CSO Insights


What buyers want from Trusted Advisor. (that is not you sales person, its the presales guy)

What buyers want from Trusted Advisor. (that is not you sales person, its the presales guy)

  1. Educate me with new ideas or perspectives
  2. Collaborated with me
  3. Persuaded me we would achieve results
  4. Listened to me
  5. Understood my needs
  6. Helped me avoid potential pitfalls
  7. Crafted a compelling solution
  8. Depicted purchasing process accurately
  9. Connected with me personlly
  10. Overall value from the company is superior to other options

Tender Websites

Tender Websites



Aristotle triptych

Aristotle triptych

Tell them what you are going to say, say it and then tell them what you said.


  1. Tell them what you will tell them. This is your opener in which you lay out why you are speaking to the audience. Your message should be predicated on two things: what you want to say, and what the audience needs to hear. Too many presenters focus on the first half but not the second. Knowing what your audience needs to hear is critical to the leadership aspect of your message. You are there to provide direction.
  2. Tell them. This section is open ended. It is the time when you pour out all your content, and explain the details. As a leader, it is the best time for you to build your business case. Your message should ring with logic; that is, you need to emphasize the benefits of your points. But important messages also need to resonate with the heart. Put people in the position to feel why what you’re saying is important and how things will be better when they follow through with your ideas.
  3. Tell them what you just told them. Reiterate your salient points. For leaders, this is the opportunity to give people a reason to believe in your idea and in you. And then demonstrate how you and your team are the ones to deliver on the message. That is, if you are a sales person, how you will back up the product. Or if you are a CEO, how you will guide the company through troubled waters.

This is a formula but it need not be formulaic. That is you can imbue the structure with data but more importantly with your personality. Laden it with stories that amplify your points. Season it with numbers, add spice, sprinkle in humor. And relate the message to your audience.

Not only does Aristotle’s triptych work for formal presentation,


Sales Tips from HBR.org 6 Reasons Salespeople Win or Lose a Sale Article

Sales Tips from HBR.org 6 Reasons Salespeople Win or Lose a Sale Article



  1. Listen and understand and then matches solution to solve specific problem.
  2. Earn trust by making them feel comfortable and understand long-term needs.
  3. Challenges perceptions and teach new ways to solve the problem.
  4. Identify the person who will dominate the entire selection committee.
  5. Buyers aren’t necessarily fixated on the market leader and are more than willing to select second-tier competitors than one might expect.
  6. Understand your buyers preferences and previous experience and competitive landscape
    • 63% said they would select a fairly well-known brand with 85% of the functionality at 80% of the cost.
    • 33% prefer the most prestigious, best-known brand with the highest functionality and cost.
    • 5% would select a relatively unknown brand with 75% of the functionality at 60% of the cost of the best-known brand.
  7. The importance of price falls into three categories.
    1. Price conscious – product price is a top decision-making factor.
      • Example: Manufacturing, health care, real estate and fashion.
    2. Price sensitive – product price is secondary to other decision-making factors such as functionality and vendor capability.
      • Example: Banking, Technology, Consulting
    3. Price immune – price becomes an issue only when the solution they want is priced far more than the others being considered.
      • Example: Government
  8. Understanding the buyer approval processes, bureaucracy and project approval process.
  9. Match style to buyer preference:
    • Professional salesperson who knows their product inside and out but is not necessarily someone you would consider befriending
    • Friendly salesperson who is likable and proficient in explaining their product
    • Charismatic salesperson who you truly enjoyed being with but is not the most knowledgeable about their product [NB: This isn’t a option, just a by product of the industry]



Sandler Selling System

Sandler Selling System


  • Sandler Selling Rules – AH30085
three stages of a sale, Stage 1


Creating and sustaining a comfortable atmosphere in which to do business is your responsibility.

  • Develop a rapport with prospects.
  • Have a sincere desire to help them solve problems, face challenges, or achieve goals.
  • Control the selling process by establishing up-front agreements with your prospects about the progression of the selling process, and who will be responsible for what.
three stages of a sale, Stage 2


Always be qualifying.

