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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

We All Are Salespeople

A developer who sends an email to a customer to elucidate some details of proposed solution. He is a salesman.

A project manager who goes on biweekly status meeting. She is a saleswoman too.

A support engineer who answer for ticket submitted by one of clients. Guess what, he’s a salesman.

A manager of software development team who receives escalation call from disappointed customer. Surprise, surprise, she’s a saleswoman.

It doesn’t really sound as they all were salespeople but they are. Whenever we contact current or potential customers we all play role of salespeople at least a bit. It doesn’t mean we all should wear suits and have this marketing blah-blah talk ready to fire at the customer. It doesn’t mean we should all have minds set for thinking what product we could up-sell there. But it does mean people on the other side will evaluate our work as the part of current and future sale process.

We’ve done a project with them and we won’t do another.” Odds are that’s not the fault of sales representative alone, but developers or support engineers or project managers or all of them screwed their work. They failed at up-selling anything more, no matter how great their product could be.

We considered them as a company suitable for small projects only but they’ve proven their worth and now they’re one of our important vendors.” Oh, that wasn’t only the effort of key account manager responsible for that customer. Or was it?

Even when our work isn’t seen directly by the customer it works that way. If a quality engineer does a perfectly good job hunting all the glitches it will be appreciated as an effort invested into high-quality. The company will be considered as one of these which delivers quality solutions (even when they aren’t always on time) and that’s pretty important factor when customer chooses a vendor. Or at least it should be.

In this way or another we all help in selling our products. Most of the time we do that unconsciously but it doesn’t change our influence on setting new deals. We all are salespeople.

in: software business

2 comments… add one

  • johnfmoore March 28, 2009, 5:39 pm

    Great post, something that many people who do not have Sales in their title often forget.

    As the head of engineering at my company I enjoy being able to interact with customers on a regular basis and I encourage my team to remember that we are building products for our customers, helping them improve their own internal processes to become more successful businesses.

    I recently wrote a post on a pre-sales meeting where I discussed the lack of focus many companies, and individuals have, with regard on listening to their customers:


    If you have a chance, check it out and let me know what you think.



  • Pawel Brodzinski March 29, 2009, 2:46 am

    When you go to pre-sales meeting it’s a bit easier. Actually it’s about sale process. It’s much harder to remember about the thing when we’re doing our routine task: answering calls, writing email etc.

    However going to pre-sales meeting can be extremely valuable to show engineers how customer work and what kind of problems they have. It usually helps much in changing engineers approach to customer’s problems.

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