March 11, 2019

How do I develop sales skills as a software engineer?


Hey indie hackers, for those of you coming from an engineering background, what things and resources did you use to develop sales and marketing skills? There are a lot of resources out there online, but it is hard for me a novice salesperson to separate the snake oil from the valuable stuff.

PS: I would love to start a monthly Skype chat or an on-going slack if there are other people from a similar background who might be interested in swapping resources and practicing together.

  1. 3

    Short Answer? Sell, sell, sell

    Long Answer:
    I'm coming from the same side and I can tell you that at the end of it all it's actually very similar to software engineering. Jump in, get it wrong, iterate on your approach, try again. The hard part of that is that the feedback is more direct, which makes separating yourself from your product important. I'm no expert, but where most people fail is in not reaching out to enough people. Always remember that if you failed to get this sale there is something to learn and you can do things differently to get the next one. It's daunting, but assuming you've targeted a segment, you can play it like any other numbers game (just try not to be robotic).

    For the sake of reference, think of your customer as the engineer at the desk next to you or just another tester telling you they found a bug in the last story you committed. They know what they're about, it's up to you to convince them that you solve a pain point (even if they don't see the pain) or improve their day in some way.

  2. 1

    Very hard to do and I struggle with this. Reach out to mentors. Look to hire part time channel managers. Conduct many small tests one by one and find three channels that are promising.

  3. 1

    This is a great question! Re: Sales... I have no idea and I'm very interested in finding out.

    I'm definitely interested in chatting.

    Re: Marketing... I wrote articles on Medium for publications. That worked... then I tried guest blogging on other sites.

    I also built landing page tests and bought ads. That worked too.

    I've found that publishing articles is a quick way to clarify ideas and get feedback. You'll have to write your marketing materials eventually anyway right?

  4. 1

    Hello @zpg feel free to drop me a message. I have an engineering background and can relate to what you are posting about. I can share a few resources that I use.

    My experience with software engineers (I'm Mechanical) is that they focus on the tech and features and not on the benefits or nuts and bolts of a value proposition.

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