  • Concentrate first on the degree of fit between what you have to offer and the prospect’s problem, challenge, or goal.
  • Determine if the prospect is willing and able to commit the necessary resources to acquire and use the product or service you will eventually propose.
  • Before you begin working on solutions and presentations, determine exactly how your offer will be judged—and by whom.
three stages of a sale, Stage 3


The objective of “closing” is to obtain a “yes” or “no” buying decision (or a decision to move to the next step in a multi-step decision process).

  • Closing activities only take place with prospects who have “survived” the qualifying stage and have agreed to make a decision at the conclusion of a presentation.
  • Presentations should focus only on the pains uncovered earlier in the process—nothing more; nothing less.
  • Post-Sell activities will “lock up” the sale and facilitate the transition of the relationship from buyer-seller to partners working toward a common goal of delivery.



  1. Efficiently identify and engage new prospects.

  2. Remove prospect stalls and objections from the selling landscape.

  3. Qualify stringently and close easily.

  4. Eliminate eleventh-hour negotiations or demands for concessions.

  5. Control the development process and keep it moving forward.

  6. Avoid making presentations to people who can’t make the required investment or a buying decision.


Influence Approaches for Different Personality Styles

Influence Approaches for Different Personality Styles

Pragmatic/Driver: Example – Jack Welch former CEO of GE. The pragmatic wants quick results, gets to the point, task-oriented, more controlling of others, acts first then thinks, assertive, risk taker. The best principles of influence when dealing with this personality type would be:

  • Authority – They may not care what the crowd says but prove your point with the opinion or experience of an expert or someone they respect or admire, and they’ll listen.
  • Scarcity – Drivers are successful because they win! Show them what they might lose if they don’t do what you’re asking and you’ll grab their attention.
  • Consistency – Their self-confidence makes them believe they’re right so they might seem like they stubbornly hold to an opinion. If you can tie your request to what they’ve said or done in the past your odds of success will go up.

Influencer/Expressive: Example – Oprah Winfrey. The influencer is focused on social groups and events, more in tune with people than tasks, imaginative, usually sway others, and likes innovation. The best way to engage these individuals would be using the following principles of influence:

  • Sarcity – Influencers don’t want to lose out on opportunities to move people to action. Talk about how they might lose an opportunity and you’ll have a good chance of hearing “Yes!”
  • Reciprocity – They understand how engaging with favors helps because they frequently use that tactic when they persuade. Do something for them and they’ll try to return the favor to build their network.
  • Liking – Expressive people are talkers and quite often like to talk about themselves. Pay a genuine compliment or ask about something they’re into and they appreciate you for taking interest.

Facilitator/Amiable: Example – Sandra Bullock. Facilitators like stable relationships, focus on feelings, less assertive, more people-focused, slow to change, and wants product support. The psychology of persuasion to utilize for this group would be:

  • Consensus – Because they’re so likable and want everyone to get along showing them what many others are already doing will help your case.
  • Liking – They naturally like others and want to be liked so use liking to come to know them and like them and you’ll increase your chance to influence.
  • Reciprocity – Giving small gifts, time, effort, etc. conveys thoughtfulness to the facilitator and will likely be returned in kind.

Thinker/Analytical: Example – Albert Einstein. Thinkers are task-oriented, slower to act, exert self-control, less assertive, data-oriented, prudent, systematic, logical, look to track records/trends. When dealing with this type of person you should look to use the following principles of influence:


Sales Management

Sales Management

  • Decide if the customer is the right fit for your firm
  • Ask questions to discover the problems and challenges they have
  • Monetize the impact of those problems and challenges (both time and money)
  • Find out how long they have had these problems and challenges
  • Find out what else they’ve tried to address these problems and challenges
  • Get the prospective customer to agree that they have these problems and challenges and that they are significant enough to continue the conversation
  • Discover who else at the prospect’s company cares about these problems and challenges
  • Find out how they make decisions and bring on new vendors
  • Ask questions to understand the decision timeline
  • Ask questions to understand the competitive context (not just other potential providers, but also other priorities in their organization, or worse, the decision to do nothing)
  • Find out if they have the money to invest in a potential solution
  • Find out if they are willing to make the case to get money if it’s not in the budget
  • Get the prospect to agree to make a timely decision upon receiving a proposal
  • Draft the proposal, considering all of the information previously discovered
  • Present the proposal
  • Ask for the business
  • Finalize the terms and conditions
  • On-board the client for a successful engagement or project
  • And then start all over on the next problem, issue or challenge
  • Are you aware of the approval and key influencers?
  • Business Owners – Optimized Business outcomes
  • IT Director – Increased IT Functionality and Business Continuity
  • CIO – Lower TCO
    1. What are the defined Customer objectives?
    2. List the win themes?
    3. What is the customers Compelling event to buy?
    4. Have you drafted a Customer-focussed value proposition?
    5. What benefits will the customer gain?
    6. Have we demonstrated our capability?
    7. Have we minimised ours and the Customers risk?
    8. What are the proof points? 

