4 Ways To Get The Technical Staff Working For You

Based on one of the most common complaints marketers have, last week I wrote about how marketers can win over the technical staff by developing strong internal relationships. Here are four more things you can do to get the technical staff working for you and not against you.

Prove Yourself Everyday

One thing I often hear that bugs me is, “I don’t have to prove myself.” In fantasyland, you don’t have to prove yourself. But in the real world, you have to prove yourself everyday. This is especially true if you are in marketing.

Proving yourself is going the extra mile, being true to your word, and keeping promises. One of the easiest ways to help prove yourself everyday is to make sure that you are “overcommunicating.” The rule of thumb with communicating is this: If you don’t feel you communicate too much, you are not communicating enough.

Animosity typically grows where there is a lack of communication.

Focus on Helping Them

Whether you are a Marketing Assistant or CMO, your primary responsibility is to keep everybody gainfully employed and help the business grow. That means your primary responsibility is about helping them, it’s not about you. It is important to focus on helping others, including the technical staff, be successful.

You’ll often hear marketers complain about their technical staff or criticize them.

This is the single most unproductive thing you can do. Just like you, other people are extremely sensitive to criticism. So rather than criticize, focus on how you can help.

Make Pain Less Painful

At our core, humans are primarily driven by two needs: the need to avoid pain and the need to experience pleasure. Unfortunately, the need to avoid pain is much stronger and has a much greater influence on what we decide to do. So when an engineer needs to call a client to try and drum up some work, the feeling of pain associated with that phone call is more real to him or her than the pleasure of bringing in work for the firm.

This can be said for any business development activity the technical staff might see as painful, including writing a proposal, going to a meeting, working on a presentation, etc.

So how do you combat this? The most effective way I have found is to emphasize the pleasure and take action to diminish the pain. For example, if an engineer needs to call the client. Schedule a time to go into their office, pick up the phone, and dial the client up. Conduct the call together.

When the call is done, let the engineer know how beneficial the call was and show him or her your appreciation by complimenting him/her in public, sending a thoughtful note, and giving a small gift. Eventually, the engineer’s mental association with client phone calls will turn from pain to pleasure.

Rise Above “That’s Your Job”

It is essential to get out of the “your job” mentality. Yes, you can’t “do everything.” But let’s face facts, you aren’t “doing everything.” And while it may be “their job” to call the client, ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure the client is called. Therefore, you will have to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

The same thing goes with a proposal effort. Staring at a blank page and trying to think of what the heck you are going to write is often painful. But improving on someone else’s proposal work is a lot less painful and gives you a quick feeling of pleasure. This is why I suggest that, whenever possible, the marketing/BD person take the first stab at the technical section. Just make sure that when it goes to the technical person it is far from perfect.

The technical person might mumble about how much of an idiot you are, but they will feel good as they revise your work to better reflect what the client needs. I’ve found this approach to provide marketers with proposal work product that is more refined and gets finished much quicker.

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