Getting to Know NAASE Mexican Market Ambassador Luis Armando Vasquez

(English version follows the Spanish section.)

1. Luis, eres Copywriter y estratega de ventas técnicas industriales como freelance, y también un Ingeniero de ventas a tiempo completo para la empresa Logistic Trade donde también coordinas el CRM. ¡Parece que eres un tipo ocupado! ¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de ambos roles?

Definitivamente es complicado equilibrar distintos roles en la vida, pero es necesario ese esfuerzo para un crecimiento personal y profesional, busco encontrar tiempo muchas veces de donde parece que no existe. Lo que más me gusta de ambos roles es que todo se enfoca a lo mismo: Ventas B2B. Desde niño fui formado como vendedor, y es algo que al paso del tiempo lo he combinado con mi formación académica como ingeniero industrial, para enfocarme en ventas de ingeniería. Me gusta hacer diferentes actividades y proyectos, pero el foco está puesto donde mismo: Ventas B2B.

2. Hace aproximadamente un año te convertiste en miembro del Consejo Asesor de NAASE (North American Association of Sales Engineers). ¿Por qué querías estar en la Junta y qué cosas te gustaría ver hacer a NAASE en el futuro?

Cuando descubrí NAASE me pareció un excelente proyecto, tener un lugar donde el gremio de ingenieros de ventas puedan reunirse. En México no hay una asociación de este género, por lo que me gustó mucho que el alcance de NAASE fuera todo el territorio de México, Estados Unidos y Canadá. Creo que hay mucho campo donde se puede concientizar y abrir el panorama para que muchos ingenieros vean en las ventas un área de verdadero desarrollo profesional, sin dejar de ejercer la ingeniería. Me invitaron a pertenecer al Consejo de Asesores, y vi una oportunidad para poder difundir esta profesión para México. Me gustaría ver a NAASE en el futuro con un peso en el sector industrial, como una asociación prestigiosa, con un grupo de miembros activos en congresos, actualización profesional, networking, así como con una certificación que sea reconocida en norteamérica para ingenieros de ventas que sean verdaderamente confiables y realmente quieran ayudar a sus posibles clientes.

3. En el comercio entre México y Estados Unidos, así como en el mundo de las ventas B2B, ¿qué tan importante es que los mexicanos nativos hablen bien el idioma inglés? o, ¿no es realmente tan importante para las empresas estadounidenses?

En el mundo globalizado en el que nos encontramos definitivamente es importante poder comunicarse en idioma inglés para un ingeniero dedicado a las ventas. En muchas ocasiones se debe tratar con clientes de lengua inglesa, o estudiar manuales de operación, así como explicar proyectos a contratistas intermediarios. Muchas de esas actividades son en idioma inglés. Es verdad que no es necesario ser 100% bilingüe, pero sí poder entender el idioma, entender una conversación, entender una lectura y poder de alguna forma poder explicar alguna idea, a través de voz y escritura. Un ingeniero de ventas que se quiera desarrollar en este mundo tendrá que tener nociones de inglés a nivel conversacional, sin embargo nadie espera que sea experto en el idioma pero sí en técnicas comerciales.

4. Veo que está a punto de obtener su Doctorado en Administración de Empresas. ¡Mucho éxito! ¿Qué logros esperas obtener con ese doctorado?

Como comenté anteriormente, las distintas facetas en las que estoy involucrado se enfocan en las ventas B2B. Actualmente investigo sobre cualidades que debe tener el vendedor industrial que le ayuden al cierre de ventas. Uno de los principales objetivos al terminar el doctorado es reforzar mi experiencia en campo con el conocimiento y análisis científico del comportamiento de vendedores industriales. Creo que el doctorado amplifica y acentúa mi voz ante la sociedad con más prestigio para hablar y opinar sobre temas de ventas B2B, con un fundamento científico.

5. Las ventas técnicas y la Ingeniería de Ventas es un viaje. ¿Crees que el proceso de compra B2B se volverá más largo y complicado, o más simple, en los próximos años?

Me dedico a la venta de soluciones de almacenamiento para el sector industrial en la empresa Logistic Trade (logistictrade.com). Los procesos de compra pueden llevar de 2 a 12 meses. Pienso que una gran parte del proceso de prospección por parte de los vendedores y de selección de proveedores será automatizado con inteligencia artificial, también creo que la toma de decisiones de compra seguirán en gran parte por el ser humano. El proceso se volverá más simple con más recursos para tomar mejores decisiones por parte de los compradores, y también para seleccionar mejor al cliente ideal por parte de los vendedores, aunque esto no significa que se disminuirá considerablemente el tiempo de decisión final de compra.

Luis Armando Vasquez

Ingeniero de ventas industriales y Copywriter de ventas técnicas.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luisarmandovasquezruiz/

1. Luis, you are a freelance Technical Sales Copywriter and Marketing Strategist, and also a full-time Sales Engineer at Logistic Trade Company where you also coordinate the CRM. Sounds like you’re a busy guy! What do you like most about both of those roles?

It’s difficult to balance different roles in life, but that effort is necessary for personal and professional growth, I often seek to find a time when it seems that it doesn’t exist. What I like the most about both roles is that everything is focused on the same objective: “B2B Sales”. Since I was a child I was trained as a salesman, and it’s something that over time I have combined with my academic studies as an Industrial Engineer, to focus on engineering sales. I like to do different activities and projects, but the focus is on the same spot: “B2B Sales”.

2. About a year ago you became a member of the Advisory Board at NAASE (North American Association of Sales Engineers). Why did you want to be on the Board, and what things would you like to see NAASE do in the future?

