Why Selling to Engineers is Different.
My education is in the hard sciences and engineering. While I was still working actively as an engineer, I’d get the annoying phone calls with some guy reading a script. Sometimes, it would be an endless webinar or slideshow that drags a two minute subject out into thirty before getting to the point.
When I began freelancing, I read a lot about marketing, especially the problems marketers have when trying to address engineers. I’m told techniques that work on most people don’t work on analytic types because they think in terms of data, not emotional response. One guy who has done a lot of writing on this subject is former engineer and current renowned copy marketer Robert Bly. You can learn a lot by reading through his site because he touches on this subject on occasion.
As I learned more about content marketing, I came to realize that had an interesting perspective since I buy like an engineer. For those in business to consumer markets, it might be worth it to simply accept that engineers aren’t going to respond to your campaign and write them off up front. For those in the business to business realm, it’s not so simple. For tech companies, the person evaluating your product will likely be an engineer who can disqualify your product long before the decision-maker gets involved. If your business is in this arena, it makes sense to market in a way engineers will respond.
Many engineers score INTP on Myers-Briggs tests. They tend to stick with their usually already-researched positions and aren’t so much stubborn as data-driven. For the rest of us, this means they are open to alternative ideas, they just must be supported by data. That’s what the marketer has to give engineers visiting the company social media sites and blog. So, mind these three points:
1. Don’t insult their intelligence.
Keep in mind that engineers are very analytical. They eat calculus for breakfast, so don’t spoon-feed them. Take advantage of their ability to understand subtleties and create content that helps distinguish your product or service from the competition. But don’t just say it, show it with white papers or case studies.
2. Don’t waste their time.
Make information available. Don’t make the engineers dig deep to find the answer to a simple question that perhaps ought to be on the FAQ page. Keep track of the common questions the sales team gets and evolve the website to include answers to those questions.
3. Make information available.
There’s no point withholding information. If the engineer needs, say, a 50 amp fuse and you only sell 20 amp fuses, the engineer is not in your target market. You don’t sell what the engineer needs, so there’s no point in keeping that information a secret just to make the engineer call your sales force on the telephone. Why? See points 1 and 2.
By keeping these three simple points in mind when selling to engineers, you streamline the process for everyone.