On Monday, October 7, Tess and I visited Enterasys in Salem, New Hampshire to interview Dan Dulac, VP of Global Solutions Engineering.
Our goal of the interview was to get Dan’s ideas about what makes a good technical sales presentation. His company has just been acquired by Extreme Networks. They compete with Cisco, among others. His concern is how to stand out against the competition and create brand awareness to give them the edge. In an industry where sales is often nothing more than a data sheet vs data sheet comparison, Dan strives to take it to a higher level. Sales presentations should be done through the lens of the customer.
Dan thinks sales presentations must start with “Why?” He is a big fan of Simon Sinek (http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action). He believes we have to move away from the traditional sales manipulation of “carrots and sticks” to inspiration. We should inspire our customers by talking about why we do what we do. We should strive to do business with people who believe what we believe, rather than trying to do business with everyone.
Dan described their commitment to market segments: higher education, K – 12, health care, and government agencies. What they have in common is few resources for IT. When Enterasys is able to help with a solution, it is a source of satisfaction for Dan. “It is all about giving customers a better quality of life. When you boil it all down, that is what we all want,” said Dan.
Asked how all of this is done, Dan said “Forget slides. Slides are a crutch. If you can’t talk about your solutions without slides, you don’t know your solution well enough.” He is more interested in having a conversation, and using white boarding when visuals become necessary. It is impromptu, improv.
Dan summarized, “How do we share our purpose, our vision, our story that our prospects can rally behind? When we can do that, we’ll be successful.”
Dan is an engaging person with a strong vision for a bright future for his company and their customers. His ideas are completely aligned with what we’ve heard over the years from senior executives that make up the fabric of our Speaking Up book and training programs.
To see Dan talk about engineering vs sales: