5 People You Need to Know: A Sales Engineer's Guide to the Galaxy
“Make sure you build your network!”
“Build your brand!”
This is something we hear a lot throughout our professional careers.
But what does it mean???
This is completely valid advice. Many of us have trouble getting started.
As a Sales Engineer, your network will organically grow over time as a side effect of being a trusted advisor. Having access to professional social media platforms like LinkedIn are also game-changing in our hyper-connected world.
But where can you really start when your galaxy has the potential to be so large?
Start where it counts!
Build a solid foundation inside your organization. This will help you navigate and solve complex challenges, while paving the way to control your personal brand.
The most obvious initial area of focus for a Sales Engineer is to build great relationships with their Sales counterparts. Starting a new gig? Setting up 1:1s with your sales counterparts is a given. What we soon realize, however, is that in technology it often takes more than two to tango.
Establishing your brand and looking for ways to increase your visibility is important for your career.
Here are 5 other people you want to get to know in your own organization and ideas for getting to know them:
1. Sales Leadership: As a Sales Engineer, your role often goes far beyond supporting one or two sales reps. Sales Leadership communicates and enforces the gospel from their Executive leadership. They are tightly aligned to the overall sales organization’s strategic initiatives. Do you want to understand how you and your sales reps fit into the larger picture?
Pro Tip: If you can’t get on your Sales Leadership’s calendars the old-fashioned way with a 1:1, ask to join their team meetings (if you aren’t included by default).
2. Product Marketing/Product Management: As a purveyor of content and creator of presentations, you will leverage many assets created by this team. Find yourself modifying or creating assets that are specific to your customers? This is a great opportunity to collaborate with this team!
Pro Tip: Set up time with a Product Marketer to show what you’re doing. They are data driven, and by you sharing why and what you’re working on, you’re providing them with data!
3. Customer Success/Account Management: Depending on your alignment, you may or may not support this team directly. Regardless of if you do or don’t, they hold the keys to all the information about their customers. Customer testimonials are some of the most powerful assets you can leverage, and are indisputable powerhouses. It is helpful to have the ability to double-click and get more context into certain details when you are working on a particular opportunity.
Pro Tip: If you are having trouble locking down time or attention, reach out and offer a quick product training or Q&A! You are the product expert, and oftentimes this team has burning product-related questions. It’s a great credentialing exercise.
4. Operations/Sales Enablement: Just like Sales Engineering teams, Sales Ops and Enablement teams run lean. As a product expert and a person who has the opportunity to work with multiple sales reps, Sales Engineers are often regarded as SME’s for these teams. Are you passionate about a particular winning sales theme or talk track around the product?
Pro Tip: Reach out to this team and fill them in. Ask them about their top priorities to see if there is an opportunity for you to serve as an SME on a particular topic or participate on an enablement event!
5. Professional Services/SI Partners: Regardless of how much of a product whiz you are (and you are!), there is nobody who knows it better than those who implement it for customers. These teams are extremely valuable and their knowledge is gold.
Pro Tip: Reach out to this team and offer the opportunity to do any sort of pre-sales knowledge transfers, whenever possible. This will also have the pleasant side effect of providing a great customer experience during scoping sessions.