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B2B Technology Sales Defined

Selling technology in a business to business (B2B) environment means selling to technical audiences. Common examples might include:

  • Selling OEM Software to Engineers who will use the software’s application programming interface (API) to integrate it into their end product.
  • Selling integrated circuits (ICs) to hardware engineers designing technology products like TVs or Weapons systems or MP3 Players.
  • Selling development tools like compilers, debuggers, logic analyzers or network traffic analyzers.

The types of products and scenarios are legion, but the unifying factor is that the sales team needs to have a deep understanding of the underlying technology that they are selling.

The Team

In B2B technology sales, teams are typically comprised of an account manager who is responsible for the sales and business aspects of the deal, and an application engineer who is responsible for the technical portion of the sale.

The Sales Cycle

The sales process for technology products, tends to run from several weeks to many months depending on the complexity of the product and it’s overall impact on an organization. An on site¬†technology demonstration, followed by a detailed product evaluation are usually required before a sale is made.

The Stakes are High

One of the most important aspects of the the technology sale is that it is often more important for the technical buyer to make the right choice than it is to get the best price.

The reason for this atypical behavior is that technology products often become an integral part of the user’s process or products. If a prospect buys a tool with the expectation that the tool will improve and optimize a process, they need to realize these benefits. Products that do not work as advertised can scuttle a project and result in layoffs or even failure of a start up.

If an engineer selects an integrated circuit for a design it is crucial that the part meets specifications and that the vendor can deliver the part on time. Missed deliveries or poor quality can ruin an engineering schedule and incur costly redesigns.

Tiny Projector for Sales Presentations From 3M Very Cool

Tiny Projector For Sales Presentations

Tiny Projector For Sales Presentations

I just saw the 3M-MPRO 110 projector from 3M and it is very interesting. It looks like the perfect package for road warriors who do sales presentations and demos and is priced well under many portable projectors. Here is a link to the 3M demo site: http://www.3mmpro.com/demo.aspx

It looks to me like the big issue will be the lumen level (brightness). At 7-9 lumens it will be tough to see without turning out the lights. It can do 1280 X 768 so it should be able to handle most software demos petty well. I’m getting my order in today, how about you?

Technology Glossary for B2B Sales

Welcome to the Technology Glossary for Sales and Marketing People. This glossary was created to help non-technical sales and marketing people gain a fuller understanding of the technology products and services that they sell and market.

If you wish to suggest a correction or a new term for us to define, please leave a note about what you need in the comments section of this blog.

Each entry is linked to itself, so if you would like to point a link to a specific definition, click on the definition and use the expression in the browser address bar.

Click on a letter from the list to go to that section or use the search widget at the top of this page to search for a topic.

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Applications Programming Interface (API)
An API is a set of software commands that can be used by programmers to write specific types of programs. An API is typically created as a method of talking to a device like a disk drive or USB port or as a collection of related functions like a graphics library for writing games. APIs are included with all modern Operating systems for common functionality like writing to the screen or printing and storing and retrieving files.

In addition to these standard APIs, others can be purchased or downloaded and used free of charge (this is how so-called open source software is used)

These additional functions allow programmers to write programs more quickly since they can purchase and use a proven and tested API an use it’s pecialized functions. If they did not purchase the API library, they would need to write code that would provide the functionality of the API themselves.

Examples of commercial APIs that are sold include: real-time operating systems in the embedded software world and specialized customer relationship management functions like those supplied in the salesforce.com API.

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Computing Hardware

Computing hardware is an electronic system that can be used to run software. The types of hardware used to implement these types of systems are:

  • Custom hardware devices such as FPGAs, EPLDs and ASICs – electronic hardware pre-programmed to do a function
  • Microprocessors – a chip or suite of chips used to run software
  • Microcontrollers – a chip that typically runs embedded software and has many additional I/O devices included on-chip
  • DSPs – a specialized microprocessor that excels at fast mathematical computations

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Operating System
An Operating System is software that runs computing hardware. The Operating System provides all the software services needed to start-up and use a system.