When I discovered NAASE, it seemed like an excellent project to me, to have a space where the sales engineers can meet together. In Mexico, there is no association like this, so I liked that the scope of NAASE was the entire territory of Mexico, United States, and Canada. There are a lot of fields where you can raise awareness and open the panorama so that many engineers see “Sales” as an area of true professional development, without giving up engineering. The Executive Committee invited me to belong to the Advisory Board, and I saw an opportunity to spread this profession to Mexico. I would like to see NAASE in the future, with considerable influence in the industrial sector, as a prestigious association, with a group of active members in annual conferences, professional updating, networking, as well as with a certification that is recognized in North America for sales engineers who are truly trustworthy and genuinely want to help their prospects.

3. In the Mexican-American trading and B2B selling world, how important is it for native-born Mexicans to speak English well? Or, is it not really that important to USA companies?

In the globalized world where we are, it is important to be able to communicate in English as a sales engineer. On many occasions, you must deal with English-speakers clients, or study operating manuals, as well as explain projects to intermediary contractors. Many of these activities are in the English language. Indeed, it is not necessary to be 100% bilingual, but it’s necessary to be able to understand the language, understand a conversation, understand reading and somehow be able to explain an idea, through voice and writing. A sales engineer who wants to develop in this world will must have notions of English at a conversational level, however, nobody expects him to be an expert in the language but in business skills.

4. I see you are in the middle of going to get your Doctorate in Business Administration. Good luck! What do you want that Ph.D. to allow you to accomplish?

As I mentioned before, the different facets that I’m involved in are focused on B2B Sales. I’m currently researching soft skills that a technical salesperson must have to close sales. One of the main objectives at the end of the Doctorate is to reinforce my experience in the field, with the knowledge and scientific analysis of the behavior of industrial salespeople. I believe that the Doctorate amplifies and accentuates my voice before society, allowing me to speak and give an opinion on B2B sales issues, with a scientific foundation.

5. Technical sales and sales engineering is a journey. Do you see the B2B buying process getting lengthier and more complicated -or simpler- over the next few years?

I’m dedicated to selling storage solutions for the industrial sector in the company Logistic Trade (logistictrade.com). The purchase process can take from two to twelve months. I think that a large stage of the process of prospecting by sellers and the selection of suppliers will be automated with artificial intelligence, I also believe that purchasing decisions will continue to be made largely by humans. The process will become simpler, with more resources to make better decisions by buyers, and also to better select the ideal buyer persona by sellers. This doesn’t mean that the final purchase decision time will be considerably reduced.

Luis Armando Vasquez

Sales Engineer and Technical Sales Copywriter.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luisarmandovasquezruiz/

No one said, “I want to be an SE when I grow up”

All right, stop whatcha doin, ’cause I’m about to ruin. Well, I hope I don’t ruin. When I was first approached to write an article about my career path earlier this year, I thought this would be easy. I’ve been planning on writing for a while, fueled by the extra time provided during the pandemic and what, in my mind, I think are some extraordinary Sales Tales. If the time it took to put together this article is a measuring stick, I should have my first book complete within a decade.

All right, back to the lecture at hand. Career pathing. This should be easy. I’ll talk about how I grew up fascinated by tech, inspired by the times, the rise of video games, and home computing. The thrill of being part of a generation that saw the rise and fall of MTV. How I leveraged curiosity and culture to land my first job at AT&T, where I designed websites in the late 90s and eventually moved over to supporting one of the largest Citrix environments on the planet. How, at a faithful dinner, I met the great Scott Lane, who said, “you ever thought about being an SE”?

Boring, I’d love to make this article a self-reflection and personal success story, but I’ll defer to a future book. I could cover an SE’s traditional or classic career path, which is well documented. I’m too lazy to cite references, but it goes a bit like this.

  • You probably didn’t know what an SE was; if you became an SE, you have a few options.
  • Continue being an SE, be the best SE you can.
  • You go to the dark side (I wouldn’t say I like this saying) and take more risks as an individual seller.
  • You go into leadership (this is what I did) for the love of the game and coaching opportunities.
  • Or you take the learned skills and apply them to another unrelated career. I may have missed a few, but this is the skinny.

So, I said self, self, let’s not make this about you, even though the majority to this point is, well, just that. Why not talk to folks? Individuals that found a career as an SE and then, in part of their journey, progressed and endeavored on to something great. That took the core DNA of curiosity, a relentless drive to solve problems, a scoop of personality, and a desire to help those around them. Individuals that found success in areas outside of where they started.

To do this, I solicited conversations with the best in the biz. I spoke with David Byerly, VP & Country Manager at Citrix. He is an incredible sales leader, mentor, and all-around captain of his industry. J.P. Smith, Director, Worldwide Technical Enablement at Citrix, has, for the past 18 years, coordinated and delivered some of the most technical and complex training known to man. Take booking a hotel room, times that by 5000 and must live up to the standards of professional geeks.

Inspired by these two, I continued my journey. I solicited the sage advice of Mike “Q” Quirin, Partner at Alchemy Technology Group, an award-winning partner group and one of the best strategic technology partners in the industry. In a word, inspired. Q deserves a separate series to delve into his incredible memory and ability to challenge your perspective of comfort versus opportunity. And lastly, I talked with Amy Goldstein, currently a Senior SE at Citrix. Amy is at the beginning of her career. A career in which I see no ceiling. I may one day work for her, and I’d love it. Slight disclaimer Amy reports to me: at first, she did not want to be an SE, but man, she’s incredible at what she does. Amy brings a refreshing dose of compassion, plus an intelligence that is second to none.

My goal in these conversations is to pull out common characteristics. To see if I can identify what and why. What led them to become an SE, and why did they choose the following path? Here is what I found in my conversations with all, a few universal truths presented.

No one said, “I want to be an SE when I grow up.” Not a single individual knew what an SE was. Dave came out of college as a D1 athlete at James Madison with a focus on business and aspirations to follow that path and pursue an MBA. JP started as a consultant building complex environments, participating in a baptism by fire, and learning technology on the fly. Q came out of The Baylor Hankamer School of Business, started as a consultant, and heard about the “best-kept secret” industries. Amy obtained a master’s degree from the Colorado School of Mines and left school looking for a “company that cared.” What led each of them to be an SE to start was an opportunity presented, and they took it. To quote Q, “opportunity is all around you.”

