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January 10, 2018

Consider Your Sales Engineers when Choosing a Sales Learning Platform

Developers build the product. Salespeople sell the product. Sales engineers bridge the gap.

Sales engineering, also known as technical sales or solutions consulting, serves as the foundation of technical knowledge for a sales organization.  To excel in the role, a sales engineer (SE) needs a deeper level of knowledge into many aspects of the business than a salesperson. This information often changes rapidly, comes from many departments within an organization, and requires technical chops to absorb, synthesize and communicate externally in a polished, confident manner. Some examples of this information include:

  • Buyer and user personas
  • Key use cases and product workflow
  • Product positioning and differentiators
  • Product functionality and limitations
  • APIs and integrations
  • Product infrastructure and security
  • Product roadmap
  • Competing products and industry trends
  • Onboarding and customer success
  • Customer case studies and whitepapers

Often this knowledge is undocumented, unorganized, and locked in the brains of a handful of people, which poses a significant risk to the organization. Investing in a sales learning platform improves the flow of this information, organizes it, and presents it in way that is conducive to quick learning and reinforcement.

A few ways a sales learning platform can immediately impact SE teams:

Sales Engineer Onboarding

Reducing the ramp time for new hires can have a huge impact on the business. One of the biggest obstacles an SE faces is gaining the trust of a salesperson to be brought into active deal cycles to make a meaningful contribution. Having a documented and trackable onboarding program with checkpoints and certifications helps not only speedup the onboarding process, but also prove proficiency in various business areas. Sales learning platforms guide new SEs through courses and certifications containing high-impact peer content so they master their demos more quickly and get in front of buyers right away.

Scenario-Based Demo Certification

One of the biggest tasks of an SE is to be able to give tailored product demos to the various buyer personas that the company sells to. The best demos require an SE to understand what problems the prospect is trying to solve and the use cases they’d like to achieve, then structure a demo that will resonate with the buyer.

Just when an SE thinks they’ve mastered the product demo, there are always internal and external variables that change over time which demand adjustments and tweaks to the demo. Some of the variables include competitor product advancements, industry shifts, adjustments to the product positioning strategy, product releases and feature enhancements, etc.

It’s important to give an SE a means to watch recorded best practice demo videos from seasoned team members. They can then record both live and practice demos and solicit feedback and scoring from their peers and manager.

Product Release Training

For each product release or feature enhancement, the product team typically works with marketing to develop internal and external materials to educate the company and market. SEs often require detailed information that goes a layer deeper. They need to be prepared to answer in-depth technical questions on the new features in a confident way in front of prospects.

Using a sales learning platform to store this information centrally gives SEs the best chance of absorbing it because much of the information can live in videos — which are 60,000 times more effective than text when it comes to learning. From there, organizations can also use these to reinforce the knowledge over time using spaced repetition quiz techniques.

Objection Handling:

SEs are asked some of the toughest questions by prospects in the sales cycle – it’s important they answer common objections with concise language in a way that does not detract from deal momentum.
Sales learning platforms capture short videos of the best messaging for the most common objections. SEs can practice their messaging, and collaborate with their peers to fine-tune the language. Videos are easy to access and available on mobile devices for just-in-time learning when prepping for meetings on the road.

While most sales organizations focus their enablement efforts on frontline salespeople, the SE role tends to attract people with quite an appetite for learning, so it’s important to provide them with the tools to test, trial, and implement their ideas. Additionally, they can be a great resource to champion a sales learning platform internally and help increase adoption among the broader sales organization.

For more on how Allego helps SEs bridge the gap between Sales and Product, click here.


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