Technical Selling

I find the Consulting and Selling side of my job the most interesting, becoming a trusted consultant for highly critical Technical Solutions. So this is just a place holder for my research into selling. Its all about telling the truth and listening.. Of course backing that up with deep technical knowledge and applying  that to a technical solution to achieve business objectives.

Making the sale (EXAMPLE)

Vivek Gupta thrives on identifying discomfort. “You have to understand their pain points,” he says of his customers. “And they’re not going to spell them out.” Several years ago he had a fruitless first meeting with a sales prospect at a wireless telecom. Though the prospect said he was perfectly happy with his current partners, Gupta asked if he could study the business anyway, no strings attached. First, he dropped by the company’s switching center in Mumbai and chatted with the engineers on the floor. One mentioned that the microwave radios the company used to transmit call signals from one tower to the next weren’t as reliable as he’d like. In his next conversation, Gupta mentioned he’d heard microwave radios were a problem. Figuring Gupta was in the know, this second engineer confided that the problem was serious: Six or seven times each week the network was effectively crashing. Gupta had found his pain point.
At the same time, he began compiling a dossier on his prospect: The man had two grown children, his wife taught public school, and they lived in Delhi. One evening when they were scheduled to go to the same industry event, Gupta offered to pick the guy up at home, knowing that, as is the custom, he would be invited in for tea. That night Gupta kept things light. But two months after the initial sales snub, he made a second call to the man, now a friendly acquaintance, explaining the problem with the microwave radios and offering a relatively inexpensive fix. A small contract for microwave radios led, within a year, to other deals worth $100 million.
Selling to the C-Suite – Great Book and resources from author websites..
How to Become a Rainmaker – Good biginner book. Bit hard to read not a very thought our book..
Presentations tips
Selling Books


  • Introduction to Whiteboarding attach
  • Take your own Pens and Plan Notebook
  • Give a Pen to your customer at the begin to prove it is interactive..
  • Firstly, if you want to influence anyone, the best method is good old conversation and relationship building. (Without any white rabbits. ) Only use powerpoints or diagrams or whiteboards as a big reveal. )Think Steve Jobs)
  • Draw the Customer Infrastructure
    1. Ask how Each Component is setup in the customer site. HQ/ DR Site, Branch Office and then write down on the side what services or solutions you can provide
    2. If you are trying to sell them Backup or DR, as them how they existing architecture and draw it up.. This takes allot of practice, get the customer to participate
  • Articulate Value Proposition in a compelling and confident manner
  • Confident on competitive knowledge
  • Close for Next steps
  • Communicate for Closing
  • Ask for next steps or deal
  • Demo Demos Demos
  • Convert PowerPoints to Whiteboard
  • Communicate without slides
  • Ownership and confidence in the solutions
  • Persuade with confidence
  • People pick up un-consoulily on confidence
  • Communicate without slides
  • People retain 20% of what is presented
  • Compelling and consistent
  • Interactive
  • People pay attention to movement in the visual field
  • When people write they brains are engaged and connect to the message
  • Learn th Story and absorb in Story form
  • Tell Story and get participation
  • Teach the customer how to present
  • Tips for presenting Body language- https://hbr.org/2017/04/6-ways-to-look-more-confident-during-a-presentation

Pre-Sales / Sales Engineer

Pre-Sales / Sales Engineer

Taking a closer look at Pre Sales / Sales Engineer role..

