Earlier, we had an excellent guest post from The Cranky Sales Engineer. The Cranky Product Manager thought much of it was brilliant, but nevertheless some parts irritated her. Enough that the Cranky Product Manager’s response takes TWO posts. This is part 1.
Let’s start with this paragraph:
3. Do not tell the Cranky Sales Engineer how excited you are about the future—The Cranky Sales Engineer makes money selling real things that exist today…
OK, Cranky Sales Engineer. The Cranky Product Manager is more than happy to oblige. No excitement — promise! She’ll get up in front of a class of SEs and say she thinks the future BLOWS CHUNKS. (Oh wait, are desperation and panic forms of excitement?)
But that’s not what you meant, Cranky Sales Engineer, is it?
So maybe you’re suggesting the Cranky Product Manager forgo the roadmap presentation? No problem, the Cranky Product Manager is happy to comply…. but only if YOU AND THE REST OF THE SALES DROIDS PROMISE YOU WON’T ASK FOR THE ROADMAP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.
Yup, you got it — one of the main reasons the roadmap preso is in Sales Kickoff is because you Sales Droids ASK FOR IT — nay, DEMAND IT. And if you don’t want it now, you’ll definitely want it in a few months. Because you want to know what’s coming up, jackass. Don’t pretend you don’t. Seriously. The Cranky Product Manager has NEVER met a Sales Engineer who didn’t want to know what was planned for the product. Ever. Get over yourself, already.
And hats off to you for wanting to sell what exists today. That makes you a rarity among Sales Droids. Really.
When simple features are missing or broken today, do not tell the Cranky Sales Engineer that they will be fixed in 2010 unless you want the Cranky Sales Engineer to start selling your product in 2010.
Guess what? EVERY product has missing and broken features*. As a Sales Engineer, you might have no idea, and your stomach might churn when you hear the truth**, but many mature, industry-leading products regularly ship with well over 10K known bugs and feature requests. Yep. (Don’t tell the customers.)
So if you want to wait until everything is fixed before you start selling, well you might want to look for a new profession.
Next objectionable paragraph:
6. Do not have more than seven words on a slide
You gotta be kidding. This is not a Guy Kawasaki-style psych-up speech. This is heavy, technical content that you need to know cold. The content cannot be found anywhere else. It’s stuff you’ll want to refer to later. 7 words per slide is not appropriate and not adequate.
Ok, ok. In theory, this MIGHT work if people typically remembered 100% of a presentation instead of just 10%. And it might work if the Cranky Sales Engineer and the rest of the Droids didn’t show up to PM presentations late/drunk/hungover, or if they didn’t just skip the presentations altogether.
As a result of the above, plus an SE turnover rate that matches fruit flies, you Sales Droids NEED slides that you can read later, that have enough content for you to learn with out a voice-over.
Don’t suggest that the Cranky PM record the presentation — she tested that idea and has hard data proving that printable PPTs are more effective and more used than recordings.
(To be continued…. see the next post.)
* In enterprise software, at least. The Cranky Product Manager appreciates that several industries (medical, government, hardware) have much higher quality standards, but she assumes the Cranky Sales Engineer would not be bitching about a released product being broken if he were in those industries.
** Rest assured, the Cranky Product Manager also feels physically ill when looking at the huge-osity of the bug list.