In the desktop computing world, most are familiar with Popular Operating Systems (OSs) such as Windows, LINUX and MacOS. These Operating Systems are know by the user interface and the features that they provide to users.

In contrast, to desktop systems, there is another class of Operating System know as a Real-Time Operating System or RTOS. An RTOS is also responsible for providing the software services needed to start-up and use a system.

The difference between an RTOS and a Desktop Operating System is the system for which an RTOS is used. An RTOS is used for so-called Embedded Devices or Products. Embedded Devices are computer/microprocessor (or microcontroller) based, but as a rule they don’t run desktop operating systems.

(It should be noted that the current version of MACOS is based on LINUX and that the new iPHONE uses and embedded version of this LINUX distribution, also their are both desktop and embedded versions of Windows)

Embedded Systems are smart devices that may or may not have a user interface. So examples include:

  • an iPOD
  • a CELL Phone
  • Test equipment like a network analyzer
  • a Cable Modem
  • a Wireless Router

For examples of RTOS products see the RTOS entry of this glossary
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

An OEM is a company that manufacturers a product. The reason for the original moniker is that companies often buy products from their original creators (the OEM), and then private label them as their own. This can happen in several forms:

  • Radio Shack takes a Cell Phone from Motorola and then puts the Radio Shack name and branding on it.
  • A Switch/Router vendor, reselling a low end home router made by an OEM to round out their product line.

To make things interesting, OEM is often used as a verb as in: We OEM’D the sound system from Delphi, meaning that they purchased the sound system to integrate into their system.

The key is that the system is originally made by the OEM, then sold by the OEM in volume to a company which need the product to round out their solution.

Their are many jobs where you may be required to sell or market OEM products. Some examples might include:

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Real-Time Operating System (RTOS)
An RTOS is a piece of software used to control a smart device such as a CELL Phone or a Cable Modem. An RTOS is typically written in the C or C++ language and is designed to be small in size (RAM and ROM Memory usage) and fast in operation. The real-time aspect is the most important characteristic of an RTOS. This real-time functionality means that an RTOS can respond to an event in a specific period of time. The response of an RTOS must be both repeatable and verifiable regardless of system configuration. In short, you use a RTOS when your system must not miss a deadline or the bad thing will happen. In the real world, this could mean that your anti-lock breaks fail or that you get too much radiation in an X-ray. Standard desktop Operating Systems (windows, etc) are not designed to support these types of mission-critical tasks.

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B2B Sales Training

b2b-sales-training-programs

Demo Skills Training – Would you like to make your sales demos a secret weapon that wows prospects and wins deals? Is your team showing up and doing demos–only to find out later that they lost the deal? This fun, interactive training session is specifically designed to make your sales demos more effective. Learn how you can improve your software, hardware and system level demos by taking our Demo Skills Training Workshop>

B2B Sales Training – Does your team need to sell at high margins, even in a tough economy. Would you like to shorten the sales cycle and break into more new accounts? Need to prevail over tough competition and grow average deal size? Our proven sales training will give your team the competitive edge they need to win the complex B2B sale. To learn more about our open and on site training classes and seminars follow the links: B2B Sales Training> , Key Account Sales Training> and Sales Prospecting >.

Sales Presentation Training – Do you and your team need to deliver sales presentations that win more sales, enhance your company’s reputation and leave prospects saying: ” Wow–I hope our sales team is that good!” This customized Sales Presentation Training is a fast-paced, effective way for your team to improve their skill regardless of their current level. Learn more about our Sales Presentation Skills Training>

Let’s Talk About Your Training Needs

We start things out right with a no obligation conversation. Give us a call (800-421-5824) or send us a message Ask us questions, pick our brains. We’ll give you straight answers, no strings attached. If it makes sense to work together, great–if not you’ll have a few new tips that you can use right away!

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