Curiosity and problem solving created the SE and, ultimately, the next role. I circled “curious” in every conversation. Dave, JP, and Q all had another element that drove curiosity. The impending collapse of society and Y2K. I’m half joking. There was a real opportunity for those curious to develop a foundation. Dave alluded to “why should I care” and “I can solve this challenge.” Dave began helping customers discover the infancy of digital transformation. A term that would eventually be the title of over 100 thousand professionals on LinkedIn. Disclaimer, I thought I was exaggerating here; according to LinkedIn, I see the 820K+ decision-makers from your search for “digital transformation.” Dave was on the cutting edge of technology. JP helped guide hospitals to certify systems would survive the clock striking midnight by implementing test validations and introducing new technology, thin clients. Q was on the beginning wave of cloud computing. He was working with terminal services in the early 2000s.

Amy may have missed Y2K, but something stood out.  Amy capitalized on curiosity to take technology and “define success for customers.” What I love as I recapped curiosity is the relevance then and now. To borrow a quote from Q, “what’s old is new,” I researched this quote; I know Q rephrased it. I like Stephen King’s “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” We still have digital transformations, consumer to enterprise device considerations, and cloud computing has been evolving to the point of inflection for decades. If you are curious, you can solve problems, and companies love a good solution to their problems.

Social butterflies with a touch of muscle memory. It doesn’t take long in a conversation with any of these individuals to see a level of thoughtfulness, charisma, and genuineness; I want to hang out with these folks’ness (I know not a word, but hopefully, you know what I mean). Dave can captivate a room while making you feel like the center of attention. JP, for god’s sake, has the job of coordinating content for an entire organization. You have to have some serious social chops to herd many cats. Q holds court with the best of them, drawing on look-back moments and a memory that is second to none. And my favorite from Amy is “I’m not the most technical, but I am a pretty technical social person” Social when it counts? I was asked once, “what charges you.” I think of myself as an introvert. My wife would disagree. What I’m getting at is that each person I spoke with strikes me as the same. Each can flex a social muscle, but you can tell by their empathy and abilities to grasp and articulate that considerable time is spent reflecting.

Teamwork makes the dream work. I’m getting long-winded for a blog. With that, I’ll pull one more universal truth. You take the curiosity, take the problem, take the social, take the team, and then you have the facts of life. These professionals take their work, yearning to solve and help, and couple this with compassionate teamwork, whether it’s Dave leading a sales team or coaching and mentoring the next sales generation. JP combining and coordinating training and enablement to help raise the tide for all ships. Or Q, building relationships and a partner company focused on developing extraordinary trust-based relationships with customers and creating transformative business outcomes (I stole his company motto). Or Amy, whom I recently had dinner with, and a potential opportunity. A dinner where she said, “I just really want the customer to be successful.” To quote Tenacious D – “that’s teamwork.”

Final, final. As I reflect on my career and the conversations with Dave, JP, Q, and Amy, I see no clear path. You can focus on a to b to c., or you can hone and develop the characteristics and skills that you will leverage regardless of your profession, aspirations, and goals to succeed. Curiosity, problem-solving, genuine conversation, cooperation, and a shared vision to combine success with everyone around you. There is no box; there is no path. There is, however, a path, a way that applies to any career or pursuit. Stay curious, stay engaged, think of others, and stay thirsty, my friends. Jesus, that was cheesy.

Special thanks to the author of this article Blake Chandler.

Blake Chandler

SE Director

NAASE Member

Data Visualization for Beginners

We use data visualization in our everyday lives all the time without realizing it. The menu board at McDonald’s featuring food photos… That’s visual data. Temperature gauge… That’s also a visual representation of complex data.

Today on the North American Association of Sales Engineers blog, we’ll dive into the basics of data visualization.

Data Visualization And Business

If you’ve never used data visualization in your business before, you should. There are many reasons why it makes sense. These include:

  • Visual data makes it easier to understand and decipher complex information
  • Having access to a snapshot of data helps you improve your decision-making skills so that you can grow faster
  • It’s easier to share insight with your customers, employees, and shareholders

How Is Data Visualization Useful In Marketing?

From a marketing perspective, data visualization is valuable because it helps grab attention. This is crucial as the attention spans of adults continue to get shorter and shorter, and you only have about eight seconds before your customers are ready to look at something else. When you can compress information from videos, articles, and studies, you can showcase the most important data, which may then prompt your potential customer to dive deeper into a specific vein of data. Supermetrics notes that you can also use data visualization to help identify trends and to reinforce an opinion.

Common Data Visualization Tools

Fortunately, there are many data visualization tools that even beginners can use. These include:

  • Banners. An online banner is used in marketing to capture attention. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create a visually pleasing banner, and you can easily find a free banner maker online. Look for a platform that you can customize and download. Your template selection should be based on the type of data that you use, where you plan to advertise, and its size.
  • Database visualization. While banners are relatively basic, database visualization (utilizing tools like Tableau) tends to be complex. Tableau is used by around 57,000 companies throughout the US, including Amazon. It utilizes big data, machine learning, and AI to provide an immersive data experience.
  • Pie charts. Pie charts, like banners, scale information down quickly so that it is easily readable by people on all levels. You can use Microsoft Excel to create a simple pie chart, which you can then use to show things like comparisons, population, and time spent on certain tasks.
  • Graphs. Graphs are just as common as pie charts, and, in fact, a pie chart is a type of graph. However, there are many other types of graphs, including histograms, line graphs, and scatterplots.
  • Venn diagram. A Venn diagram is a way to visualize data that shows where it overlaps. Typically composed of two or three circles, Venn diagrams make it easy to show how different parts of your business are related.
  • Kanban boards. Kanban boards are a type of visual workflow system that shows where your projects are, who’s working on them, and when you can expect them to be completed. This is one of the most popular digital project management tools, and it’s mostly utilized in the IT world. Kanban boards are also now popular for remote teams as they allow for online collaboration and project management from anywhere.

