On Dec 14, 2007, at 9:24 PM, Lynn Fredricks wrote:

That's true. A lot of those kinds of sales presentations are correctly
targeted at decision makers that make financial decisions. I don't consider it a bad thing - it's really a necessity to be competitive. The bear in the
woods isnt evil, he's just hungry like the other bears :-)

It is bad for the company you are selling to because the wrong people are making these product decisions within these companies and it is clear that these sales presentations take advantage of that. It is potentially bad for your company if your product is not suitable for their needs and you successfully sell it to them; you may endanger your company's reputation. While you are not responsible for the structure of any company you sell to, you are responsible for your own integrity. Making the claim that you're just doing what everyone else is does not absolve you or your salespeople of this responsibility. Your analogy about bears and competition tells me you and your salespeople might feel justified using tactics that give used car salesmen a bad name. A more appropriate analogy is to say that you would take candy from a child because you can, or that you would you sell a sub-prime mortgage to a borrower you know is not credit-worthy so you can earn a higher commission. If you knowingly convince decision makers who do not have the skills to make such decisions to buy products that are not appropriate to their needs, it is essentially the same thing. I would not trust any company that is afraid to sell to my engineering department.

I think what you are seeing is evolution of the software industry. It really isnt necessary for there to be such an extreme split between engineering and management - and by evolution I mean that engineering has to adapt to a tighter relationship with management, or they are destined to have their roles outsourced. Noone should know the product than its own engineers, and its those who can bridge that divide that will be running the engineering
and IT departments.

It is not the role of management to understand the engineering details or decisions, but to understand the impact that those decisions have in their own role of providing and managing the resources that their engineers and others need so they can build the best products possible at the lowest cost and sell them to their customers. Managers rightfully step in where there are resource issues or constraints, but they have no business making the technical decisions on component selection where the complexity of integration of those components is high and the resource constraints are not at issue. If a company's own engineers do not understand their own products I fail to see how managers can step in and make better engineering decisions.

It would be ideal if engineers could explain things in ways that managers could understand, but engineers are usually hired for their engineering skills, not their marketing or sales skills; to then say it is engineering's own fault that they cannot compete against professional salespeople and marketers is disingenuous. There are engineers who can bridge the gap fairly well and maybe they are or will be the ones running the engineering and IT departments, but the implicit assumption that it is management's role to make technical selection decisions still remains and it is that assumption that must be challenged. If it is true that management requires a tighter relationship with engineering in order to be successful, then it is beyond me how outsourcing those engineering roles could lead to that outcome.

The best feedback you will get to improve your product will be from the engineers in your customer's companies; the managers can only help you improve your ability to persuade other managers, but improving your sales pitch won't improve your product. It is your engineering department's responsibility to create a relationship with the engineering departments of the companies you sell to; doing this can create potential supporters within the engineering department of your customer's company and an understanding of where and how your product falls short and can be improved.

Any manager who overrules their engineers on technical selections is not making wise financial or product decisions and is not doing what is in the best interests of their company. That it happens all the time and that salespeople take advantage of this does not make it ethical or beneficial to anyone, even though it may look beneficial to the seller in the short term.


To unsubscribe, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Reply via email to