J Patrick + Associates Blog

Adding Value In A Tight Labor Market

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:05 PM

JP+A: Adding Value in a Tight Labor Market



If, like many IT HR professionals, you’re operating at maximum bandwidth, working with an executive search firm has clear benefits.  Some of these are readily apparent from the beginning.  For one, your firm saves time and money. There is no need to devote valuable internal resources to sorting through dozens or hundreds of resumes from job seekers.  A specialist staffing firm does this for you; and after screening and interviewing, you choose from only the top candidates available.


Speaking of the best candidates, specialized firms such as J. Patrick + Associates are continually sourcing new potential hires with focused, specific skill sets that meet your needs.  With the ability to leverage a continually growing proprietary database that matches your target demographic, these experienced professionals can illuminate an ever-expanding network of candidates for your firm to choose from.  Out of this bigger and better pool, new and higher quality candidates emerge.


Next, and most important to your bottom line, a search firm enables you to minimize risk and the associated cost of a bad hire.  According to the Harvard Business Review, as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to poor hiring decisions.  Furthermore, the Labor Department estimates it costs an average of one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace him or her.  What’s worse, the costs associated increase the further up in the organization the change occurs.


The right executive search firm offers you the necessary tools to prevent this and maximize your hiring ROI.  Although you probably already know this, one alarming item to consider is when the job market is tight, finding the right person becomes even more challenging.  It’s in times like these that a top firm offers your business some less obvious capabilities, adding even more value when you need to fill critical positions.  Firms like J. Patrick + Associates know the IT and telecom industries inside and out, and bring the best industry practices to the critical task of job placement.


Industry Trends and Market Intelligence

Another reason to use a firm focused on specialized placement is their knowledge of workforce trends within the IT and telecom industries.  A good niche firm understands the impact these can have on your business.    A niche recruiter can help advise you to make strategic hiring decisions that not only meet your immediate needs--finding the right person for that key position right now--but also ensure you’re positioned for the larger demands of an evolving business environment.



In comparison to a traditional agency, with a specialist firm you’re already on the same page, and together, you’re ready to take decisive action.  This is something you won’t find easily somewhere else.  You can expect a top firm like J. Patrick + Associates to know the hiring and job requirements in your industry, to be prepared to address critical issues, and to leverage unique industry insight to help drive your most favorable hiring decisions.


Long-Lasting Relationships

Firms like J. Patrick + Associates have been placing the best-qualified candidates at top tier IT and telecom businesses for nearly 20 years.  That’s no accident; it’s the proven result of a winning track record.  Over the years, countless hours have been spent building enduring professional relationships with former candidates.  Many of these former job seekers are now in hiring positions.  Who do they turn to when they need both quality and speed? J. Patrick + Associates.  The reason is simple--because of the long-term trust we’ve built between our firm and our clients.


Contact JP+A Now

When placement costs can exceed the annual salary of each candidate, it’s a significant expense you simply can’t ignore.  So, if you need to find the best-qualified people to fill key positions, it’s time to consider a firm with proven expertise and resources.  Choose J. Patrick and Associates to provide the winning outcome your business demands.

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, SaaS, Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, Career Strategies

Let's Get Down To Business

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

John Care is currently Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales, having spent numerous years building world-class Sales Engineering organizations at companies such as Oracle, Sybase, Vantive, Clarify, HP, Business Objects and most recently Vice President and Area Manager of Pre-Sales at CA. MasteringTechnicalSales.com

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Several times a month I hear a sales or presales leader say something like “we need to move our sales engineers from being feature/function speeds-and-feeds oriented to being more business oriented – can you help us?”. The answer is often (but not always) yes – but it comes at a price.

Before I even look at the “how?” it is worth spending some time looking at the “why?” After all, as I often say in my classes – ‘It’s not a problem until the customer says it is a problem!” So what is driving this shift from the highly technically oriented SE to a technical-business balanced SE?