Data visualization does not have to be complicated. However, it can be used to showcase complex ideas to everyone in and out of your organization. By utilizing common data visualization tools, from banners to kanban boards, you can create more effective marketing plans, tighter project management, and a more efficient work environment. If you’ve yet to adopt data visualization in your organization, it’s never too late to start, and you’ll be glad you did.

Are you ready to become a NAASE member? Click here to get started.

Two excellent Job opportunities with IBM, Apply Now!

Are you a self-starter, a go-getter and a leader? In the IBM AI Applications business unit, you will find a culture that rewards such entrepreneurial spirit! We are looking for talented, energetic individuals who have a strong sense of ownership, execution, and focus on customer success!
As a Solutions Engineer at IBM, you are THE technical expert and advisor to our customers, to the sales team and to our Business Partners. You understand the customers’ business requirements, technical requirements, and competitive landscape. You apply your business insight, build and maintain customer relationships, incorporate technology and services, and ensure customer readiness for the implementation of proposed technical solutions.
This is YOUR opportunity to shape the future for both IBM and our customers, as well as for yourself. Start your journey now, by joining our amazing team of experts, Here are the two jobs that are available and you can apply now.

Your Role and Responsibilities:

The Brand Technical Specialist engages in pre-sales activity of the sales cycle including: sales/business discussions, solution discovery, solution and business assessments, solution demonstrations, pilots and Proof of Concepts. They understand the client’s business requirements, technical requirements and competitive landscape as it pertains to the IBM AI Apps Solutions. This role requires a consultative, solutions-focused approach that requires in-depth needs analysis (discovery), art of the possible demonstrations, customized presentations and demonstrations, and delivery of written documentation and other material to support the sales team and sales opportunities. When engaged for a specific opportunity or project, the BTS role is responsible for the technical accuracy of the proposed solution.


Responsibilities of a Brand Technical Specialist as trusted advisor includes
:

  • Client discovery, delivering art of the possible and tailored solution demonstrations for key client stakeholders
  • Supporting responses to RFPs (request for proposals/RFPs and requests for information/RFIs)
  • Creatively prescribing solutions to help solve a client’s business initiatives and challenges
  • Communicating solution proposals at any level of the business required from a CxO to a detailed business and/or technical sponsor

Key Responsibilities:

  • Performs in-depth analysis/discovery of customer’s business and technical requirements and develops clear definition of the appropriate solution including; business use case demonstrations, associated operational and value benefits, and overall value proposition of the IBM solution set
  • Develops, maintains and delivers solution demonstrations to solve customer’s business and technical requirements
  • Leads and participates in pre-sales solution architecture discussions
  • Is able to maintain an advanced understanding of the AI Apps solutions and ecosystem
  • Knowledgeable in connected 3rd party space applications (for example: ERP systems, Transportation Management (TMS), and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS))
  • Ensures client success through deployment strategies (i.e. Engaging services and business partners to help a customer successfully deploy the technology)
  • Contributes to Opportunity Identification

Additional Information:


The technical pre-sales specialist should have a thorough knowledge of the AI Apps solutions. Must have a proven record of successfully understanding client issues and pulling together strategies to ensure the client is successful. Excellent customer relations; verbal and written communications skills. Ability to successfully work with sales reps to close business deals. Ability to manage multiple accounts and associated opportunities simultaneously. Ability to learn IBM’s line of products and services. Ability to analyze and resolve business and technical challenges. Ability to negotiate and prioritize projects.

Required Technical and Professional Expertise

  • At least 5 years of experience with an AI Apps specific solution set and/or competing solutions
  • Extensive technical expertise with the applicable AI Apps solution set (i.e. Blockchain, Managed File Transfer, B2B/EDI, Envizi, Asset Management, IoT)
  • Experience within one or more of the following industries: Financial Services, Retail, Distribution, Consumer Package Goods, Travel and Transportation


Preferred Technical and Professional Expertise

  • Demonstrated knowledge of key blockchain concepts such as distributed ledgers, track and trace, smart contracts, security, privacy and cryptography.
  • Knowledge of blockchain platforms and open-source projects like Hyperledger, Ethereum, Corda, etc.
  • Strong experience and understanding of pre-sales support processes is a plus
  • Understanding of the systems and products that make up the AI Apps ecosystem (i.e. Blockchain, ERP, Transportation Management, Warehouse Management, B2B/EDI, Asset Management, etc.)
  • Formal sales training courses (i.e. Demo2Win, Solution Selling, Strategic Selling, Challenger Sale, Target Account Selling, Integrity Selling, etc.)
  • Knowledge of Containerization and Kubernetes (i.e. Red Hat OpenShift)

For more information you can visit IBM website, or contact: Don.Cipriani1 at ibm.com

4 Time-Saving Tech Tools Sales Pros Love

It’s no secret that time is money when it comes to sales. Every extra minute spent on the phone or grabbing lunch with a potential customer adds to your bottom line so it’s crucial to maximize those efforts.

Unfortunately, sales comes with a mountain of busy work that has to be accomplished to make money. Things like checking and responding to emails, drafting proposals, nurturing your pipeline, and scheduling appointments can quickly eat up hours a day, but the good news is, they don’t have to!

We’ve got four tools that could save you hours of time each week and get you back to the things you enjoy doing – like selling!

Shortwave

Setting aside time to triage your inbox is arguably one of the most hated but important tasks for any sales professional. If you don’t do it regularly, important deals, documents, and updates are lost, but staying on top of your inbox requires time that most sales pros just don’t have.

