. While this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule everywhere, SEs tend to have higher overall incomes than their marketing counterparts. Why? Although the marketing base salary may be higher, SEs have the potential upside of commission.
- Competitive knowledge. Sales teams in the field will look to their marketing counterparts to have an up-to-date and accurate understanding of what competitors may be doing. This requires never-ending research since the market landscape is always shifting.
- Customer interaction. Well-run technology companies encourage their marketers to work with customers. However, a sales engineer will always have more detailed exchanges with clients – it’s the nature of the job.
If you’re interested in being notified of future editions, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter: @RD_Schneider. You can read other sales engineering-related posts here.
February 28, 2018 Comments Off on DB-Engines.com: A very helpful database technology comparison site
I’ve been working with all sorts of databases for a really long time, and I’ve never seen the industry as dynamic and diverse as it is right now. Unfortunately, if you’re evaluating databases – relational, NoSQL, or otherwise – it can be very difficult to obtain a high-level, vendor-neutral view of your options.
Lately I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on the DB-Engines website in support of some research initiatives that I’m carrying out. DB-Engines provides a wealth of really useful information, including:
- Database rankings
- A compendium of database solutions
- A glossary of key terms
- Side-by-side product comparisons
If you’re interested in learning more about which database technology is best for you and your organization, it’s definitely worth dropping by.
January 30, 2018 Comments Off on Swagger Inspector from SmartBear: a very nice free online tool for testing APIs
SmartBear, makers of ReadyAPI (the most comprehensive and widely adopted Web service and REST API testing platform) have just released an excellent, free tool for carrying out quick and easy interactions with your API.
Swagger Inspector does a superb job of working with APIs (all HTTP methods are available), and it supports parameters, authentication & headers, and message payloads. It even generates OpenAPI documentation. If you’re designing, developing, testing, or simply using an API, you’ll want to check out this exciting new offering.
Overcoming a Technical Sales Ambush Best Practice #3: Request a Prospect Business Executive to Observe
December 31, 2017 § 1 Comment
The next installment of this ongoing series about thwarting technical sales ambushes highlights the value of having a line-of-business executive from the prospect participate.
Recall that a technical sales ambush is an ad-hoc, often last-minute meeting meant to derail a highly complex technology sale. Of course, I’m not referring to legitimate questions that may arise at any point in the cycle, but am instead warning about bad-faith efforts to stop a sale that is progressing towards a successful conclusion. I’ve seen my share of technical sales ambushes, and very often they’re initiated by relatively low-level staff that are threatened by the progress that you represent.
In the absence of more senior staff – particularly business executives, the technical staffers will go back to their management and report that the vendor (that’s you!) can’t or won’t meet one or more important requirements. Unsurprisingly, this bulletin delays – or torpedoes – the sales cycle.
A good way to head off these unfortunate situations is to request – and even insist – on a representative from the business side of the prospect’s organization. They’re much more capable of seeing the big picture, and often are the ones who will benefit from the product or service that you’re selling. To keep things simpler – and give you the appearance of innocence – your sales partner should make this request. The executive is much more likely to keep things moving, and avoid the dreaded technical “fishing expedition” that can demolish even the most well-planned sales opportunity. As an added perk, the low-level technical staffer is likely to be on much better behavior, since they’ll wonder (and rightly so) if their business colleague will see through their plan!