ASK JOHN

Hi John,

This month’s question is really short, often controversial, and of interest to almost every Sales Engineer.

Should SE’s be able to qualify for Presidents Sales Club?

Simon, Michele & Sam – various global locations


 

Hi All,

Thanks for your question, and I’m sure many SE’s out there are interested in this particular topic!.

I had several interesting discussions last month about presales engineers qualifying for Presidents Club. That’s the generic term I use for the sales achievement trip that many companies use as a reward for their top quota achievers. Two big questions came up, and I’ll deal with #1 in this blog entry:

  1. Should SE’s be able to qualify for club?
  2. What are the qualification criteria?

Two of the conversations were with presales leaders seeking a quantitative answer for #2. The really interesting conversation was with a Senior VP of Sales (brokered by his presales leader) about why SE’s should qualify. Before I get into the details let me state up front that

  1. I do a strong opinion about this – and that my answer is “Hell, Yes!”
  2. I have qualified for amazing trips to Hawaii (2), Puerto Rico (2), Paris, Bali, London and a few other places as a SE leader
  3. A large proportion of companies (>65%) do allow their SE’s to qualify, or hold a separate SE achievement trip. However – the larger the company, the less likely they are to hold club.

The conversation with the Sales VP started from the standard position of “if presales wants the rewards of being a salesrep then they should move into sales”. We then had a long, 90-minute conversation about the following:

  1. Teamwork. His company heavily promoted the concept of the sales team. I asked him what the answer would be if he asked his top ten sales performers who had most helped them kill their quota. For example would it be their “presales guy/gal” or their sales manager? This is an absolute set-up as about 90% of the time its “my presales guy/gal”.
  2. Recognition versus Reward. To me – Presidents club is about recognition. It signifies to an SE that they are one of the best. You look at most SE’s online resumes on LinkedIn – if they made sales club it’s listed. It is something to be proud of. I know most SE’s don’t care too much about any monetary award that may come with – it’s the invitation that is important. Coming home to a spouse or loved one and saying “pack your bags..” makes up for those 60 hour weeks we sometimes put in.
  3. Meritocracy. I always believe in rewarding the absolute top performers. Many companies have a problem hanging onto their top SE’s. It wasn’t compensation – it was the way they were treated and the culture that went with it – an SE couldn’t really stand out. If they did – they got promoted into management! One of my clients lost 3 top SE’s last year because they cancelled club attendance.
  4. Parity. I have never begrudged the cash a salesrep makes for blowing out quota. They deserve it, and all the recognition that goes with it. After all – the rep takes the burden of the risk. If a district or country fails miserably, the reps get canned, the sales manager usually follows, but the majority of the SE’s stay on. (This point is primarily to defuse the “if you want the rewards..” viewpoint.)

Bottom line – next year, SE’s at his company will be eligible for club. One small step..

As for qualification criteria – that’s another blog entry..

 

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