Shortwave is an email client that integrates directly with Gmail, making sign-up a breeze. You’ll never drop the ball again with Shortwave’s three simple triage actions that help you manage every email in your inbox.  Decide if the email is important and pin it to the top of your inbox to take quick action on, snooze the email to show back up at a specific day/time when you will be able to handle the issue, or mark the email as done, removing it from your inbox so you can focus on the tasks at hand.

Shortwave also offers a handful of other features to streamline your email workflow. Control who triggers push notifications so you can prioritize important correspondences, see when teammates or co-workers are online for quick responses, and enjoy automatic organization with bundles and categories like calendar invites and promos that make your inbox easier to understand at a glance. Bonus: the ability to drag & drop and reorder emails lets you turn your inbox into the to-do list it actually is.

Shortwave is offering 3 months of their standard plan (usually $9 per month) totally free to NAASE members by using promo code NAASE.

Postal.io

Even in 2022, the power of physically marketing to potential customers like sending some swag or direct mail is more effective than ever—but who has time to order, package, and send off items as they are needed?

Stay on top of your offline marketing by using Postal.io. With plans starting at just $19 a month, you can take advantage of this platform to send out one-off gifts to customers or upload an entire list for a mailer marketing campaign. The platform is easy to use and doesn’t require a long setup process to get started.

Qwilr

Customers expect a certain level of professionalism when it comes to proposals and contracts, so the document you created in Microsoft Word in 2001 just won’t cut it anymore. Something more custom often takes time that you just don’t have – Qwilr can fix that!

Qwilr creates beautiful templated proposals, contracts, one-pagers, and more, so all you have to do is enter in basic specifications for a particular deal, and out pops beautiful materials you will be proud to share. Qwilr also offers an Enterprise level, allowing the entire sales team to have access to the same templates for uniformity across the entire team.

Calendly

A sales professional’s calendar is one of the most essential parts of their business. Without those meetings, you won’t have customers, and without those customers…well you get the picture.


Calendly easily integrates with your calendar, allowing customers and co-workers to select times that you set as available. Create custom events with buffers in between every call to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare, set custom times for those calls, and automatically generate links to your preferred communication tool like Zoom or Google Meet.

Gone are the days of email threads going back and forth to find a time that works for both participants. Calendly streamlines the entire process!

For more information about this article you can visit shortwave

Eliminating SE Leadership?

“Never Again”

This summary article written with permission of an MTS client. We altered a few peripheral facts to preserve anonymity, but
otherwise “it is what it is”. This is also likely to be somewhat controversial, and MTS was certainly involved in the postmortem fact gathering. Those facts are why my client decided it was worth publishing – to save other SE executives the pain
and heartache that his organization suffered. As they say in the US, “your personal mileage may vary.”

During early 2017, an external Management Consulting organization was tasked with
reviewing and optimizing the sales and presales operations of the European – Middle
East – Africa (EMEA) Region. This resulted in many excellent tactical and operational
recommendations and two key organizational structural recommendations that greatly
affected the presales team.

Specifically:

  1. Increase the average span-of-control of sales leaders
  2. Eliminate the local and regional SE leadership

This led to the consolidation of personnel under the auspices of either country
managers (for larger markets) or Regional Sales VPs for smaller cross-country markets
(such as the Nordics). The primary drivers of this reorganization were financial and
industry best practices. As noted later, neither proved to be the case. The modified
organization lasted for 15 months and was then reorganized back to something that
resembled the previous structure.

2. Financial Benefits:

Twelve SE Manager (SEM) positions were released. Two SEMs gained positions within Product Management, Three filled open headcount as Senior Architects / Subject Matter Experts, Two became Country Managers and Five left the company. The top EMEA SE leader joined a major competitor, as did three of the other SEMs. Assuming full credit for the twelve positions and that existing open headcount was filled, the gross fully burdened savings amounted to €4,000,000.

2. Best Practices:

In researching best practices of other large technical presales teams, both inside and
outside of our immediate market, we were unable to find any organizations that
conformed to the consultant’s recommendations. The list of references we spoke with
was lengthy, including companies with SE teams sized from 40 to over 400 individuals.

THE NEGATIVES:


1. We estimate the entire reorganization effort cost us 12% of revenue growth and a 32%
reduction in viable pipeline.


2. SE Turnover increased from single digits to almost 25%. That included 8 identified high
potential SE performers.


3. #1 reason cited in exit interviews was “no prospects of career progression/promotion”


4. #2 reason cited in exit interviews was “sales manager had no understanding of the position or requirements.”


5. The loss of the SE VP and three hi-po’s to one of our prime competitors cost at least 4
transactions of > €100,000 monthly recurring revenue.


6. Country managers were unwilling to release their technical resources to help other
regions. Resulting in multiple deals slipping from each quarter and a definite, but not
fully quantifiable decrease in win rate. Most notably in heavy Proof Of Concept deals.


7. After expressing initial support for the change, account executives noted they were
unable to get the right people at the right time due to country/region resource
allocation.


8. Product training time for SE’s decreased from 5 days/quarter to 2.7 days/quarter due to
sales being unwilling to release time for such training. Caused a 0.8 decrease (on a 0-10
scale) in technical readiness over 12 months.


9. Partner satisfaction decreased by 17 NPS points due to reduction in enablement,
support and general technical sales coaching. (Partner SE’s were reassigned to direct
transactions)

ANONYMIZED SUMMARY:

HIGH LEVEL POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF ELIMINATING THE SE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS AND HAVING FIELD SE’s REPORT DIRECTLY TO SALES MANAGERS/COUNTRY MANAGERS (EMEA ONLY)

In the words of our client. “Please tell others about this. It should never happen again. If
anyone, including high-priced consultants, should ever question the value of first-line presales
management then the extreme case study is to examine what happens when the position
entirely disappears. It is a disaster!”

“It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

This article is written by John Care, Managing Director of
Mastering Technical Sales. For more information on this and other Sales Engineering
topics visit the website at www.masteringtechnicalsales.com.