Types of Presales People;

  1. The Technical Guru
  2. The Educator
  3. The Smooth Talker
  4. The Time Traveller – You need to have extensive experience in your field so you can help customer navigate the future solutions and guide them to avoid any pitfalls. This is also a great way to become the Trusted Advisor


My analogy of what it takes to be a of Presales Engineer:

A Presales engineer has the experience of building the great wall of china and then be able to accurately quote Genghis khan how many bricks it takes to build another one and if you are wrong your head gets cut off.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

PreSales / Sales Engineer – Titles are given to a position supporting Sales Reps in the ICT market.

In a recent Sales Kick off PreSales manager commented – “See those PreSales guys, rub their bellies and gold coins will fall out.”

PreSales plays a crucial role in complex technology solutions sales and the market is starting to realise the importance of these highly skilled experienced professionals to help maximize revenue for the company.

PreSales is part of the Solutions Design process, I want to take a closer look at the role of a Sales Engineer and describe what are the required skills for this type of role.

Sales Engineers are usually paid a base salary and commission  OTE (on target earnings.)

Using Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality types as a rough measure, engineers may fall into the INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judgment), bracket, while sales people may occupy the ESTP (Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) category.

  • A high energy level.
  • A strong personality.
  • A positive attitude.

They have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed.

Edited from – http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141202041137-3337756-why-i-love-sales-engineering?trk=object-title

The best sales engineers balance strong sales skills and business awareness with deep technical know-how. They have experience with what works and what doesn’t.

Sales Engineers must get the confidence of the customer buy demonstrating background and experience and deep understanding of the customer issues and experience with achieving similar outcomes.  A great way to achieve this is by telling your own war story of working on the customer side.

While the sales rep is often portrayed as a lone wolf on a personal struggle, sales engineers must conduct a symphony. They must interweave a delicate balance of internal and external relationships – connecting with developers, product managers, customer decision makers, vendors, partners, support and operations.

Sales Engineer play a central role in any organization selling technology to customers. Using a strong understanding of the marketplace, they translate customer desires in a way that can be understood by marketing, product management, development. They understand the difference between a competitive landmine and a genuine business driven need, and can help sales navigate that road.

A competent sales engineer has a combination of good sales and technical skills, but mastery involves developing a tremendous number of broad personal skills. Being able to deliver compelling presentations for sales calls and large audiences is a necessity. The understanding to ask effective discovery questions to get to the root of business needs and pain is a must. Developing a strong knowledge of the customer business and verticals, and learning to recognize common challenges and solutions is mandatory. Effective time management skills to balance the incredible variety of tasks and assignments cannot be overlooked. They must drive business in a focused way rather than by happenstance. Having a knack for developing strong trusted advisor relationships both with customers and internal stakeholders is key. A passion and drive to develop the skills of the surrounding sales team can only help them understand how to better position products and solutions. All this is just the tip of the iceberg on a life long journey of self-development and growth to truly master the role.


  1. The MacGyver bag. All of those pieces needed to ensure a demo works all go somewhere. Coming in empty handed because a small laptop bag couldn’t hold extras is an SE faux pas.
  2. Malcolm Gladwell-like storytelling. If you’ve read one of his books you know what this means. For those of you that haven’t, I can only summarize as “the ability to call up a relatable and instructive story to support a position.”
  3. Laptop stickers. Come on, an SE has to have stickers all over his laptop.
  4. Software swiss army knife. I love watching the best SEs effortless using half a dozen software tools to accentuate the right parts of their demos. Tools that clear dirty desktops. Programs that improve screen contracts. Keyboard prestidigitation that zooms into tiny fonts.
  5. Meeting Generalship. I borrow this from the prize fight scoring factor, “ring generalship”. For boxing this is defined as “such points as the ability to quickly grasp and take advantage of every opportunity offered, the capacity to cope with all kinds of situations which may arise; to foresee and neutralize an opponent’s method of attack; to force an opponent to adopt a style of boxing at which he is not particularly skillful.” Think of this as a metaphor for dealing with a hostile room during a customer call and you’ve got the right idea.
  6. The cool toy. Why is it that the best SEs always bust out some awesome toy that draws oohs and ahhs from the attendees? Last week my colleague did this with a Logitech Spotlight. If you’ve not seen one you’ve got to check it out.


30,60,90 Sales Plans