Yesterday a sales engineer from Hubspot that I did not know asked me to connect on LinkedIn. So, I replied with my standard, “Do we know each other? Have we ever met or spoken?” I also forwarded his invitation to Pete Caputa and asked, “Good guy?”
Pete replied, “Yes. Very smart technically. Sales rep's like to bring him on calls. You can tell him that I said you guys should talk about how Sales Engineers should be better sales people then sales people are.”
To which I replied, “Not only should they be, but as with you and Jeetu, if an engineer truly wants to be a good salesperson, they typically become rock stars. They don't need a system, their brain naturally systematizes chaos.”
To which, Pete replied, “now there's an article”.
So, here we go! I’m not saying that engineers are natural born salespeople. Nor am I saying that all engineers should or could be salespeople. Engineers have a tendency to think that they are smarter than the average person. They have a tendency to think that sales is fluffy, left brain stuff. They have a tendency to be introverted and prefer to work alone. Because they’re smart and educated, they have a tendency to want to show how smart they are. Each of these tendencies can get in the way of an engineer becoming a salesperson.
I've intentionally not used terms that we use when we evaluate salespeople like "need for approval", "emotional involvement" or "self-limiting beliefs" because we typically call these tendencies weaknesses in salespeople. However, when some engineers learn about these traits and their effect on the sales process, they have the ability to compartmentalize better than most.
Other sales trainers and coaches may not agree with me and it could be that I have a different perspective because I attended one of the best engineering schools in the country and I (along with Pete, Jeetu and some others) turned out OK, but first they have to recognize and handle their tendencies.
If you're an engineer and would like to talk about your sales potential, let me know.