6 Steps to Hiring Your First Sales Team

(By Guest Blogger Dean Burgess) – You’ve built your company from the ground up, and now, you’re ready to grow by hiring your first sales team members. You can find the guidance you need to establish your team from the North American Association of Sales Engineers! Bringing on new team members and training them takes time, and these tips will help you get the process started.

Create a DBA :

Before you start expanding your company with an entirely new sales team, it’s important to take care of any key logistical or legal tasks on your to-do list. For example, if you already run a business under your given name, and you want to offer a new line of products or an entirely different service, you’ll need to choose a “Doing Business As” name. This is often known as a DBA name. If you register your DBA name, you can market and sell your services under a new name!

Set Your Sales Goals :

Next, it’s time to think about what you want your sales team to achieve. Once you know where you want your team to go, you can determine which roles you’ll need to hire for in order to get there! Think about what your team could realistically accomplish and which metrics you need to hit in order to keep your company moving forward.

Define the Roles :

Now, you’ve got a vision for your company’s sales goals – and it’s time to figure out who you’ll have to bring on board in order to execute these goals. Look into popular sales job titles to help define each role. Bidsketch states that you’ll probably need an account executive, a sales manager, a sales development representative, and a customer service representative. If you have bigger goals, you might also want to hire a sales engineer! You can create a job listing around each of these titles and share the listings on popular job platforms.

Schedule Interviews :

You’ve started to get responses to your job listings, and you’re interested in learning more about several candidates who look promising. It’s time to prepare for interviews! But which questions should you ask to find the best person for each role? Sales Assembly recommends asking them about their current sales process, how they would pitch your product, and their proudest sales accomplishments.

Training Your Team :

After going through rounds of interviews, you hired candidates who really stood out. You know that they have the aptitude and experience to succeed at your company, but you also want to make sure they’re truly ready to represent your product. When it comes to training your sales team, you can use helpful tools like e-learning programs to get everyone up to speed on new techniques or product details. You’ll also want to give detailed feedback to help each team member improve.

Determine Incentives :

How can you motivate your team to keep improving and reaching bigger sales goals? By incentivizing them! With sales incentives, you can encourage your team to keep achieving. What kind of incentives can you offer your team that will actually prove effective? Close recommends setting up a monetary rewards program for your sales team, giving out new tech products as prizes, or offering special sales training from a personal coach. Think about your team’s personal interests and get creative when it comes to offerings – make sure that they match your team!

Finding the best candidates for your sales team – and helping them become the best sales representatives they can be – doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why you need to kick off the process with a roadmap outlining your next steps. With these tips, you’ll be able to start recruiting your new sales team!

Want to learn from other sales professionals? Join the North American Association of Sales Engineers! Register on our website today.

How to Manage Tasks Priority with Urgency – Importance Matrix (UIM)

(This article submitted by PRIZ GURU)– We are excited to announce a recent release of an additional Creative Thinking Tool in PRIZ online innovation platform, Urgency – Importance Matrix (UIM). This tool is built to help you to avoid mistakes, save time in managing tasks priority and make decisions.

The new tool is a practical instrument for task priority management. Urgency – Important Matrix is most effective in conjunction with Roun – Robin Ranking (RRR).

About Urgency – Importance Matrix (UIM)

Tasks priority management by Urgency – Important Matrix is widely described in the literature. You can find a lot of relevant information on the Internet. For instance, Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle,  How to Master your Priorities with the Urgent-Important MatrixPrioritization Matrix 101: What, How & Why? (Free Template) and many others.

Here, we are going to describe our vision on the Urgency and Importance classification and also to propose a practical tool for effective management of task priority using the Urgency – Importance Matrix (UIM) tool.

Let’s start with the TASK definition. Do we understand what TASK means? What is a TASK? Try to imagine that you are working in front of your computer already for a couple of hours and you are willing to grab a cup of coffee. Please think and answer: Go to the cafeteria and drink coffee – is it a TASK? Or another scenario: Invite your colleague to the cafeteria and spend some time drinking coffee together – is this a TASK? Another scenario: your manager invited you to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee – would this be a TASK? Do you feel the difference between different scenarios of the same action – drink coffee? Sure you do.

Now try to define which one is TASK out of the following:

  • Find the root cause of the failure
  • Fetch and analyze data
  • Visit Irish pub with friends
  • Visit a doctor
  • Watch a movie…

Did you find TASKS?

You can find a lot of information about TASK definition, but we choose what we like best, the definition provided by Cambridge Dictionary: “Task is a piece of work to be done, especially one done regularly, unwillingly, something unpleasant or with difficulty.” Excellent definition. It directs us to a very trivial statement: “TASK is something that we do not want to do. We do not want, but we have to.”

Eisenhower’s decision matrix is based on very clear and effective concepts:

  • If everything is urgent, then everything loses its urgency.
  • If everything is important then nothing is most important.

The matrix is shown below:

Urgency and Importance are the axes of the chat. There is no continuous gradation of the axes, just binary separation: “yes” or “no”, “Urgent” or “Not Urgent”, “Important” or “Not Important”.

The Right top field corresponds to “Urgent & Important” tasks.
Tasks that are Urgent and Important at the same time will fall into this category. For example, addressing safety or quality issues. These tasks receive the highest priority: “Do First”.

The left top field corresponds to “Important & Not Urgent” tasks
For example, projects aiming to improve production yield, reduce cost or improve the reliability of the product. According to UIM, all tasks that fall into this category are getting priority: “Do Later”.

The right bottom field corresponds to “Urgent & Not Important” tasks
For example, participate in a meeting where you are not a decision-maker. It is urgent because the meeting is scheduled to start in 30 minutes, but the importance is zero since you cannot impact the decision-making process. UIM recommends delegating such tasks – “Delegate”.

