Techies love building products but then they find there are a lot of challenges in going out into the market and selling them. Being a techie myself and now playing a sales role I completely understand these challenges.
Challenge 1 : Anything can be built
When a sales call is made and the client states a requirement that is not present in the product, the sales person immediately puts on his techie hat trying to figure out how to build that rather than concentrating on selling the product. Very quickly the discussion changes from a sales discussion to a technical implementation discussion.
Challenge 2 : Lead evaluation
Techies find it hard to evaluate the lead. They find it hard to differentiate between a hot lead and a cold lead. For the techie they believe that every customer is a hot lead and they need to satisfy it because that gives them more work to do.
Challenge 3 : Does not accept that the sale is not going to happen
Since techies believe that everything is possible for them every sale is possible and they will keep pursuing it till it happens.
Challenge 4 : Evaluation the business viability of the customer request
Extending the above challenges the techie wants to satisfy every customer and so does not evaluate the request from the customer from a business stand point. For the techie everything should be built and they will go headlong into building it even if it is only for one customer in a SaaS based product.
Challenge 5 : Introvert
Most techies are introverted. They like to sit in a corner put on their headphones and churn out code. They dont like being interrupted and they dont like being tossed around doing different tasks. A sales job requires the person to be just the opposite - they should be extroverted, they should love to talk, they should be confident and they should be convincing.
Challenge 6 : Having intimate knowledge of the product does not make they sound convincing
Due to the fact that the techies have an intimate knowledge of the product sometimes they do not come across convincing in selling the product because they know at the back of their mind that there are some flaws in the feature set the customer is requesting. When the sales person has no knowledge of the underlying product then they just sound super confident about the product.
This does not mean that techies cant be excellent sales staff. There are many wonderful techies who I know that are in sales and they are brilliant at it and they understand these challenges and over come them.
Feel free to share any of your thoughts on challenges that you have faced while selling.