Some companies sell complex solutions that require sales reps to have an in-depth technical expertise. Also known as sales engineers, these technical sales reps are extremely knowledgeable on the details of a product or solution, but they’re not always the best at converting prospects into customers.
What many technical sales reps lack is the consultative selling skills needed to identify what a buyer wants and needs, and translate product features into benefits that align with those wants and needs.
To help your technical sales reps become more business-minded and generally successful on sales calls, follow these 3 steps:
1. Give Them a Repeatable Sales Process to Follow
Technical salespeople can be like walking encyclopedias. Their knowledge is incredibly important, but if they’re “data dumping” or “feature dumping” during a sales call, it can have a negative effect on a prospect.
A solid, repeatable sales process can help technical sales reps harness the knowledge they have in a powerful way. Here’s how:
If your sales process is buyer-focused, your sales engineers or technical reps will learn to investigate the prospect’s challenges, helping them to identify the product features that will appeal most to the buyer.
With that information, they can tell the prospect or customer exactly what they need to hear to convince them your solution is the best choice.
BONUS: Technical sales reps generally prefer systems and procedures, making it likely that they’ll embrace a sales process and follow it consistently.
2. Teach Them How to Adapt to a Buyer’s Behavior Style
The fact is, people make purchasing decisions differently. Your technical sales reps may be saying all the “right things” to a prospect, but if they’re not saying them in the “right way” it doesn’t matter.
Communicating effectively with buyers starts by helping your technical sales reps gain a greater sense of self-awareness (an assessment is a great tool for this). They’ll understand their “default” communication style—and how they can adapt it to be more effective in a selling situation.
Then, provide them with training to help them quickly identify the behavior style of their prospects and customers, and how to tailor their approach to match.
In no time they’ll be speaking your prospect’s language—and closing more deals because of it.
3. Give Them Coaching They’ll Respond to
Every salesperson is different, but generally speaking, sales reps with scientific, engineering, or technical backgrounds tend to be:
A sales leader can make coaching much more effective if they keep these traits in mind. For example:
Logical - When something new is being presented to a technical sales rep they will likely respond well to an argument that is clear, sound, and reasoned. That means their sales leaders need to provide a well-thought-out justification for anything they ask their team to do.
The old "because I said so" doesn't work for anybody, but it's especially ineffective on these salespeople.
Literal - Technical sales reps tend to take words and ideas at their absolute face-value. This means that sales leaders need to present information in an objective, factual, and non-judgmental way.
If you're using a story or case study to prove a point, don't use too much color commentary. Instead, be prepared to spell out the lesson or take-away.
Linear - Unlike many salespeople, technical salespeople tend to be highly organized and prefer methodically operating according to systems.
This orientation can go one of two ways. First, it can mean that they are consistent and follow-through on their commitments. On the other hand, it can mean that they suffer from "analysis paralysis." It's up to their sales leader to keep them on track.
An assessment tool can also be very helpful to get past communication barriers and coach in the most effective way.
With the right training and coaching, your technical sales reps can develop the skills needed to be seen as strategic advisors, not product specialists.
Improving your technical sales reps’ performance starts with helping them understand how to communicate effectively. That includes communication with you (as their coach) and selling interactions they have with prospects and customers on a daily basis.
A whole-person assessment can be a game changer here, and it’s often the most popular segment of our training programs. But seeing is believing, so try the assessment for yourself to see just how powerful it really is.