Engineering CEOs should Pass Sales & Marketing 101 Before Chasing Revenue from Global Businesses and Other Large Organizations
Technology companies headed up by engineering management usually need to undergo a “rethink” on certain basic assumptions about products, markets and sales. I include in these basic assumptions at least the following three seriously incorrect assumptions:
- My product is unique. If global business prospects do not realize that my product is unique, then they are not capable of understanding what my product offers
- I do not need to market and/or sell my product. The value that my product delivers is clearly superior. I will use opportunities to interact with prospects to determine whether or not a prospect has the minimum qualifications required to use my product
- My job, and the job of my engineers, is to conceptualize, design and produce technology. Once we have done our job, then we will pass our creation over to marketing who, in turn, will pass the creation with its market message over to sales
Let’s set the record straight on each of these erroneous assumptions. With regard to (1), as Marshall McLuhan (the seminal force in twentieth century marketing as far as I’m concerned) made clear, “The Medium is the Message.” McLuhan’s conclusion is, in my opinion, synonymous with the old cliche, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”. In other words, how you frame your statement is, effectively, your statement. Scary thought. Nevertheless, keeping this conclusion in mind throughout an ongoing effort to produce lucid marketing communications (whether for offline product promotion, online search optimization efforts, or face to face interactions with prospects and customers) that is accurately crafted to deliver your message to the lowest common denominator for your intended audience is absolutely mandatory. Therefore, if prospects still are not hearing your message correctly post marketing communications efforts, then there is something broken in your marketing communications efforts that needs to be fixed right away. Opacity of message is not a problem to be taken lightly. Fix it now or your product, service, etc will wither on the vine.
Point 2 incorporates the points I have made in the above paragraph with regard to erroneous assumption (1), and then some. Any/all products and services need to be marketed and sold. The erroneous assumption that marketing and sales are not critical components to building a business that delivers technical products and solutions to global businesses and other large organizations stems from one in a million success stories like the rise of Microsoft®, which grew from some completely reactive conclusions of two engineers on an immediate and fleeting opportunity into the mammoth company of today. The lack of big picture market vision that was missing from the early business building work of Messrs Gates and Allen is, in my opinion, at the root of this company’s diminishing stature in the global business technology market. Bottom line: marketing and sales are mission critical components of the business plan and need to be in place from commencement of efforts to build the business, period. Further, any and all prospects represent opportunities that must be qualified. Once qualified, the opportunities need to be nurtured through to purchases by sales staff capable of managing global business prospects.
With regard to point 3, it is pointless to build “solutions without problems”. Do not waste precious time dreaming up market needs that are neither apparent, nor tested by competitors, etc. Going down paths “not traveled” is dangerous for technology businesses with limited developmental budgets. Product Marketing must be in place from the moment product ideas are evaluated for worthiness of investment. If a CEO is not capable of providing product marketing due diligence, then either an outside professional consultant with the right credentials should be brought in, or staff hired to fill the void. Proceeding on product development without marketing is, I fear, a ticket to a possible disaster.
I specialize in these types of discussions. If you have a technology product with some broad market appeal for global businesses and other large organizations, I’d like to hear from you. Give me a call at +1 631-673-2929.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved