TRUSTED ADVISOR PROGRAM
Using this program we have: Reduced RFPs from Strategic Accounts by 53%, reduced discounts by 4%, increased our Nett Promoter Score by 15%, increased deal sizes by 19% and experienced 100% Sales Engineer retention rates.Vice President, Global Presales (Software)
Becoming a Trusted Advisor
It is not as simple as it sounds, which is why so many organizations either never try, or make a half-hearted effort.
Trusted Advisor – two words, five syllables and fifteen letters hide a massive complexity. For the first time ever, there is now a workshop specifically designed to start the Sales Engineering organization on the journey to becoming a Trusted Advisor.
To learn more – read the article John wrote about the reality of becoming a Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer. Here is an excerpt.
Looking For The Book?
Looking for The Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer eBook or the downloadable support files that go with the book? They’re on the Book Page!
Go to the Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer eBook Page
What Are The Characteristics Of A Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer?
A good starting point is the definition used by Charles Green in The Trusted Advisor. He defined trust as measured by Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy and Self-Orientation. It’s worth defining these as they relate to an SE. Mathematically you want high scores in C,R and I and a low score in S! We added a “P” at the end to account for Positivity and to get a cool mnemonic – CRISP
The great thing about being an SE is that you automatically bring some credibility to the sales situations. When you and the sales person are together then you are the one who is likely to be considered as more credible because you are not “that sales guy”. You can further break this down by evaluating are you believable at the time you speak/act, and are you ultimately proved “right”? One of the biggest “C” traps is feeling that you have to prove your value every minute you are in a meeting. Sometimes the best credibility comes from listening very hard, and then speaking.
Years ago, I went to a management class back in England and I was taught about DAYS – Do As You Say. That acronym has stayed with me ever since. If you are serious about becoming a T/A then it is not too hard for you to live up to your commitments and honor your word. What proves difficult is when other people in your organization impact the reliability measure. You can promise an answer in 24 hours, yet if Product Management does not get back to you – then you are stranded.
Intimacy measures how well you know and understand the customer, both personally and professionally. It does not mean that you know the name of her husband, children and favorite coffee drink (it may help), but that you do understand their personal wins, their feelings about any situation/sale. In essence, it is all about my initial point in the article about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. The intimacy also extends to the business issues, as the #1 thing most mid to senior level executives expect from a vendor’s presales organization is someone who understands their business.
This measures how much you are thinking about yourself and your company versus the customers wins. When you find yourself thinking about selling instead of solving, of quota instead of discovery questions, or of transactions instead of long-term strategy – then that is a high S. I feel this is the hardest characteristic for an SE to adopt in a sales-driven culture given the pressures they will be under.
P – Positivity
We all know those people who spend their time looking for problems and issues as opposed to a healthy balance, which includes opportunities and innovation. You can be a T/A with a low “P” score – many finance, legal and medical professionals fit into that category. So, unfortunately do many SE’s – particularly when speaking with their sales counterparts. When you point out the yellow and red lights in an opportunity, highlight the greens as well. The same applies to working with your clients.
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