How to be a Technology Evangelist Successfully!

When selling software and/or hardware there are a lot of different groups of people you need to talk to who all speak different business languages and quite often if it isn't a sell at any one level, it isn't a sell. Here are some tips for getting your technology in to a big corporate.


Before going to site and introducing the company to your product, there are some things you should always do:

  1. Know your product - This may seem like a no-brainer but all too often salesmen have to leave the room to call their IT guys to find out something which they really should already know. If you don't know the product inside and out how do you expect to be able to tell others why they want it?
  2. Know your competition - It's very unlikely you are the only one out there trying to sell a product which solves the same solution that your product solves. It's good to do a lot of research and even a SWOT analysis on all competing products just to see how your product compares.
  3. Know your customer - It's always good to see what products they are currently using and what their network infrastructure can handle so you know exactly what investment they would have to make in order to implement your product.
  4. Believe they need your product - If you've compared the products they are currently using to yours and you honestly believe objectively that what they are currently using is the same or better than your product or that the cost to upgrade would outweigh the benefits then be honest with yourself and leave it at that. This is a hard point for most people to take, they say, "Well, I'm a salesman, I'm meant to be able to sell ice to eskimos!". The technology industry is different though, aside from not wanting to be a sleazy salesman you also don't want other companies calling them to ask about your product and have them say, "It isn't working out for us". It could mean 10 or more lost sales instead of just 1. Don't be sleazy.

Once you are convinced in your own mind that your product can be of great benefit to the potential customer, it's time to go to them and explain your case.

Going to Site

There are 3 types of people you are likely to talk to during the process of discussing the product you have on offer and each group must be communicated to in a different way to properly promote your product.

Should you end up in a situation where all 3 types of people are in the same room make sure you can explain it from all 3 angles if required or keep each topic brief. When in doubt focus on talking about functionality rather than technical details.

These are the 3 types and what the focus of conversation should be:

  1. Management - Everyone you speak to is important but in the end it will come down to management to make the decision and place the budget. It will also be their job on the line if the product you sell them doesn't work as intended so it will be very important to earn their confidence (once again, being honest). Talk about other clients that have your product and how they are using it, this makes it easier for them to justify. If your product is rather new then focus on the things it does well and how it will improve productivity and reporting. Management love statistics and case studies. Leave out technical jargon unless they seem savvy with the terminology, if you are talking about things they don't understand then they may feel intimidated or put off.
  2. Front End Workforce - You may think the people actually using the product aren't the ones you need to sell to but you'd be amazed how many times it comes down to management asking staff for their impression of the product and that being the deciding factor. You get a lot of people working on the front end, some are excited for change, some are set in their ways and don't want to change and others just don't care. You really need to be sympathetic to all personalities, you don't want to be seen as the bad guy coming in to turn everything upside down when it is currently working. It's important to make it clear you aren't trying to make more work for them, you want to make their work easier and more enjoyable after all.
  3. IT and Technical - These guys generally don't care what your product does, only if it is going to be easy to implement and maintain. If your product uses software or server configurations they don't currently use or have experience with, it may be difficult to sell to them. Their concerns are often legitimate, even if your product is great, if their internal IT team don't have the resources to manage it then you will need to come up with alternatives, such as contracts to manage the servers for them, etc. When talking to their IT teams its good to use jargon as it shows you know what you are talking about, keep it light though as being too specific early on can make them hesitate thinking about the potential work load even if it isn't that scary.

A good technology salesman always knows when their product is good for the customer or potentially not so good, so be honest with your customer, they will respect you for it. If you think they are understaffed to acceptably manage the package then let them know, they may just decide to put on extra staff.

You are not trying to sell a dodgy used car, you are selling your brand, an easily tainted brand at that. It is always hard to get started in the technology business, the power of a brand is massive, managers don't get fired for failing to implement reputable branded technology, they get fired for taking risks on unknown brands. They don't get fired for using history proven technology, they get fired for trying the next big thing and having it not work out.

A sympathetic understanding of what could happen to your customer and their job should this not be the right choice for them will not only lead to them respecting you, it will make them respect your product and your brand.

Hidden jobs in indie development

If you are an indie developer working on your own, it's easy to get stuck in the mindset that you have one main role "Software Developer". While this may take up a large portion of what you do and you may be a professional in your field, it does not mean you will be successful. To be a successful indie developer you need to recognize all roles you are responsible for. 

Marketing and Sales

It's not enough these days to throw a product down there and see who comes. You need to be "always closing" as it is called in the world of sales. Not all developers are good salesmen, you either need to become one or get one. When someone wants to talk to you about your apps you need the best way to sell your idea, to make the audience believe your product is worth buying. This is fundamental and important and should not be taken lightly. 

Marketing should not be an after thought that you pursue within the week Apple take to approve your product. It should begin at concept, you need to plan from day one how you will promote this product and even get people in the industry involved with the key functionality design of the product.

I cannot stress how important it is to build your marketing while your build your product.


It is inevitable at some point you will need to pay taxes for the products you sell, having done a lot of work with financial data before I tried to do this myself. What you should be aware of though is this puts a lot of risk on yourself, you are a developer not a registered tax accountant. You don't watch for changes in Tax Law, you don't look for every single deduction, you have no idea how to handle your financial records and that is perfectly normal.

I highly recommend outsourcing to a Tax Professional and just getting them to show you the basics of what you need to do, how to register your business and keep records and let them worry about the rest. 

Project Planner

On your first project it isn't unusual to get an idea, sit down and start coding. Doing this will almost always set you up to fail. 

You need it to be clear in your head what this project is, what your minimum viable product is and how long it will take to reach that stage. There are many ways to plan each project, find one that works for you. 

Understand that your time is not free. The time you spend on your products could be time spent doing contract work at an hourly rate. You need to apply those same rates to your time to make sure the project will be viable in the long run. 

and the rest... 

The point is, you need to be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone, to do things outside of the scope of just programming. If you can't do that, find someone who can and employ them.  Good luck starting your indie software business.