The left bottom field corresponds to “Not Urgent & Not Important” tasks.
For example, some tasks that are not impacting your current status or the status of your activity at work. Such as analyzing daylight saving impact on some production parameters. Simply drop such tasks, eliminate the tasks or the projects that fall into this category – “Eliminate”.

Do what’s important

Both top quadrants are important and have to be completed. Please take into account that “Do First” tasks are typically short term tasks, while “Do Later” are related to the long term tasks. Do not mix them. In case you are a manager distributing the tasks, do not assign short term and long term tasks to the same people. The tasks are very different, and their successful completion depends on the ability of the people to complete a certain type of task. A manager has to define who is more suitable for short term tasks and who for long term tasks. In the first case, for short term tasks, a manager has to seek “firefighters,” people that totally dedicated to a final goal to reduce the harm by any means. Long term tasks are typically performance improvement projects, should be completed by “chessplayer”. There is a very small risk of their mistake, but they spent a lot of time searching for the best move and the best solution.

Do not mix the tasks and assign them to the relevant people.

Do not waste time and resources on Not Important tasks?

There is no real customer for Not Important Tasks, no one needs the results, no one is ready to “pay” for completed tasks that are Not Important. Do not waste time on tasks that fell into two bottom quadrants. Do not attend anything that is not important.

How to assign Urgency and Importance?

How do you classify a task? How can you define if the task is important or not important, urgent or not urgent? How to normalize and standardize the process of urgency and importance assessment?

All tasks are originating from a flaw. No flaw – no tasks.

Urgency

Urgency level is related to an expectation. The flaw that results in expected harm cannot lead to urgent tasks, while any unexpected harm should be treated as urgent due to its uncertainty:

For example, we all know that even an excellent and very expensive car is not ideal. All the moving parts of the car wear out; therefore a periodic technical service is required. Known ahead of time, scheduled and expected technical service is a task, but this task cannot be urgent. This is a typical Not Urgent task.

An example of unexpected harm could be a noise that suddenly appeared in the car engine. We need to bring the car to the service as soon as possible to reduce the possible impact. This task is not scheduled (unexpected) and should be treated as an Urgent task.

Importance

The importance is related to cost. The higher the cost of harm the higher the Importance.

A noise in the car’s engine might be high-cost harm compared to a small scratch on the car door. Therefore Low-cost harm is not important, while high-cost harm should be treated as an Important task.

Urgency and Importance assessment rules are summarized in the table below:

UIM is an excellent tool for tasks priority management, but how to use it? Should we use a pen and paper? How do we keep the information, how do we continue working on the prioritization of the tasks?

We created a UIM tool for your convenience right into ONLINE PLATFORM.

Please, refer to a page dedicated to UIM for more details and usage examples.

For more information related to this article visit priz guru website

What is psychological inertia? or… What is wrong with us?

Have you ever been in a situation where while discussing different solutions for a problem, you and your group is trying to solve, people finding all kind of reasons why something is impossible or extremely difficult? The arguments might sound like “It’s very difficult”, “This solution is very expensive”, “It’s not going to work!”, or even “This is a stupid idea!”
I am pretty certain you have. This phenomenon, and many more, are part of Psychological Inertia.

Now, let’s dive into the details.

Definition

I always like to start with the plain and dry definition. Unfortunately, Cambridge dictionary does not have this definition, so I’ll have to default to Wikipedia:

Psychological inertia is the tendency to maintain the status-quo (or default option) unless compelled by a psychological motive to intervene or reject this. … Psychological inertia has also seen to be relevant in areas of health, crime and within the workplace.

Now, this is a lot of words in one long sentence. I personally had to reread it multiple times to actually understand what it means, and frankly, without having the background on the subject, I am not sure if I ever could get it correctly and interpret it to the real-life experience.

I’ll try to explain what does it mean in my view based on our experience and real-life events and examples.

It can’t be done!

For the matter of this article, “It can’t be done” is the same as “It is too expensive”, “extremely difficult”, or any other way to say that some idea is not good enough. I want to come back and expand on the same example I described at the very beginning.

Many times throughout my career, I’ve seen myself and others getting stuck on various reasons why not to evaluate a solution, why not experiment with an idea, and so on. Some might call it excuses or laziness, but the reality is, we don’t really want to do or try something that we don’t believe in.

So, unless there is some outside force, an additional push that can prove us wrong, we will resist a proposed solution we don’t believe in until the end of days.

Unwillingness to explore something we don’t believe in is part of psychological inertia.

Professional experience:

When we first started to present the idea of problem-solving tools to other people and tried explaining what are they good for, the majority (and many still to this day) were very skeptical about it. Here are a couple of arguments we were getting:

  • What’s wrong what how people solve problems today?
  • How can you create tools that help me solve problems? it’s all coming from my experience!
  • If I have a problem that I am stuck with, I’ll hire a professional!

Note: I want to highlight that this skepticism is also caused by psychological inertia. It’s just another version of “It can’t be done because I don’t believe in it!”

Back to Professional Experience…

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the cloud below is the entire, currently available, and continuously growing knowledge and experience.

The experience of our engineers, John, Maria and Bob, are marked with different shapes and colors. Well, of course, they do have different experiences, right? And some of their knowledge overlaps. Great!

The solutions that we are searching for are marked with red dots. If you noticed, one of the solutions falls well within the existing experience of our great engineers. But what about the two others? This is exactly the point where the team starts scratching their heads, searching the web, and trying to come up with different ideas for how to solve this particular problem. It is important to say though, that when they do provide a solution outside of their expertise, for the most part, these are not easily accepted. Why? Again, because people are generally don’t accept what they don’t believe in, what they don’t understand, and what they didn’t experience themselves.

Another point to make, it takes awful a lot of time to provide solutions that fall outside of our expertise. One might say: “Of course it takes more time, to do it, you have to learn something new and, ultimately, expand your experience!” And it is not going to be wrong. Nevertheless, there is another reason – psychological inertia. We are naturally seeking solutions within our experience.

