Technical Sales by Hub
Technical Selling Under Stormy Conditions
As a technical sales professional you can’t control uncertainty, but you can control how you respond to it.
I recently had the great pleasure of talking with an amazing technical sales leader who oversees hundreds of technical sales professionals at a mid-cap company. While discussing the profession, economic uncertainty, and new Covid environment, it became clear that we are all selling under stormy conditions. Drawing parallels to sailing, we observed that to win business while fighting gale-force winds, you have to be fit, ready and aware.
Let’s dig into these attributes in more detail.
Be fit: Master your craft
To be fit as a technical sales professional, you need a very particular set of attributes:
- Technical intelligence: You must know the capabilities that your solutions, products and features provide to your buyer so that they can, in turn, satisfy your buyer’s requirements.
- Sales wisdom:You must be know how to clearly articulate what you do, why it matters, who it matters to and coney how you do it in a way that establishes value with your buyer above all other vendors.
- Tool and process proficiency:You must know how to utilize your tools and processes effectively to serve your buyer faster and better than your competitor.
Being a fit technical sales professional requires a mixture of intelligence, wisdom and proficiency that comes both with time and commitment to be better. Now let’s cover how you can be ready.
Be ready: Practice like it’s game day
To be ready requires a mentality of taking every meeting and action like it’s the one that can make or break your sales number. This way of approaching every technical sales engagement requires you to:
- Be disciplined: You must have clear objectives for yourself, with specific time parameters, so you can track and measure your performance and then hold yourself accountable.
- Have a plan: You must have clear ways to obtain incremental performance gains with your technical intelligence, sales wisdom, and tool and process proficiency.
- Know your team: You must know who to go to, such as subject matter experts, who can give you the support quickly when you need it to win.
To be ready requires an element of proactiveness and self-awareness. But being aware also applies externally, which brings us to our next topic.
Be aware: Know your environment and competition
To be aware of all external factors requires a high level of active listening and curiosity. Pay particular attention to:
- The buyer profile: Understand the company dynamics you are engaged with, the industry they are in, and the macroeconomic headwinds they may be encountering so you can maneuver effectively.
- Your champion: Be sure to understand what your advocate needs to be successful and how you can help that individual meet or exceed their own success criteria within their company.
- Your competition: Most technical sales opportunities face fierce competition, so you must anticipate the technical traps they will set for you. At the same time, you must set traps for them to win.
The more aware you are all external factors, the better you will be recognized as the trusted technical advisor, which will help you win the business.
Technical sales professionals are selling under unpredictable headwinds. But if you are fit, ready and aware, you can turn uncertainty into opportunity by being better than your competition, providing greater value to your buyer, and earning their trust and respect to win the business.
Freddy Mangum started his career as a sales engineering over 20 years ago and has held various C-level roles in high-growth companies. Freddy is the CEO of Hub (www.hub.inc), provider of specialized tools to help technical sales professionals win more business, and Venture Consultant with ForgePoint Capital, a $750M early stage venture fund.