Death of a Salesman… long live Offshoring Salesmen
Over the weekend, I was watching “Death of a Salesman,” the drama on DVD based on Arthur Miller’s American classic, which, incidentally was a required reading for us in school when I was growing up in India.
Though it has been decades since Miller wrote the drama, it captures the essence of salesmen (and women… I will refrain from being Politically Correct, and not use “sales person”); And why do I bring up this topic? Because most of us in the offshoring space are essentially salesmen.
You don’t have to agree to this argument but let us start at the bottom of the pyramid: The offshore developers, programmers and coders: these are the folks who write, build and test software programs to specifications. One might think that they are not really “selling” anything. Yes, they are primarily selling their skills and talent to employers. If the employer happens to be a software services firm like Infosys, their skills are in turn packaged with their peers to “projects” for clients. This is a two-way selling: they are sold on the dream of working for world-class organizations, opportunity to interact with smart peers, work on cool technologies and…..you get the drift.
A few rungs above the developers are Project managers, team leaders, group managers who “anchor” offshore initiatives. One could argue that these folks are also not really “selling” anything. But there again, they are selling. Right? They sell ideas to clients and ensure that their teams are able deliver on the ideas. Lest we forget, responding to proposals, RFPs and RFIs involves selling (and pre-sales).
Beyond this level, especially when you turn to the client facing folks (onsite folks)…now, they are the ones selling all aspects of the life-cycles, living in the sweet spot where selling and delivering software solutions to clients converge.
Flattening of the world (as Friedman calls it) also means all of us in the offshoring space are salesmen. Death of a Salesman? ….long live Salesmen.