How comfortable are you using the left side of your brain to develop business? Now that’s something to think about. For engineers, let’s just say the left side of your brain may be a bit over-used. For sales folks, well, you need to do some work.
The fulcrum for today’s innovative business development is leveraged by collaboration between technical and non-technical professionals. If your role is selling, it’s important to become comfortable wielding data and communicating it simply and succinctly to people outside of your professional discipline.
Because not everybody “gets it.” Because you won’t always be speaking with your professional peers. So slinging the lingo, and speaking business babble or techno-speak, will end up marginalizing the very folks you want to be collaborating with.
Depending on where we sit around the table, we see the same things differently. That’s a good thing, if shared. Here are three tips on how to cross-train your brain and become a sales geek: a valued resource for colleagues and customers.
- Identify your internal technical collaborators. If you want to learn more about the technical aspects of your product, service, or platform, spend some time with the techies responsible for creating and implementing these solutions. Make an appointment to, yes, to pick their brains. In fact, make that appointment a weekly one. Once they demystify their science, and you overcome your fear of technology, you have the beginning of a collaborative relationship.
- Identify your internal sales collaborators. There is an art to the business development process, and it doesn’t involve sounding like a brochure on legs. Have coffee with one of the sales folks in your organization. Ask them what the sales cycle looks like. Find out how you – yes you – can help them identify more leads which can be developed into business with your company. Then ask them if you can become part of the sales process: ride shotgun with them on a sales call or conference call. Hear what business development sounds like; determine the type of data that may be helpful for that salesperson to provide that prospect. Perhaps you are just the person to provide that data.
- Incorporate your cross-training perspective into your input-throughput-output for your internal colleagues. Start viewing your internal colleagues as potential customers. If you want to become that go-to guy or gal who is a valued resource, then become a collaborative partner instead of someone who holds the cards close to their chest. If you had to form an entrepreneurial team from the folks within your company, whom would you chose? Start to form alliances with these folks: you all have a lot to teach each other.
In today’s globally competitive marketplace, business development is part of everyone’s job description, whether stated or not. Your internal colleagues may become some of the best collaborative business partners you ever have. Take the time to determine how each of you can teach each other to become a sales geek.
We are firmly in the digital millennium, and it demands nothing less than creating data-driven, compelling reasons for your customers to want to do business with you.
What steps will you take towards becoming a sales geek this week?
Babette Ten Haken blogs about sales, manufacturing, engineering, entrepreneurships and start-ups at Sales Aerobics for Engineers® Blog. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, teaches technically oriented companies to have customer conversations that are productive and drive revenue.