The Human Side of Selling Technology
Four months into my position as a Sales Development Representative at Relus Cloud, and it still baffles me that I’ve made it this far. Coming from a marketing background, I think it’s safe to say technology and I haven’t really mixed well. My first couple of weeks on the job I’d definitely say “drinking from a fire hydrant” was an understatement. I was trying to get a grasp on all of the concepts, tools, and technologies both within my organization and in the IT world. In general, it seemed nearly impossible at the time.
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to at least get my hands dirty, I can confidently say that I am nowhere near a technology expert; however, that is absolutely fine. In my journey so far, here are a few of the things I’ve learned when talking tech to C-level executives in IT.
1. Don’t Fake It
It’s definitely okay to not have the answer to every question asked over the phone. What could end up hurting you in the long run is acting like you do. No one likes a know-it-all, especially when they don’t actually know anything. Staying humble in these types of conversations and admitting that you’re still learning isn’t a weakness. It makes you relatable, vulnerable, and can take you from being just another cold caller to having an actual human connection. So, instead of just spitting out buzzwords like Big Data and DevOps at someone, I’ve learned to just have a conversation.
2. Get People Involved
Sir Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants.” In the workplace, you are surrounded by resources. Your peers, leaders, and co-workers can all provide you with insights that you take with you. Make an effort to go talk to the technical team including developers, solutions architects, and engineers. It will make you more comfortable having those advanced, technical conversations over the phone because you’ve had similar conversations with your colleagues. I believe that surrounding myself with people that are in the technical frontlines makes a huge difference in the way I absorb information and learn.
3. Try Your Best to Continue Learning
Learning about all things IT is almost like trying to learn a new language in some ways. Your brain isn’t going to ingest that type of information over night. It takes time. A lot of us are used to hearing a concept once or twice and being able to completely understand it. That just isn’t the case in IT. Every day I have to apply and re-apply myself to break down the same concepts, yet I am still barely scratching the surface. Repetition and trusting in the process are key to success. I’ve given up on the idea that I can just read and immediately comprehend. I no longer let technology intimidate me, but instead approach it with an open mind every day.
Overall, selling is an art, not a science. Find what works for you and keep on pushing!