Same as in the previous part, unless there is an outside force that will push us, it is hard to look outside of our own experience. Without such force, the only team’s chance is a lot of trial and error and some luck.

Difficulty in search for solutions outside of our own experience is caused by psychological inertia.

The comfort zone

In order to get out there and start digging into the unknown, we need to leave our comfort zone. It is easier said than done. There is a reason why the comfort zone is called the comfort zone. It is comfortable to stay there, easier to operate, it does not require any additional effort to be in the comfort zone. That’s understandable. To get out of it, we have to learn something new, try things we never did before; we need to invest in real work to do so. But we, as humans, are pretty lazy, aren’t we?

An average person will always choose the path of least resistance. But there is a catch… the choice will be out all the options within the available knowledge of that person. There very well might be another, even easier path, which is simply not yet explored. However, to explore that path, one will have to get out of his comfort zone.

Difficulty to break out of our comfort zone to search for better solutions is caused by psychological inertia.

But humanity is always progressing!

I can probably endlessly continue with examples and what our psychological inertia causes. In general, it will all be the same, from a different angle. I do want to switch gears a bit.

Many people we presented our solution to told us: “But humanity is always progressing without any special tools!”. For that, I will answer: “That is simply not true!”. And here is why.

Certainly, humanity IS progressing and IS innovating all the time. Some individuals did and doing it exceptionally well. Take Nikola Tesla as an example. His brain was probably exploding with ideas, he was virtually living outside of his comfort zone all the time. Let’s just say, he was not wired as most of us. Many other notable geniuses are/were thinking differently. They are geniuses for a reason!

An average human being also innovates. But here I want to ask how much effort and how long it takes. Countless examples of innovations that look trivial today, originally took many many years to be discovered and developed, even though the technology already existed (look up the history of a suitcase on wheels – it took over 10 years from the original version to the first accepted once that people actually used).

Regardless of how we innovate and generate ideas, in order to do it faster, we must use some sort of systematic approach. Whatever that approach is. Without that, all we have is the time waiting for revelation.

Any systematic approach to problem-solving helps to break out of psychological inertia.

Acceptance

Before I wrap up, I want to answer the second question in the title of this article: “What is wrong with us?”.

The simplest answer for that is: “Nothing!”. We are just being humans. This is how we are wired and how we think. Try reading more about psychological inertia, you’ll see that this phenomenon is not well understood, including the reasons for it. And to understand that is not the purpose of this article, it will not solve any problem for us as innovators. Breaking out of psychological inertia WILL solve a lot of problems!

Ironically, to break out of psychological inertia, we need to accept that we need help with it. And this, within itself, is bound by psychological inertia. The faster we accept this fact, the faster we can start improving our thinking and become more creative innovators.

Breaking out of pattern

Now, that we accepted our faith, let’s start changing it.

Several tools and methodologies exist for that. The simplest is a pen and paper or a whiteboard. Some more sophisticated include different charting tools, idea management tools, project management tools, and so on.

PRIZ Innovation Platform is the only SaaS tool specifically built for one purpose only; to help engineers break out of pattern – out of psychological inertia. At its core, it offers various problem-solving tools. And as a reminder, innovation is a solution for somebody’s problem.

For more information about this article visit there website:

https://app.priz.guru/?_ga=2.158480954.1491265703.1637487525-1212789261.1637487525

Leveraging Influence and Association to Recruit Great Salespeople

While the known brands in your category take the lazy route and rely on their name recognition, you can do things that actually impact your audience.

If you’re a high-growth startup competing with big brands for sales talent, you have to think differently about how you market yourself to highly skilled candidates.

Here’s an easy influencer play that will allow you to tap into targeted candidate groups while building your brand credibility:

Have your Head of Sales host a series (podcast, webinar, whatever) where they interview the top SMEs in their space and jam on industry trends and topical issues.

Important: DO NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR COMPANY. This is about building brand through association and contribution to your industry. Detach from outcomes and you will see results.

Bottom line: Associating your company with influencers has the potential to take your startup from being largely unknown to being one of the most credible shops in your category.

Accept the fact that a) most startups more or less sound the same to the outside world, and b) it’s likely that nobody knows who in the hell you are.

If you don’t have brand cred in your space, you need to build it. This is one of the fastest ways.

The process is simple:

  1. Line up interviews with industry leaders.
  2. Record these conversations over Zoom. (You can even host them as private, invite-only webinars for your highest quality recruiting prospects.)
  3. Strip the audio for a podcast.
  4. Find 3+ video clips for the guest to share on their own social following the interview.
  5. Give this content to your recruiters to distribute via outbound messages.

Side note: Most influencers already have their own podcasts. And most cross-post interviews that they’re on. They have a larger audience than you. This is a major win.

None of this is rocket science. And it’s certainly not a new idea.

The execution is easy. The hard part is making this a priority.

There’s so much talk about building your employer brand. And most ideas are overly complicated, time-consuming, and ineffective.

This is the opposite. This is leveraging what already exists—with little to no budget.

BTW, you can replicate this model across marketing, engineering, and any other high-priority functions.

The 2.0 version: Turn your Head of Sales into an industry thought leader.

  • Give them their own newsletter, their own podcast, and their own creative resources (aka a freelance video editor) to turn content out at scale.
  • Put PR juice behind them to get them on influential podcasts in your space.
  • Get them owning your category on LinkedIn.

Function leaders as SMEs are recruiting gold. Do this well and your Sales leader will become your inbound recruiting engine.

While the known brands in your category take the lazy route and rely on their name recognition, you can do things that actually impact your audience.

Marketers — Stop the eye-rolling. I know you’ve been doing this kind of stuff for a while now. But as far as talent marketing goes, this is uncharted territory.

Special thanks to Nate Guggia for writing this article.

For more information related to this article you can visit:

https://nateislearning.beforeyouapply.com/