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Collaborate with Technical Colleagues and Close More Sales by Babette Ten Haken

How many sales dollars have you left on the table, chasing around decision makers and aligning their availability with that of a sales engineer from your organization? While this may be something you avoid like the plague, or only engage in when all else fails, don’t short change yourself of a great opportunity.

Be Proactive

Regardless of the corporate culture of your organization, if you sell solutions involving any type of technical interface, you are going to have to work with a sales engineer sometime during the sales process. My advice to you is to engage these resources early on in the sales cycle.

Technology is not a cosmic mystery

The technical aspects of the products and services we sell can appear cloaked in mystery. Our corporate sales culture may not have a solid relationship with our technical departments. With everyone trying to protect their jobs, perhaps some people think it makes sense to treat the technical aspects of our solution like a secret that only the techies hold the answers to.

And for those of us on the non-technical side of the table, we never really did learn how to fully use the left side of our brains. We see diagrams of manifold systems and hear techno-speak… and we panic.

I have to ask you: Why?

Collaboration makes you “more than”

It takes absolutely no effort, except for a collaborative game plan, to speak with one of your technical colleagues early on in the sale process when you are identifying viable prospects. As you start to do your homework about trigger events impacting these potential customers, contact your sales engineer.

Make an appointment to brainstorm with her. Then introduce yourself via email, if you don’t already know each other, and send her the link to your prospect’s website. In your email, discuss your approach to selling and why this specific company piques your interest. You’ll be surprised at how easy this process is and how engaged your sales engineer will become in advancing your sales cycle.

Account entry isn’t a solo act

Planning out your account entry strategy with the support of a trusted internal technical colleague can be the differentiator you’ve been looking for. You gain insight and technical acumen through collaboration.

Your technical partner, in turn, learns about the sales cycle and decision making process. And when you initially approach that prospect, you will be ahead of the curve regarding the issues impacting their business. You’ll be speaking from both sides of your brain, instead of being perceived as a stereotypic “brochure on legs.”

You make a great team

Prospects will recognize your foresight in teaming up with your technical counterpart, based on the types of questions you ask of them and the information you are in command of. As the sales process progresses, your partnership with your internal technical colleague will shorten the time to close.

Instead of waiting until the 11th hour to fit your engineer into the equation, they will have been part of the process all along. And since you’ve created a great partnership with your technical colleague, continue your team work on your next account entry strategy until this process becomes second nature to you both.

Forge collaborative selling partnerships with your technical counterparts in your organization. Think about the value this strategy offers your internal and external customers in terms of a shortened sales cycle, an increase in win ratio and a productive and profitable use of resources.

And your customers will benefit from the customer experience of working with you and your collaborative technical partner, as well. They will begin to reward you with repeat and expanded business, and those all-important referrals.
Babette Ten Haken is Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. Her blog, SalesAerobicsForEngineersblog.com, is a destination site for sales and engineering professionals, new graduates and entrepreneurs who want to become “unstuck” from the status quo. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? She can be reached at babette@salesaerobicsforengineers.com

-what was your biggest sales lesson learned? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.