Author: Ian McMurray

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Ian McMurray

Ian McMurray started his 40-year career in the technology industry back when 4K wasn’t the latest TV resolution — it was as much memory as you needed to write a complete, integrated accounting system for a computer. He started life as a mainframe salesman but eventually succumbed to the lure of marketing, and has since held a variety of European and worldwide marketing management positions, as well as occasional forays into sales training and development. He’s now the PR guy for Abaco Systems, and is based in Towcester, England.

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Better isn't always better: part two

In the second part of this 2-part blog post, Ian McMurray describes another example of where a product featured leading edge technology - but it wasn't a product anyone wanted to buy.


Better isn't always - better...

It's one thing to develop products that outperform competitive alternatives - but a completely different thing to understand what it is that customers really want.


If you don’t ask, you don’t get

In the ninth of his occasional posts on the art of sales, Ian McMurray returns to a favourite subject – the art of closing the deal.


“Alexa: prepare to engage the enemy.”

The ability to interact naturally with computers has come a long way. In this post, Ian McMurray looks at where we’ve come from – and where we might be going.


The Connected Battlefield: looking back (part 2)

In the second half of the year. The Connected Battlefield covered topics as diverse as deep learning and the latest developments in processors, touching on autonomous vehicles along the way - and how we revolutionized mission ready systems to deliver exactly what our customers want, but far faster and at lower cost than would be possible with in-house development.


The Connected Battlefield: looking back

Our blog has featured a new post every week - sometimes, more than one. Here, we look back at some of the highlights of the first half of the year.


Demonstrations: the lost art

In the seventh of his occasional series on sales skills, Ian McMurray bemoans what seems to be the passing of the killer demo - the one that brings it all together, and makes the order inevitable.


Damaged Car

“Off-the-shelf?” You Wish…

Today’s increasing focus on innovations that utilize the modularity of COTS technology indicates that a future of readily available, mission-specific embedded computing technology isn’t far off.


Defense vehicle

COTS: Where the Defense Industry Leads, Others Follow

In the past, the defense industry was seen as behind the times. But now, between IP-based networking, COTS platforms and other cutting-edge innovations, its technology is leading the way.


Old technology

From Wired Backplanes to Rugged Reliability: We’ve Come a Long Way

From wired backplanes and dial-up internet to rugged, reliable solutions, the technology changes many of us have lived through are amazing—and the future looks brighter than ever.



Abaco Wins

We were recently recognized with two Gold Awards by the annual Military & Aerospace Electronics Innovators Awards program, but the real win is being able to support our customers with innovative solutions.


Conference Room

Stayin’ Alive

Everyone in corporate life, at some point, has to make a presentation. And the most important thing to remember when building PowerPoint slides is that simpler is better. Find out why your sales presentation motto should be "short, sweet and simple."


Sales Qualification

Of Boy Scouts and Lighthouse Keepers…

You may be surprised by how often sales qualification is done inadequately. Here's why—and what you can do about it.


Huntsville Sales Conference

Exciting Times in Huntsville

Here at the Westin Hotel, Huntsville, Alabama—close by our US headquarters—we’re into day two of the first ever Abaco Systems worldwide sales meeting. There’s over 100 of us here. If that seems like a large number of salespeople, Mark Wade, our VP of Global Sales, made the point that, in fact, if the job of sales is to serve and support our customers, then the whole organization is in sales—which means that about 600 of our salesforce aren’t...


Mentor Graphics Best Overall Design Award

Abaco Receives Mentor Graphics Award

Last week, the design team for the SBC347D single board computer received their award from Mentor Graphics ( originally announced here ) as the winner of “Best Overall Design” in Mentor’s 26th annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards. The award was presented to the team—Jim Rose, Zeshan Hussain, Eric Mills and Peter Woodruff—who are based at Abaco’s Towcester, England facility, at a celebratory dinner by Simon Vines, PCB Applications Group...


Munich FORCE2 Display Computer

Munich Feels the FORCE

This week, we’ve been at the Aviation Electronics Europe show at the MOC Event Centre Munich, Germany. A two day event with conferences, seminars and workshops as well as a central large exhibition, it’s the largest of its kind in Europe. The show includes almost every conceivable technology the aviation industry could need—which meant it was a natural opportunity for us to showcase our recently-announced FORCE2 Rugged Display and Mission...


Yes or No

Objection, Your Honor

They say that if you can’t handle rejection, sales isn’t for you. Rejection happens most of the time in sales: it’s a fact of life. I was told to remember that it’s rarely personal—the company you’re talking to just doesn’t want to buy your product. It’s not that they don’t want to buy you. Sage advice, no doubt, but after a relatively few years, I realized I didn’t cope with rejection very well. I also hated cold calling—working through lists...


Glass Ashtray

What's the Benefit?

As I mentioned in my previous column, being able to articulate the benefits of what you’re selling is one of the keys to the whole process—but "benefits" are widely misunderstood. A memorable exercise at sales training school was that groups of us were given glass ashtrays (remember ashtrays? Back when people used to smoke?). Our instructor told us to write lists of its features, their functions—and the benefits of those functions. What was—and...


Pros and Cons

Closing Deals: Do the Old Ways Still Get the Yes?

In my first of these occasional posts , I talked about how we were taught sales "tricks" back when I trained as a computer salesman in the 1970s—tricks like "accidentally" leaving your hat behind in the prospect’s office, so you had a reason to return. That was far from the only one. Here are some others. Yes Get your prospect into thinking positively by asking him (or her) questions that he/she can only answer “yes” to. The thinking behind that...


Little Things Count

In the second of his occasional series about the long-gone days when salespeople were salespeople and not "consultants’"or "business development managers" or whatever, Ian McMurray recalls a particular demonstration… Whether we won a deal or lost a deal, the deal would always get reviewed to find out what lessons we’d learned. It was built into the sales process, and was absolutely invaluable in improving our win rate. I was just back from my...