You cajole, compensate, threaten and throw your hands up in the air trying to get sales teams to collaborate productively and profitably with engineering teams.
- It’s a matter of how these professionals problem-solve.
- It’s a matter of how these professionals communicate.
- It’s a matter of professional bias and baggage.
- It’s a matter of creating an enlightened workforce hiring strategy.
Do you have a technical workforce hiring strategy? Chances are you don’t have one that’s focused on collaboration between two employee personas that can appear to be as different as oil and water.
These talented professionals have more in common with each other than you – and they – think. However, when your hiring processes and onboarding strategies reinforce professional differences, instead of similarities, no one ever liberates themselves from their departmental fiefdoms long enough to make a cross-functional friend.
Sales engineering collaboration is based on recognition of differences in problem-solving.
Sales people tend to think more qualitatively than quantitatively. They react rather than sit back and listen and observe. They rush the process (and often the sale). They are uncomfortable with data. They lack professional self-confidence when working with or selling to technical decision makers. They are extremely social and gregarious.
IT and manufacturing engineers tend to think more quantitatively than qualitatively. They make data- and observation-based decisions, rather than assuming anything. They were taught to ponder (sometimes interminably from the perspective of sales teams). They utilize the scientific method to validate (with data-driven support materials) every aspect of every conversation.
Sales engineering collaboration focuses on defining these differences in problem-solving and educating everyone on how to make more informed, data-driven decisions when solving problems.
Is this aspect built into your workforce hiring, onboarding and employee engagement strategy?
Sales engineering collaboration is based on recognition of differences in communication.
Sales people tend to communicate with business buzz words which sound shallow and often incomprehensible to their technical peers. Technical professionals communicate using highly specified engineering and mathematical terminology which sounds intimidating and incomprehensible to their sales peers.
When these two professionals are involved in not-very-well facilitated meetings, everyone sticks to their own kind. They throw around their respective professional lingo like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party. Everyone is busy showing off how smart they are. You and I have attended all too many painful and completely unproductive meetings like this.
Sales engineering collaboration focuses on establishing a set of common terminology that is readily understood by everyone throughout the organization. Why limit collaboration to your sales and engineering professionals?
Does your current workforce hiring, onboarding and employee engagement strategy reinforce professional dysfunction or cross-functional collaboration?
Sales engineering collaboration is based on recognition of personal and professional bias and baggage.
You all bring bias to the workplace, based on how and where you were brought up, your level of education, your social and professional experiences, your word choices and how you were trained to solve problems and communicate.
Your own personal and professional biases impact, both positively and negatively, how you interact with workforce colleagues and various personas. Your own personal and professional biases and baggage impact how you collaborate within various corporate cultures.
Many sales people don’t feel they are smart enough to collaborate with engineering teams. Most engineering teams feel they are too intelligent to bother with sales and business processes.
Sales engineering collaboration starts with workforce-wide self-recognition of that type of personal and professional garbage. Cease dragging it into the workplace each day.
Professional bias and baggage is a major barrier to cross-functional collaboration. It is best addressed early and often throughout your corporate culture.
Does your current workforce hiring, onboarding and employee engagement strategy reinforce professional bias and baggage that keeps employees from collaborating productively and profitably?
Sales engineering collaboration is based on innovative workforce hiring strategy.
People do business with people they understand: customer acquisition. People continue to do business with people they understand: customer retention.
Sales engineering collaboration is your ground zero. You need sellers to drive revenue through your organization. You need engineers to drive throughput and output through your organization. When sellers and engineers don’t understand each other, revenue creation is negatively impacted. The size, complexity and length of won deals is smaller. Project management and quality is not quite what it should be.
The workforce hiring strategy choice is yours. Will you continue to reinforce the differences between your employees? Or will you focus on sales engineering collaboration to drive business growth and customer retention?
Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist and coach. She is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. Babette has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical employees. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.
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