Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #7: Unreliability

February 28, 2019 Comments Off on Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #7: Unreliability

At last, we’ve arrived at the final entry on the list of seven Sales Engineer (SE) behaviors that will cripple your career: unreliability. By definition, lots of things can go wrong in sales opportunities. As an SE, one of your key responsibilities is to do your part to bring a degree of predictability to what is frequently a chaotic process. The best way you can go about this is to simply show up and do your job to the best of your abilities. But in the years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen quite a few undesirable traits that I’ll lump into the ‘unreliability’ category. Here are just a few examples:

  • Arriving late – or not at all – for sales calls & meetings.  Want to raise your sales rep’s blood pressure? Here’s an easy way – just show up later than anticipated for a sales call. Even better: don’t even bother coming, and certainly don’t call or email to alert them and explain why.
  • Being unprepared for demos. When carrying out a technical demonstration, ‘winging it’ is a sure recipe for failure. After all, there are so many moving parts and potential points of failure, such as buggy technology, version mismatches, ignoring customer requirements, and so on.
  • Not following through with technical responses. It’s a rare technical meeting that doesn’t end up with some research for the SE to go carry out. But in many cases, the SE gets caught up in other activities and never gets around to answering the questions. This is understandable, given that SEs confront lots of other responsibilities. Additionally, “out of sight, out of mind” can be a factor here. Don’t forget, however, that the customer doesn’t share your workload, and may be eagerly awaiting your answers.

If any of these deficiencies hit too close to home, it’s easy to correct them: just focus on improving your follow-through, and people will soon forget your old, unreliable ways. You’ll also probably find work more enjoyable too, since you’ve eliminated a major stressor.

 

Celebrate Data Privacy Day by protecting yourself from email tracking

January 28, 2019 Comments Off on Celebrate Data Privacy Day by protecting yourself from email tracking

This year, instead of firing up the barbecue, putting on elaborate costumes, or singing carols, why not commemorate Data Privacy Day (January 29) by making it harder for external parties to track your email. If you’re interested, check out a very informative article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how to do that.

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Sales engineer career path #3: Product development

December 31, 2018 Comments Off on Sales engineer career path #3: Product development

It’s time for the next installment in the ongoing series about career paths for sales engineers seeking new opportunities. This time around, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of moving into product development. Before I begin, it’s important to understand that this is one of the more challenging transitions, largely because the skills necessary to be an effective SE can be so different than those that characterize the most productive developers. With that said, here goes:

Pros

  • Sense of ownership. SEs flit between opportunities; product developers stay involved throughout the lifecycle of the technology they’re building.
  • Better base salary. In general (but not always), product developers earn a higher base salary than SEs.
  • Less travel. If you’re tired of those 6 am flights to remote client sites, product development might be a welcome relief.
  • Less variability. There are fewer subjective factors – such as client whims and sales representatives who can’t sell – that can block your achievements when you move into product development.

Cons

  • Technically demanding. If your skills aren’t up to par, you’ll really need to put in the educational effort to meet the requirements of your new job.
  • Less upside. While product developers may have a larger base salary, thanks to commission SEs can really hit the jackpot if they have a particularly good year.
  • Risk of outsourcing. Don’t kid yourself: if your employer can save one dollar a year on your salary by moving your job offshore, they’ll do it. In contrast, it’s nearly impossible to outsource SEs.
  • Less interaction with customers. Plenty of SEs really savor the opportunity to meet with prospects and clients; product developers rarely get the chance. Some SEs find being ‘chained to a desk’ to be too confining.

Making the transition

It’s a big leap to move from the sales organization to the product development team. Here are some steps that can make this migration less painful:

  1. Find one or more champions in product development
  2. Discretely meet with them to learn more about what it takes to succeed in their group
  3. When ready, approach your manager and express your desire to make the change
  4. Once you get the go-ahead, work with HR to find a position in product development
  5. Work on a mutually agreeable timeline to switch roles

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.

Five great starting points to transition into a Sales Engineering career

November 30, 2018 Comments Off on Five great starting points to transition into a Sales Engineering career

For years, I’ve been describing the numerous advantages – and minimal drawbacks – of a career as a sales engineer:

  • I’ve written about traits that one should possess to increase the likelihood of success
  • I’ve discussed follow-on career paths
  • I’ve even told you about bad behaviors that will curtail (or abruptly end) your sales engineering career

What I haven’t yet talked about are some of the jobs that lend themselves to transitioning into a sales engineering role, so that’s what this series is going to be all about. Here, in no particular order, are five of the most logical starting points to becoming a sales engineer:

  1. Technical support. You’re charged with answering customer questions and/or resolving product issues
  2. Marketing. You design, own, and/or promote the product or service
  3. Customer success. You ensure that clients have a positive experience when deploying the product or service
  4. Product implementation. You’re responsible for moving the product or service from concept into production for the customer
  5. Development. You build and/or maintain the product or service

I’ll be writing about each of these roles in more detail. 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.

Informative article about Microservices vs. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

October 31, 2018 Comments Off on Informative article about Microservices vs. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

I really enjoyed participating in the recent 2018 SmartBear Connect conference. After some of my talks on designing good API tests, several people came up to me to get my opinion on the differences and similarities between Microservices (a very hot topic in the past couple of years) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) (which dominated software architectural discussions about 10 years ago).

Rather than rehash what I explained at the event, I thought it would be better to point my readers at a very concise, helpful article published by Ima Miri on Dzone. Check it out if you’d like to get a better handle on how these two approaches are related.

microservices

Advanced SoapUI Training Agenda at SmartBear Connect 2018

September 30, 2018 Comments Off on Advanced SoapUI Training Agenda at SmartBear Connect 2018

I’m looking forward to presenting a series of eight advanced SoapUI API testing talks at the upcoming SmartBear Connect conference in Boston on October 29. Here’s what I’ll be covering:

  1. Determining if your API is behaving properly requires examining the contents of the responses it returns. This session will showcase some of SoapUI’s most powerful message evaluation assertions.
  2. Automating your API tests means avoiding hard-coded, rigid message response evaluations. This session will teach you how you can apply flexibility when examining what your APIs return.
  3. Using XPath expressions in your SoapUI assertions offer tremendous productivity enhancements versus writing Groovy code. This session will show you how to create powerful and flexible XPath.
  4. Many applications incorporate multiple APIs. In this session, you’ll learn how to use the SoapUI data sources that enable feeding the output of one API to subsequent API calls.
  5. It’s important to use diverse data when testing your APIs. SoapUI includes robust data generation features, which we’ll explore in this session.
  6. Testing APIs means coping with ever-changing endpoints, security credentials, database connections, and so on. As you’ll learn in this session, SoapUI’s environments greatly simplify this vital responsibility.
  7. API testing responsibilities are often shared among multiple people. In this session, you’ll see how easy it is to utilize composite projects and Git to boost your teamwork.
  8. SmartBear continues to significantly improve SoapUI’s integration with the entire software development pipeline. This session will highlight just one example by demonstrating how to link your API testing efforts with Jenkins’ continuous integration/continuous delivery features.

 

 

Integrating RDBMS and multi-model databases Webinar

August 31, 2018 Comments Off on Integrating RDBMS and multi-model databases Webinar

Multi-model databases offer tremendous advantages for deriving meaning from your enterprise’s complete data collection. However, to realize these benefits it’s necessary to coordinate your RDBMS with your multi-model database. This is often a time-consuming, tedious task, but there are some exciting new technologies out there that make it much easier.

In conjunction with SAP/OrientDB, Colin Leister and I will be presenting a Webinar on October 11 at 9 am PDT that will show you how to:

  • Carry out a one-time migration from a legacy RDBMS into the multi-model graph database
  • Keep all of your existing systems synchronized on an ongoing basis with your multi-model database
  • Conduct sophisticated analysis to extract actionable intelligence from your graph, document, and relational data

You can register here.

 

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