1. SE’s are expensive! The average fully burdened cost1of a field SE is now well over $200k in the US and approaching $250k in large enterprise companies. It’s a little lower in Western Europe, a touch lower still in Singapore and Hong Kong and smaller in India. Yet salaries in traditionally cheaper places like Bangalore are rising rapidly – the time of inexpensive presales labor is behind us. If you run a balanced team of 20 presales engineers with managers and a leader in the Americas, that is a $10-12m investment.

2. Obtaining an ROI on SE’s. Given that level of investment, companies need the SE team to be more than just the demo dollies and RFP hacks of old. Companies used to have Business Consultants, Solution Consultants and Technology Consultants who ranged across the spectrum. That model is no longer viable because of portfolio breadth or affordable because of headcount requirements.

1 Covers Salary, Commission, Overhead, Travel, Training and Benefits. Subtract 25-35% off the number for inside SE’s.

3. Your Customers Demand It! The #1 skill that mid to senior level executives want from the vendor presales team is someone who understands their business. Follow that with designing innovative solutions, communicating clearly and trust. Ranked at #5 on the list is deep technical knowledge–in poker terminology that is the table stakes required just to get in the door and play the game.

4. The Salespeople Need (And Ask For) Help! There are dozens of sales methodologies out there – and from an SE point of view, it doesn’t matter which one sales uses, as long as they actually use one. Sadly, other than complying with the minimum data entry requirements of salesforce.com, methodologies and process are abandoned at the first sign of trouble in favor of whatever sales feels is the right thing to do. This causes deals to fall out of the forecast, to disappear totally from view. Sales needs a counter-balance (most Sales VPs will admit this)
and a technical SE cannot do that. They can judge a technical fit, but not the feel of the business side.

There are a few other drivers, but those four are a good start. So now let’s move onto
the “and exactly how do we transition our SE’s?” section. Here are some ideas for
implementation based on many years of direct experience.

1. It’s A Journey, Not An Event. Holding a meeting to declare that everyone will now be more business-oriented, or even holding a 2-Day training class are just catalysts to get things started. You are looking at a 12-18 month process and need to set out milestones and targets for achievements. There is no magic wand.

2. You Will Take Casualties. Not everybody will make it. The classic split is 1/3 will easily adapt, 1/3 will adapt with effort and oversight, and the final 1/3 will resist, complain and ultimately fail. Yet all is not lost – one of the major parts of your plan is to determine exactly how many SE’s you need in which role in the future. Is this a plan for your SMB (Small Medium Business) or Partner SE’s? Depending upon what you sell and how you sell it, there is still a valued place for the Super-SE Technician. Someone has to conduct Trials and Evaluations and maybe even Implementations. Someone has to go toe-to-toe with your customer’s technicians.

3. Build A Profile. Building on the prior point, you probably need to revamp both your hiring profile and job descriptions for the SE team. As an individual, you need to think about what you should incorporate into your performance review cycle with your manager to assist you in “getting there”.

4. Build a Curriculum. The SE team have different skills, so get everyone to a standard base level, and then develop from there. You will probably need basic, advanced and applied level “courses” over the 12-18 months. These may be a mix of internal and external courses. Set the tone by dividing training into technical and professional skills. For example – when providing technical training for a new product or release, also incorporate the business and professional skills required to communicate the business benefits. I do have a sample curriculum I can supply if you email me.

5. Get First Line Sales Management BuyIn. Like anything else in the sales world, all internal change and cultural shifts live and die with the buy-in of first-line management. This also applies to presales managers and the senior / principal level SE’s as well. You cannot afford to have people holding you back and whispering negative thoughts in people’s heads. To refer back to poker terminology again – the SE team is going “all-in”.

6. Get Help (From Everywhere). Do not forget this! When looking to increase the financial acumen of the SE team, why not ask someone from the Finance department to spend a morning with the team? Look to do the same with our CMO and any other sources of tribal knowledge. You’ll have to translate some of this into SE-speak but it is a great start. Then approach your customers and ask them to help. You will be surprised. I learnt about Clinical Trial Systems, Financial Trading Systems and Telco Mobile Phone Turn-up from my customers when I ran a SE organization!

