Marc Andreesen: Selling systems

“[There are] misperceptions of the salesman as somebody who’s wearing a shiny suit selling somebody something that they don’t need. And so, we have a couple of responses to that. We have a specific response to that, which is actually the role of sales is…not to sell something you don’t need — it’s essentially to help somebody buy what they actually do need…. But even deeper than that, the thing I tell the engineers is, look, dealing with customers, it’s another systems problem. You are the master of solving a systems problem, which is how to get the computer to do what you want. People aren’t computers, they’re different, but there is a system for dealing people. You can engineer a system for dealing with people. And actually, when you work with top-end sales people, what you find is they have incredibly elaborate, very real systems. Like, very, very, very thoroughly thought-through kind of abstract systems of how they basically run a large-scale sales campaign and how they deal with the customer.” –Marc Andreesen.