Challenges In Sales And Marketing – OpEd


Throughout my long career in the sales and marketing of industrial steam boilers, I have faced numerous challenges. Dealing with customers is one of the most significant problems.

Offering the lowest price is never enough. Customers demand the best, most efficient, and standard-compliant steam boiler proposals in a very short time but take a long time to evaluate them. Often, they work with staff who are unfamiliar with the subject, inexperienced, and uninformed. Unable to evaluate the offers themselves, they ask you to assess the competitors’ bids. You never know who the final decision-maker is. Everyone you encounter acts as if they are the ultimate authority. Eventually, the founder or a high-level executive of the buyer’s company steps in and demands a significant price reduction. In such cases, the top decision-maker in your own company nullifies the profit margins. You are left with an order that, on paper, does not generate a profit.

Project engineers typically prepare incorrect and incomplete material lists. They realize the need for additional pipes and equipment later on, and these subsequent orders come at much higher costs than the initial requests. Once you secure the job and hand it over to the internal project managers, their initial reaction is always harsh: “Who knows what you overlooked. Let’s see how we can salvage this project.”

At the end of the year, despite securing many orders, you expect a good bonus. However, the bonus review committee overlooks you. “Securing orders is your job; are we supposed to give you a bonus for that too?” they say. Project managers receive substantial bonuses for “saving” the project, and designers get rewarded for completing their work, while you are left empty-handed.

To secure the job, you travel extensively, away from your family, risking your health. People say, “How nice, you get to travel domestically and internationally,” but they don’t understand that you spend your time in meeting rooms, enduring tough contract negotiations. Upon returning home, you are too exhausted to move. Sales and marketing are incredibly challenging fields; only those who are in it truly understand.

Throughout my career, I have had to overcome countless challenges. Balancing customer expectations with the interests of our company is a constant struggle. During this process, I continually rediscover the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Although our work has its difficulties, I believe that with the right team and strategies, we can overcome these challenges. Sales and marketing require dedication and determination, and the key to success in this field is to view every obstacle as an opportunity for learning.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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