7. Remember The First Law Of Discovery.

“Every business problem comes down to a single number. Either that number is too small  and needs to be larger, or is too large and needs to be made smaller.” 

The art of being an amazing business-oriented presales engineer is finding out what that
number is, who cares about it the most, and how much it is worth to the customer to
change it. Then you need to demonstrate, in all senses of the word, why only your
company can do it.

In Summary

Like almost everything else in business, you need a plan to transition the SE team from highly technical to balanced technical-business. It won’t just happen, and requires an investment of time, money, people and a great deal of patience. Be prepared for casualties within the team, and make sure you publicize all the successes. But before you do anything else – learn from the basic principles of discovery, and ask “what exactly do you mean by more business-oriented?”

Article By John Care


Tags: Job Search, SaaS, Career Strategies

How Much Is An SE Worth? What's Your ROI?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 03:54 PM

John Care is currently Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales, having spent numerous years building world-class Sales Engineering organizations at companies such as Oracle, Sybase, Vantive, Clarify, HP, Business Objects and most recently Vice President and Area Manager of Pre-Sales at CA.  MasteringTechnicalSales.com



“How Do I Justify Incremental SE Headcount?”

“What’s the ROI for an SE?”

“How Do I Calculate Presales Effectiveness?”

Have you ever heard one of those questions? Have you ever been put in the position of
having to justify your business impact (or that of an entire presales organization) to a
sales leader, sales operations, or to someone in finance or even HR?

It’s a topic I’ve wrestled with over the years, and with the help of Michael Lohr, Sean
Cullen and Jim Sargent from out there in the SE community we’ll look at the costs, the
benefits and a few ways to calculate the ROI of a presales engineer.

The Costs. So let’s look at the basic costs associated with an SE. These are all
approximations based on an average SE salary in the software business in the US. So your
mileage will vary depending upon location and industry – but the basic structure remains
the same.

Base Salary and Commissions $150,000 Average SE ; 5-7 years
Overhead/Burden $ 60,000 40% for Benefits and Overhead Expense
Training $ 14,000 External Training/Certifications etc
Travel $ 36,000 $3k/month
Approximate Overhead $250,000

So – figure that even a 40 person SE organization is going to cost you $10m if you get
them travelling. From a financial point of view, only 10-15% of that $10m budget is
variable – the rest is fixed no matter what happens to sales quota.

The Direct Benefits: The first obvious benefit is that the SE team drives a massive
proportion of new product revenue – where product is defined as what you are selling. If
your product is renewable in terms of being software, hardware or other goods that
require ongoing support – then there is an annual support or maintenance payment stream
as a result of the sale too. In most industries the sales force is credited for at least the
first year of such support. There may also, for example in the Telecommunications space,
be recurring annual revenues instead of an upfront-payment. Plus, your product may
require installation, setup, education or configuration services – which is also revenue
driven directly by the sale.

So, at least for a first approximation, you can count all this revenue as SE-driven
revenue. For accuracy you can factor out upgrades and increased customer use due to
natural growth and expansion (i.e “more seats”). This applies only to the current solution
set. For example if you are selling medical supplies/pharmaceuticals and a new indication
is approved which causes additional sales – someone still has to “push” that.
The Indirect Benefits: There are a number of these softer benefits so I’ll focus on
three common examples.

1. Post-implementation visits. A typical presales organization spends 5-8% of its time in
post-sales activity fixing something that is broken – either in support or services. Happy
customers buy more products and this is an area we can influence outside of the
traditional role. You can also include planned post-implementation visits such as
performing a "health check" with the goal of making some recommendations to improve
the product usage as well as explore other opportunities in accounts. This is very hard to
measure because these visits are not always attributed to another sale but I'm certain
they contribute to these deals.

2. Enhancement requests. In general, SEs are the foot soldiers who know what customers
want and where they want to go. Product Managers would be very blind to the market
without the SEs input. Hiring one more SE does not necessarily increase this feedback
but this information cannot be underestimated.

