Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Some engineers can make great salesmen. (Score 2) 331

When I call my major vendors, I have a single main sales contact. This person is usually pretty darn smart about what people need and want. When we get to some details that he/she can't answer, they set up a conference with a technical lead (who may or may not also be in sales). While this conference occurs, I can tell that the primary salesman is taking hardcore notes and prepping up so he doesn't have to waste the engineer's time again on this particular subject. I've watched a good amount of these salespeople learn and grow until they no longer need to consult with anyone else.

As a customer, a salesman's admitted lack of knowledge doesn't hurt. In fact it helps strengthen our relationship because he's not only honest, but he still has the ability to point me towards someone who does know. In contrast, I quickly drop salesmen that completely bluff with high confidence (these can lead to expensive mistakes, especially in terms of volume licensing if the vendor blows it).

During lunches and other casual chats, the really good salespeople are genuinely curious about what motivates me and what is exciting me about the direction of our company. This isn't just idle chit chat - they're boning up on their knowledge. Just last week a vendor asked me "What tech news sites do you read?" and proceeded to bust out his notepad and write them down. And some of those special sales/tech pros I talk to are actually sales people that used to be engineers, but love the interaction and incentives of sales. They weren't failed engineers. They were looking for a new challenge with a potential for higher rewards, and they were extremely well equipped to earn those rewards because of their knowledge. The age old adage of "engineers are socially awkward" doesn't always stand true.

That being said:

1. Don't touch your engineers at first. Leave them in their current positions.
2. Start by coordinating some method of training your sales team on the product - connect them with engineers for a while, or get them reading materials. Do this tactfully and lean heavily towards rewarding the engineering team. If your sales team comes off as a bunch of scavengers with no respect for engineering and only want to leech enough to make profits for themselves, your engineers will probably feed them the wrong info and laugh over it later. Prep your sales team accordingly, and reward your engineers accordingly. Engineering will be doing you a huge favor here, don't screw it up.
3. Also set up a way to bring in engineering knowledge on special sales calls. Provide some sort of incentive to engineers and/or an inter-departmental billing process for sales support (when the sales guy calls on the engineer for a conference call). This measures potential abuse of engineering's time from your sales staff and tells a story to management of why engineering projects might not be chugging along as quickly. Also allows you to measure the proficiency of your salesmen (the # of calls should decrease over time for each salesman, and you can figure out the average training time until a new salesman is effective).
4. With the metrics of #3 in hand, you should be able to gage how many full time engineers might be needed for the sales team. Meanwhile you can feel out which of your engineers enjoy this new consulting duty, and see if you can't transition them to a full time sales role (provided they aren't all senior engineers whose salaries would destroy the sales margin).
5. Once you transition any engineers over, they are now officially in the sales group as "product experts" or something of the sort. Get them out of engineering, make a clean break from their old jobs, and start providing them with the same sales incentives as others (if you already haven't been giving them a percentage for their previous consulting). They won't turn into some greedy self-serving salesmen nightmares. If they worked on the products before, they're going to trust and have faith in the product enough to be solid salesmen.
6. Treat those previous engineers nicely and reward appropriately. They will be key players in your new sales process and may even be part of your higher paid sales staff. If your junior salesmen are making all the profits while your product experts are doing all the heavy lifting, they're going to drop you quick and move back into a safe and solid engineering role.

There's a lot of room for leverage in this plan, but the gist is to get an educated sales team that believes in the product, help sales & engineering make friends, and possibly nab a few pros into your court. Certain types of engineers can really shine in this mode.

Comment Re:Are you serious? (Score 1) 465

Clearly you've never used another GUI. The trash can in Ubuntu isn't a draggable icon - it rests on a panel and is about 5x smaller than a Windows Recycle Bin.

The numerous comments of "I use Shift-Delete" and "I just remove the bin" messages are proving I'm not alone here. Metaphorically speaking, people don't leave their trash cans in their living rooms in plain sight - and if they did, they'd probably clean them more frequently. Instead they put them under the sink / in the closet.

Comment Re:Shift+Delete (Score 1) 465

In terms of UI, I have to agree. My recycle bin has been much more useful in Ubuntu than Windows. Why? Because OCD or not - In Windows you have a trash can sitting right there in front of you waiting to be emptied (or "cleaned" if you will). I probably clean my recycle bin in Windows 2 or 3 times a day. In Ubuntu, I hardly notice it because sits quietly in the lower right corner.

In Windows, I have maybe the last 4 hours of data. In Ubuntu, I have the last 4 months. Definitely a use case in terms of UI improvement for myself.

Comment Re:ehh.. (Score 1) 428

Different strokes for different folks. I took the same two classes online (intro to pol sci and business writing) and loved them. For me it was faster to read and do homework than sit through a lecture...then go home and read the same material and do homework. A little tough to work past the distractions (age 21 at the time), but definitely doable.

Submission + - King's Quest Returns - Activision stops threats (

arcticstoat writes: Guybrush Threepwood and Sam & Max have already been resurrected into the new world of episodic adventure games, and the feather-capped King Graham of Daventry is now also about to embark on his first outing since the 1990s. Created by fans of the original series at Phoenix Online, The Silver Lining sees King Graham pointing and clicking his way throug a quest to rescue his children Rosella and Alexander from a curse. However, after Vivendi merged with Activision, The Silver Lining caught the attention of Activision's legal team who issued the developers with a cease and desist order. A gaming media backlash ensued across the Web, with King's Quest fans berating Activision for its needlessly heavy-handed tactics. However, after receiving plenty of media attention and even a 3,000-signature petition, Activision has now done the honourable thing. "Activision reached out to the Phoenix Online team a few months ago with a desire to revisit their decision regarding The Silver Lining," said the game's developer in a statement. "After negotiations, the C&D [cease and desist] has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining!" The first episode will be available to download for free from 10 July this year.

Comment Marketing + Consumer Idiocy = Profit! (Score 2, Insightful) 467

Oh geez, I'm gonna have to explain things to my Mom after she gets the following notice in the mail:

"Great news! Our engineers have invented an amazing new technology called IPv6 that NONE OF OUR COMPETITORS HAVE: More addresses! Greater speed! Less lag! New HD content never before available! OMG this new technology called VOIP works over it! Perform online backups! And enjoy the $20 increase to your monthly bill!

That or Obama launches a "Rebates for Routers" program - 6 months AFTER I purchase an IPv6 device.

Slashdot Top Deals

Any given program will expand to fill available memory.