Sales Engineering: Are You Ready?
It's an undisputed fact that Sales Engineering organizations are enterprise software sales' strategic weapons. When executed effectively, they dramatically and synchronously accelerate revenue, customer trust/LTV, and product quality.
In light of this fact, one of the most impactful questions you can ever ask within your go-to-market organization is "Is my Solutions Engineering team realizing its full potential?"
The SE practice is entering a new era of focus and maturity, and companies that fail to properly assess and address this potential will be at a clear disadvantage against those that do. From within the SE team itself, to those groups that partner to augment SE effectiveness across Sales, Ops, Enablement, Marketing, and Product, specific and budgeted SE and SE Leadership best practice development is key to achieving sustained success.
There are 5 particularly important "inflection points" in the SE organization lifecycle worth noting where applying the right focus on development will yield the greatest benefit: 1. The team has grown really fast. New players in the SE and Sales teams break the old ways of engagement, and both experience and familiarity gaps create growing friction in execution unless new programs for scale and management are put in place. (if this inflection point is combined with not addressing #1, the gaps are dangerously multiplied). 2. The team has grown really fast. New players in the SE and Sales teams break the old ways of engagement, and both experience and familiarity gaps create growing friction in execution unless new programs for scale and management are put in place. (if this inflection point is combined with not addressing #1, the gaps are dangerously multiplied). 3. The selling motions have changed. Moving into new customer segments (e.g Enterprise, Vertical, or International); new product introductions or corporate directions; tightened competitive environments; or solution vs. feature selling strategy represent critical moments to double down on SE potential. There are a lot of proven programs and best practices that can already be leveraged and evaluated for your specific selling motion to accelerate and innovate into the change. 4. Retention (and recruiting) of top talent has never been a focus. A loss of a good SE or Leader can represent person-years of lost potential. There is no time where you should not have though through basic or advanced career pathing, retention, and recognition programs to retain your best SEs at your company over the long term. 5. You have a "loose" sense of value that the SE organization brings. Recognizing the team's strategic value, if it is not contextually measurable, communicable, and adaptable, SE potential realization becomes a lot of guesswork. Clarity on SE engagement across the company, and the concrete understanding of this value proposition is the hallmark of the best SE teams. At The SE Leadership Institute (SELI), we bring together best practices, education, consulting, and a community of SE Leaders whose goal is to recognize and realize the highest potential for the craft. Please visit the site and get in touch, and I look forward to sharing some of these specific best practices in future blog posts.