3. Collateral. As the typical organization of last resort – if a piece of collateral, training
or general infrastructure is required then presales will usually create the content when
no-one else does. This also extends to covering marketing events, partner training, trade
shows and so on.

The Extreme ROI. Having looked at the SE-driven revenue, it’s important to understand
that sales is primarily driven and rewarded for generating revenue. Just as it’s easy to
say that if there were no SE organization then revenue would plummet, the same could be
said for sales. An extreme and simple ROI would be – using our 40 person SE organization
and an overall sales quota of $100m. (So even though most SE’s do not have a personal
quota, for the purpose of the calculations Quota = (100m/40 = 2.5m per SE)

Quota                  2,500,000
------- = ROI      ----------- = 1,000%
Salary                   250,000

Clearly not a credible calculation for many reasons.
Alternate Views. There are now two approaches to the ROI calculation. The first is the
overall ROI on the entire pre-sales organization. I personally find this is almost
impossible to calculate and is not a feasible business number anyway – what is more
important is the ROI of the next SE hired. So let’s look at that instead.

The New Hire. The annual costs for a new hire using our same example are still around
$250,000. Training and travel costs may be lower, balanced by a possible internal
referral fee, cost of laptop and other equipment etc. In terms of potential quota
contribution, industry guidelines are:

Years in Organization        Qutota Contribution

         1                              40% (1,000,000)
        2-4                            100% (2,500,000)
        5+                              120% (3,000,000)

This takes the conservative approach that the first six months are pure ramp-up time
spent in training and ride-alongs with other SE team members. The second six months the
SE is placed in lower-value and lower-risk situations – typically smaller deals, RFPs, trade
shows etc. thus freeing the more experienced members of the team to focus even more
of their time on the high-value revenue targets.

Given the typical ramp-up time for an SE, there is also a case to be made for building
bench strength for each of your major solution sets. Under no circumstances should
activity in a vital geography or product line be single-threaded because there is only one
SE who can cover the opportunities. Sometimes hiring needs to occur prior to a projected
increase in activity, regardless of current ROI.

An Introduction to ROPE “Return On Presales Effort”. The other assumption in the
calculations that will follow is that a new-hire is placed in the optimum position to benefit
the company. One way to assure this is by using an analysis of activity against revenue –
hence the ROPE acronym. In essence you are checking that (a) sufficient demand (and
pipeline) exists for an incremental head and (b) sufficient revenue is associated with that
demand. ROPE examines revenue, utilization, time and win-rate broken down by
geography, product line and activity. For example – by geography:

Geography Revenue(m) Heads Rev/hc Utilization (%) Win-Rate

North           15             8       1.88       82               36
South          18             6       3.00        66              42
East            24             8       3.00        65              42
West           22             9        2.44       58              44
Strategic      12             4       3.00        54              53
Federal/Gov   20            5        4.00        74              56

There is a lot of analysis and definitions of terms that we’ll skip over here, as you need to
examine all three dimensions (and that’s one of the things I consult upon), but looking
through the data it seems the Federal/Government group is producing the most revenue
per SE, has the highest win-rate and is heavily utilized. It is the logical place to add a
head as there is both demand to satisfy and revenue to gain. The criteria for each
parameter are highly dependent on each individual company, but in general the higher
numbers win.

When dealing with sales you can also factor in the size of pipeline. Usually 3.5 to 4x quota
in a pipeline is considered healthy enough to justify additional SE-power. Assuming the
pipeline is large enough then none of the other geographies satisfy the ROPE criteria.
There are two options – either hire a new SE directly into Federal or transfer from the
North or West into Federal and then backfill.

New Hire Direct Into Federal --4.00m x 40% = incremental revenue of 1.60m
Transfer North to Federal and backfill -- (4.00-1.88) = incremental 2.12m. Plus 1.88m x 40% = 0.75m -- Total incremental revenue of 2.87m

Based on this data you could incur the additional $250k cost of a new SE and recoup
anywhere from $1.6 to $2.87 million in return – both a payback in way less than a quarter.
It’s important to realize that these calculations are based on the marginal rates of
adding a small number of heads. Adding ten new SE’s to Federal wouldn’t return ten times
these results. That said, what financial controller could turn down these numbers?

Article By John Care


Tags: Recruiter Tips, SaaS, HR and Hiring, Career Strategies

Introducing iMPR

Posted by Elissa Jane Mastel on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 01:41 PM

impr ilissa miller pr logoWe are excited to announce that our friend Ilissa Miller has launched her own agency, introducing iMiller Public Relations (iMPR).  Daniel Sullivan introduced Ilissa to the telecom arena, and helped launch her fifteen year career as a proven leading tastemaker in the industry.  

Ilissa provides a different perspective than your average marketing consultant by filling the need specifically for the telecom industry to every integrated marketing aspect of a company. The key differentiator in Ilissa’s business acumen is that she has a proven insight and understanding of the telecom industry. She calls herself “a translator” between technical speak and business speak with the ability to break down the telecom industry and build it up through marketing that everyone can understand.  

"This is such an exciting endeavor for me.  I truly love what I do," Ilissa Miller, CEO iMPR says, "Couple that with relationships that run deep and far, it is both heartwarming and exciting to create this new venture that can provide the strategic vision that many telecom and IT marketing departments need.  Our goal at iMPR is to deliver our clients messages in the most effective and broadest ways possible."
ilissa millier photos impr

iMPR is more than just public relations, it’s your outsourced partner for PR, marketing and business strategy that will get your business noticed and heard.  Newly founded in 2011 by Ilissa Miller, a telecommunications industry veteran, iMPR offers industry insight to help propel your messages, brand and products to the next level.  With clients like Global Capacity and FiberMedia, her new venture is expected to grow exponentially in the coming year.  

Key areas of service include the development of a comprehensive and strategic marketing communications plan that encompasses press releases, case studies, media outreach, speaking opportunities, award submissions and social media outreach.  With your core communications effectively deployed, your marketing efforts will fall in place.  Your messages will be integrated throughout your entire organization from your website to sell sheets, brochures, advertising campaigns, promotions and implemented at tradeshows, conferences, corporate events and beyond.

Ilissa is located in the New York City metro area, but has clients stretching from London to California.

Looking for this kind of service for your company?
Ilissa Miller
CEO, iMiller Public Relations
email: ilissa@imillerpr.com
1 866 307 2510
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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, SaaS

Hot Trends in Marketing Jobs

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 @ 01:59 PM

A note from Gal Natel, the guest Blogger.  This is my two cents on the market trends I am seeing out there.  I would love to connect with you and hear comments, thoughts and of course answer any questions.


Strong demand for Marketers, this Quarter and Next...

Marketing departments got hit pretty hard in the most recent downturn.

Over the past few weeks we have seen a big increase in demand for marketing candidates. Many of our clients are looking to re-build and grow their marketing teams, and the requirements have shifted.

More hiring managers are now open to interviewing candidates that have the potential but maybe not the strong track record. Hiring managers want to see the drive, the spark in the eyes and the desire to move ahead and learn. This is an interesting trend that focuses more on a solid foundation that creates innovation within a marketing team, and will take marketing efforts to the next level.


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The market that is the most prominent on my desk right now is the Boston market where I have four Product Marketing positions, both individual contributors and director level.


1. Product Marketing Manager for a SaaS (Software As A Service). Experience with Software products. Candidates with a general marketing background and an aptitude towards Product Marketing will be considered.


2. Product Marketing Manager for a Security Software firm. Industry knowledge is key, candidates that are willing to relocate will be considered. The firm has offices in Boston, and Ft. Lauderdale.


3. Director of Product Marketing for a Security Software firm. The hiring manager is looking for someone with experience within the Security industry, and is open to speak with candidates the are high-end individual contributors, looking to get ahead in their career.


4. Director of Product Marketing for a Cloud Computing vendor. Strong Product Marketing background, and experience working with Software/ cloud/ virtual products. Hiring manager is open to speak with individual contributors that have a strong pedigree and desire to move ahead.

Tags: SaaS, Information Security, HR and Hiring