Pre-Sales / Sales Engineer
Taking a closer look at Pre Sales / Sales Engineer role..
Types of Presales People;
- The Technical Guru
- The Educator
- The Smooth Talker
- The Time Traveller – You need to have extensive experience in your field so you can help customer navigate the future solutions and guide them to avoid any pitfalls. This is also a great way to become the Trusted Advisor
My analogy of what it takes to be a of Presales Engineer:
A Presales engineer has the experience of building the great wall of china and then be able to accurately quote Genghis khan how many bricks it takes to build another one and if you are wrong your head gets cut off.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
PreSales / Sales Engineer – Titles are given to a position supporting Sales Reps in the ICT market.
In a recent Sales Kick off PreSales manager commented – “See those PreSales guys, rub their bellies and gold coins will fall out.”
PreSales plays a crucial role in complex technology solutions sales and the market is starting to realise the importance of these highly skilled experienced professionals to help maximize revenue for the company.
PreSales is part of the Solutions Design process, I want to take a closer look at the role of a Sales Engineer and describe what are the required skills for this type of role.
Sales Engineers are usually paid a base salary and commission OTE (on target earnings.)
Using Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality types as a rough measure, engineers may fall into the INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judgment), bracket, while sales people may occupy the ESTP (Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) category.
- A high energy level.
- A strong personality.
- A positive attitude.
They have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed.
The best sales engineers balance strong sales skills and business awareness with deep technical know-how. They have experience with what works and what doesn’t.
Sales Engineers must get the confidence of the customer buy demonstrating background and experience and deep understanding of the customer issues and experience with achieving similar outcomes. A great way to achieve this is by telling your own war story of working on the customer side.
While the sales rep is often portrayed as a lone wolf on a personal struggle, sales engineers must conduct a symphony. They must interweave a delicate balance of internal and external relationships – connecting with developers, product managers, customer decision makers, vendors, partners, support and operations.
Sales Engineer play a central role in any organization selling technology to customers. Using a strong understanding of the marketplace, they translate customer desires in a way that can be understood by marketing, product management, development. They understand the difference between a competitive landmine and a genuine business driven need, and can help sales navigate that road.
A competent sales engineer has a combination of good sales and technical skills, but mastery involves developing a tremendous number of broad personal skills. Being able to deliver compelling presentations for sales calls and large audiences is a necessity. The understanding to ask effective discovery questions to get to the root of business needs and pain is a must. Developing a strong knowledge of the customer business and verticals, and learning to recognize common challenges and solutions is mandatory. Effective time management skills to balance the incredible variety of tasks and assignments cannot be overlooked. They must drive business in a focused way rather than by happenstance. Having a knack for developing strong trusted advisor relationships both with customers and internal stakeholders is key. A passion and drive to develop the skills of the surrounding sales team can only help them understand how to better position products and solutions. All this is just the tip of the iceberg on a life long journey of self-development and growth to truly master the role.
- The MacGyver bag. All of those pieces needed to ensure a demo works all go somewhere. Coming in empty handed because a small laptop bag couldn’t hold extras is an SE faux pas.
- Malcolm Gladwell-like storytelling. If you’ve read one of his books you know what this means. For those of you that haven’t, I can only summarize as “the ability to call up a relatable and instructive story to support a position.”
- Laptop stickers. Come on, an SE has to have stickers all over his laptop.
- Software swiss army knife. I love watching the best SEs effortless using half a dozen software tools to accentuate the right parts of their demos. Tools that clear dirty desktops. Programs that improve screen contracts. Keyboard prestidigitation that zooms into tiny fonts.
- Meeting Generalship. I borrow this from the prize fight scoring factor, “ring generalship”. For boxing this is defined as “such points as the ability to quickly grasp and take advantage of every opportunity offered, the capacity to cope with all kinds of situations which may arise; to foresee and neutralize an opponent’s method of attack; to force an opponent to adopt a style of boxing at which he is not particularly skillful.” Think of this as a metaphor for dealing with a hostile room during a customer call and you’ve got the right idea.
- The cool toy. Why is it that the best SEs always bust out some awesome toy that draws oohs and ahhs from the attendees? Last week my colleague did this with a Logitech Spotlight. If you’ve not seen one you’ve got to check it out.
30,60,90 Sales Plans