Sales for Techies

Forbes has a good article with sales advice for techies.

Take Emcien, a fledgling company started at the Advanced Technology Development Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The company's powerful algorithms help large automobile and construction equipment makers manage inventory costs by anticipating demand for products, right down to the last available option (say, heated seats or illuminated cup holders). "It's a nerdy, engineering kind of solution," says Chief Executive Radhika Subramanian, who previously sold a company that wrote maintenance-scheduling software for airlines.

Just one problem with all that number crunching: "Our [typical] buyer is the VP of marketing, and he knows nothing about technology," she says. (Most large manufacturers "build to stock," which means that the marketing department is responsible for moving the inventory; other companies such as Dell build to order.)

There is one thing this article is missing – target your customers with laser-like focus and you can avoid lots of these problems to begin with. Sometimes salespeople, particularly entrepreneurs, throw out this broad net to see what they can catch. It's a good idea to do from time to time, because sometimes you find that your target customer isn't who you think it is. But overall, it's a bad strategy. Spend the time upfront to research potential customers and figure out who most needs your product and is most open to it. Put in that work on the front end, and it will save you from some headaches down the road.

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