The software development lifecycle often relies too much on the product and its functions. Yet doing it this way leaves out a vital member of the team: the sales engineers.
Chris Goodman, a friend to the Frontier Podcast and the Director of Integrations and Alliances from SentinelOne guides us through the potential of a sales engineer, and how they can develop and share a deep understanding of customer problems and potential solutions.
Sales & The Development Lifecycle
Before taking on the role of Director of Integrations, Chris was a sales engineer for SentinelOne. With knowledge about both sales and coding, he has been able to look intimately at the lifespan of a product from the back end while also knowing how to describe and sell the customer experience.
This perspective allows Chris to give useful feedback to the product development team on how the product is being received.
Chris: I'm out in the field often talking to other folks, other large organizations saying, “Hey, guys, I used to sit in your seat. What would make things better for you?”
This kind of feedback is invaluable for SaaS allowing for flexible and self-aware product development.
Playing The Role Of The Sales Engineer
A sales engineer acts in many ways as a translator. They provide the kind of commercial savvy and understanding of a salesperson, combined with the problem-solving ethos and mindset of an engineer.
The sales engineer must identify the customer or client’s problem, but also be aware of how the product or service can solve the issue that they have. As technological advances become both more innovative and faster paced, the sales engineer can communicate the effectiveness of their product with ease.
Rather than relying on the product or service to be something that people know they need, a sales engineer can pass on the technical information in a way that makes sense for the client - through understanding how the company can alleviate the problem.
For Goodman, this involves clearly defining the problem that the customer faces, and the unique way in which SentinelOne’s service can fix it.
Chris: What you really need to do is define your problem. Say, “My problem really is... maybe I have a problem with too many logs everywhere.”
Why Should Development Teams Include a Sales Engineer?
A sales engineer is a vital link for your sales process. They can explain and establish the technical requirements of your platform, while also communicating the optimal use for the individual user. They act as a guide for true integration, so that your customer understands the value that your product offers, while also ensuring that it’s delivered.
A sales engineer’s unique perspective on the platform or product allows you to understand how your product or service will be received. Having this unique perspective on the development team can elicit a varied dimension in the problem-solving process and get the most out of the developers.
With any team, it’s always beneficial to have team members who approach problems from different angles. A sales engineer offers another dimension to your problem solving, and Gun.io can help outsource the key players you need.