Collaborative relationships start at home. They are instrumental in driving revenue for your company and your customers’ companies as well. How would you rate your own company culture, in terms of creating and promoting collaborative relationships across the sales-engineering interface®?
No matter how large or small your own company is, or whether you are a company-of-one, or a startup, your own business model will either encourage or scuttle the value of collaborative relationships. While your customers’ business models may not be as enlightened, your ability to lead through collaboration will be a differentiator in the long run.
The concept of collaborative relationships may be obvious to some of you. However, there are more than enough established companies and nascent startups comprised of IT and engineering staff with an attitude. Yes, we all acknowledge that you are the smartest folks in the room. However, the people with money, your investors and customers, want to do business with companies who foster collaborative relationships. That could be the difference between early-adopters and mass market traction for your products, platforms and services.
When your corporate culture is based on collaborative relationships, both internal and external, there’s no room for rock star sales people who are enamored with their ability to win business by creating unrealistic customer expectations on price, timeline and deliverables. Perhaps you foster internal collaboration by having your sales people spend at least one hour a week working in-house with their favorite engineer. By listening to the types of questions and conversations you both have with the customers, you create an additive and valuable cross-functional skill set.
The future of engineering-intensive manufacturing may just be in the development of a workforce characterized by hybridized, interdisciplinary, technically-oriented business development experts. Now that’s a mouthful.This workforce will be coming out of the engineering schools and graduate schools, vocational schools and high schools. This workforce will be created by the necessity of the new economic paradigm and the ability of management to communicate this vision to their employees.Whoever can learn to understand the dynamics of technical and sales processes – and communicate them internally and externally to customers -will have a leg up on the competition.
How would you rate your own company culture, in terms of creating and promoting collaborative relationships across the sales-engineering interface®?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? is now available in eReader format and focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools.