[Lessons] Why selling products is much more expensive than making products?

A classmate reminded me that I promised him an article yesterday. Turning over the readers’ comments in my records, I discovered that I actually recorded such a clue in writing three weeks ago. The original text is very long, and it is not pasted here. The effect is that the programmers in their company work very hard. When the project team is busy, they work overtime. The company’s sales are all the same. The bonuses are very high. They feel that their blood and sweat have become It’s unfair to sell stepping stones to buy a house.

So today, I talked with friends who were doing Business operation about the income composition of their company sales staff, and took a moment to talk about why the (sales) of selling products is much more expensive than the (research and development) of products.

Students who have read “Hacker and Painter” should have an impression on Graham’s “law of conservation of wealth”: “If you want to earn $1 million, you will have to endure the pain equivalent to $1 million.” You can disperse this pain slowly in your nearly 40-year career, or you can concentrate on it for several years.

Compared to the R&D staff who An An sat in the company, the sales staff experienced considerable and intensive pain.

I have a friend who used to do telemarketing. He told me that their requirement is that they must make enough calls for 4 hours a day to meet the standard – they have special monitoring facilities to accurately record the time from when the customer connects the phone to hanging up. You can probably estimate how much time it takes and how many calls can you make to get 240 minutes of talk time? And these calls need to be allocated in roughly seven to eight hours of work time?

If you have seen “When happiness knocks on the door,” you should feel the stress of being busy and crazy.

The friends who did the Sales operation also told me the story of their company’s various sales: There was a sales to save a big customer, and it took more than a month to stay at the door of other units; her boss, who used to do sales, went to a family. When a competitor’s locked unit was driven out directly, he would have to sign a sign at the door “XX and dogs are not allowed to enter”.

Their company is not a small, unnamed company – they are a top 500 in the world.

So don’t be overwhelmed by your own hard work. The hard work of doing R&D is just a torture of work time, and there will be no mental or physical torture. In the war years, we were the workers who built guns and artillery in the arsenal, and sales were soldiers who really took blood and changed positions.

Of course, if the world measures its income in terms of pain, it is estimated that young and strong should go to practice breaking the stone. All your efforts, including suffering and pressure, are just performance manifestations. What really matters is what kind of performance have you made?

What is more important than what kind of performance is: how do you measure your performance?

For employees on the sales line, performance has these dimensions:

  1. Order: How many orders were signed?
  2. Revenue: How much is sales
  3. Margin: What is the profit?
  4. Cost: How much money did you make to earn this money?

These dimensions will be compared with the amount of current tasks (whether to complete the task), compared with the same period last year (how to increase year-on-year). In addition to this, we need to look at the changes in the market share. For example, the market is very good this year, the overall growth of 40%, you originally accounted for 30% of the market share, this year only increased by 20%, then your market share actually reduced to 25.7%. Even if the amount of the task is completed (in this case, there is a problem with the amount of the task), performance will be greatly reduced.

These are the measure of the big face, there are some more detailed:

  • Conversion rate of revenue/order
  • Margin/revenue profit margin
  • Cost/revenue’s fee income

and many more. All these are reviewed at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter, at the middle of the year, and at the end of the year. Therefore, employees on the sales line can see how much money they can earn at a glance, and if they try to improve their performance, they will receive a pro-rata bonus.

On the contrary, the performance of R&D is difficult to measure. We can list some measures based on the drawings:

  1. Bugs: How many bugs were solved
  2. Customer issues: How many customer issues have been resolved
  3. Features: How many features did
  4. LOC: How many lines of code were written

Unlike those sales measures and data, the performance of R&D can be measured by these methods, but they are not reliable. First of all, none of these measures can be clearly linked to the company’s revenue. Second, these measures are ambiguous, some are tedious to measure, and some are absolute. For example, a kernel bug and a customer-issued UI issue are obviously not a matter of magnitude. Simply thinking that the weight of the customer issue is fundamental will lead to basic and hard-to-find bugs being lagging behind. LoC is even more irresponsible. In the early years of software outsourcing, LoC was used to measure the price. The result was that the company that took the order was desperately trying to write code to fill the performance. The function that can write 10 lines would not be able to write 50 lines.

Therefore, research and development work, especially personal performance, is difficult to measure clearly with objective data. Since we can’t measure it well, we can only get a relatively “average” salary bonus.

Another reason is the importance of the work. There may be hundreds of thousands of R&D projects for a product. Each R&D personnel is a screw in it; while a salesman, a large region is also not equipped with much (depending on the company), I remember that at Digital China, a sale might be possible. It is responsible for the affairs of a large area of ​​a product. When we come out to do things, we are most afraid that you will not be much, and you will have less work. However, the frustrating reality is that R & D is precisely such a job, especially in “big” companies. Once again, the hacker hackers and dozens of mediocre programmers put together an average performance performance.

Therefore, it is very reasonable that good programmers cannot get a fraction of the salaries of good sales.

Some things are just for your own sake. Believe me, don’t try to change the line. It’s absolutely impossible for most programmers to sell.

How can it be broken? Read “Hacker and Painter” (I’ve included it as a programmer’s primer in several articles, including readers’ responses). I believe you can find the answer.

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