Drinking from the firehose…

by | May 16, 2023

Another week draws to a close – another short one after two bank holidays in a row- two months in as a member of the Sales Engine team. Time flies when you’re a Sales Engineer.

So, what have I learnt from my time here so far? 

Frankly, a lot. The term “drinking from the firehose” springs to mind; for my benefit as much as yours, dear reader, I will try to break it down to make some sense.

It’s complicated

One of my biggest challenges in this role is articulating the breadth and depth of what we do.

Are we a training company? Not exactly, but we do share knowledge via workshops and programmes.

Are we a marketing agency? No, but we are more than capable of developing and implementing campaigns.

Are we coaching? No, but we provide professional development and mentoring from the executive level down.

Are we a bids consultancy? Not quite, although we regularly help customers with all aspects of this, from bid management to content creation to shaping responses to be more successful.

Are we management consultants? Absolutely not. Although we do help review and improve the structure and processes of commercial organisations and implement new ways of working.

See what I mean?

In some ways, it would be easier if I were able to pigeon-hole us as providing one particular thing, one overarching description of what we do; if I were to do so, it would be this:

“We help our customers to do more and better business.”

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten involved with projects as diverse as helping a customer to better engage with their resale partners to increase sales effectiveness, helping another with an urgent bid response which came out of the blue and in a challenging format. Another needed help shaping the messaging and presentation of a new product to their exec team, and one needed help planning and managing an opportunity within an existing customer effectively.

I’ve listened to other members of the team take me through how they are helping a sizeable business adapt to a rapidly changing market and move from being a “farmer” type business to a “hunter” sales model, plus how they’re helping that team from board level down to that of individual account executives to transform how they do things.

Working with our partners, I’ve collaborated (in a small way) with planning an upcoming event where we’ll gather a select group of mutual customers to discuss some of the challenges affecting their industries and how we work together to help them succeed.

I always said I never wanted a job where I did the same thing day in and day out, and boy, is this place overdelivering on that front.

But that is the key to what makes us different, the range of activities we can help our customers with encompasses all aspects of sales, bids and marketing (plus many other areas). And precisely, this ability to tackle complex problems at all levels provides value to our customers.

It’s about people

I remember an old boss telling me years ago that “business is a social activity” At the time, I might have interpreted that to be about social activities, wining and dining customers, and a game of golf to seal a deal. 

I now understand the true meaning. It means that businesses are a collection of people, and they are the most significant influence on success.

Sales Engine is lucky and blessed with some genuinely great people, not least for their professionalism, knowledge and wisdom: the confidence with which they address each customer challenge and the quality of the work delivered.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time speaking to our customers to get their take on what we do well, getting great feedback around why we’re different, about the “tailor-made” and “personalised” approach we bring to customers’ unique business challenges, about how we stay involved in solving a problem and integrate with their team, to how we “make leaders out of salespeople”.

And hearing about results, whether that’s been helping to redesign and automate opportunity planning to make it automated and accurate, leading to an increase in forecast accuracy from 50% to 90%. 

Or helping a new post-bid manager win the biggest new business deal in their company’s history, opening up a new market to them.

Tangible results that make a difference to our customers.


It’s been a busy few weeks, but insightful, interesting, challenging and exciting, in terms of what opportunities lie ahead.
I’ve learnt a lot, I’m buzzing and busy! And I’m really keen to see who else we can help.

Drop me a line if you fancy a chat.