The general opinion is that tech people can’t sell but that might not be quite accurate.
When I was about to graduate high school, I designed a website with one goal in mind, to convey the value that I could bring to tech teams around the world, and guess what? The website was seen by over 30K people in one day and I received over 150 emails! Does this mean that I sold myself well?
How Can Designers Help?
People coming from product design have a strong predisposition to be good at sales. They know what information is important, at what time, and how to present it. Throughout their jobs they had to master the skill of:
- “Asking Why” — Identify the problem, effectively communicate with stakeholders from various backgrounds. All what you need if you want to fulfill your prospect’s requirements.
- Coming up with a lot of various solutions — Can help to increase the value of the deal.
- Creating prototypes — While it takes 3 months for your development department to bring the Proof-of-Concept to the table, an average designer can put together a dummy prototype in a day. Are you ready for your next presentation?
- Gaining value out of data — Today’s product designer’s job is not only about spending hours designing but it also consists of a lot of research; analyzing and data mining. When was the last time you needed this information to convince your potential client?
- Being detail oriented — The experience is all about details. If you are not going to provide the best possible experience throughout your whole process then someone else is.
- Pitching — While you might imagine a designer as just a person that crafts sexy visuals, they don’t sell themselves. Usually a designer has to sell his work to other stakeholders and deliberate. This equips designers with excellent presentation skills as well. Couldn’t you be more effective focusing on something else rather than pitching prospects on how your product works?
- Oh, did I mention that a designer can also help you craft an appealing pitch deck/proposal?
How Can Developers Help?
These individuals are very logical and rational. Only a small fraction of them would ever consider helping with sales. However, those that would, given the chance at the negotiation table, could help you with:
- Talking to technical counterparts — people seek understanding. If you meet up with a person that talks tech but you don’t, it might be harder for you to get that person on your side.
- Estimates — you might use some data from previous projects that you use for your estimates, but, every project is different. If you had a technical staff member when meeting with prospects, they would immediately be able to provide insights, estimates and unveil all of the possibilities.
- Writing specifications, RFPs, PRDs — save time and money translating the requirements to your product person which would then have to translate it to the developers.
- Creating Proof-of-Concept — while you might be in the middle of meetings that take several days, all focused on defining the solution, including a tech person can assist with live prototypes that will impress prospects and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
If I conveyed my message appropriately, the wheels are spinning and you are really thinking about the many ways that people with a tech background could contribute to a better, faster, and more efficient sales processes.
One additional benefit of having the right technical staff member is their rare ability to communicate well with both engineers and the business/sales teams; such a person does not think only as a designer or only as a developer. They are knowledgeable about everyone’s work and interests, can look at the situation from various perspectives, and connect the dots to bring the best possible deal to the table.
With that said, I encourage you to look past those stereotypes, embrace your enthusiasm and really consider adding someone with a tech background to your sales team. You will find that you can learn a lot from them, they will learn a lot from you and together, you’ll be an unbeatable force in sales.
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This article was originally published on my LinkedIn.