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Given the low up-front costs, scalability and ease-of-setup of most software as a service (SaaS) platforms, getting people to sign up is typically the easy part. It’s getting those customers successfully up-and-running that is the challenge. And in B2B sales, a seamless integration can mean the difference between a long-term customer and a disappointing cancellation. A Sales Engineer (SE) can be the secret to achieving more successful conversions.
But, as with most technical sales positions, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach sales engineering. In truth, it’s somewhat of an art form. To be great at what they do, sales engineers must invest time and energy into the technology, the business opportunity and, most importantly – themselves. They must find a way to balance technical proficiency with creativity while also being personable. After all, it’s the latter that will allow them to gain the trust of customers.
Whether you are currently pursuing a career as an SE or you’re already established and could use some guidance, here are a handful of must-have characteristics of an awesome sales engineer.
Eagerness to learn
Not only do sales engineers need to be tech-savvy and have an in-depth knowledge of the current product’s features and functionality, but they must also be continuously learning and ready and able to quickly adapt as needed. Truly successful SE’s have an unquenchable desire to increase their knowledge and get excited about learning and introducing new technologies.
Willingness to do whatever it takes
Sales engineers must frequently think outside the box, particularly when it comes to developing a strategy for successful product integration. They must be willing and able to adapt and customize their approach to best suit the customer. A relentless optimism and a willingness to always go the extra mile are essential to success as an sales engineer.
Sales engineers wear many hats. They must interact with the sales team, stay abreast of technological changes and also engage with the customers. As such, they must be capable of adjusting their approach based on the audience with whom they are interacting. For instance, the use of technical jargon is fine amongst peers, but SEs must also be able to simplify and speak to their audience in a language that they can understand and relate to.
A big part of a sales engineer’s job is presenting product features and functionality to customers. Exceptional SEs go beyond the basics, inviting questions, delving into discussions and overcoming objections that might hinder successful conversion. Charm, charisma and the art of persuasion can go a long way in this role.
Last, but not least, successful sales engineers know when to say ‘no.’ If a customer asks for the moon and is promised it in return, the result will almost always be disappointment, frustration and ultimately, churn. Trust is key in customer relationships, and the best way to earn that trust is to be honest. If a customer asks for more than what’s feasible, SEs should be comfortable saying, “I’m sorry. We don’t do that.” From there, ways to bridge the gap can certainly be identified and pursued, but it’s important to be transparent in the process.
Do you possess these five important traits? If so, a career in sales engineering might be a great fit for you. We’d love to discuss this possibility further and go over the various opportunities we may have available for you. Contact us today to get started.