Complex product sales usually require an organization called Pre-Sales or Sales Engineering. This organization exists and supports front line sales professionals with technical and functional knowledge. If Sales Representatives are the heart of any sales organization, it is safe to say that the Sales Engineering team is the brain. Sales Engineers are highly skilled individuals and are a critical component in winning complex sales cycles.
When rolling out the ValueSelling Framework® we include the Sales Engineering professionals in our initial training because they are an integral part of the sales team that interacts with prospects. SEs bridge the gap between engineering/marketing and the prospect by demonstrating that your solution can solve the problems faced by the prospect.
We have seen very successful deployments of the ValueSelling Framework® when both the front line sales professionals and Sales Engineers participate in the training together. It’s become apparent that by having Sales Engineers participate in the ValueSelling training with the front line sales professionals, it has enhanced their understanding of the framework and assisted them with incorporating the principles into key components of their job.
For example, every presentation that is given to a prospect is an opportunity to show how your products and services can resolve key business issues and problems. However, these presentations often turn into “let me show you how our solution works and all the cool features we have.” In essence, it morphs into an educational training session instead of accomplishing the core function of getting the prospect to see how you uniquely solve their problems better than the competition.
Keeping in mind the core function of a Sales Engineer is to act as a problem solver, the following are some simple tips that will enable you, as a Sales Engineer, to become more effective:
- Always conduct a needs assessment and uncover the key problems the prospect is facing.
- Ask the why, why, why behind the solutions they seek.
- Develop problem probing questions that allow you to introduce your key unique capabilities.
- Design your presentation around addressing these problems. The business issues need to support the decision.
- Don’t present what the prospect already assumes is there; it will only create the opportunity to disappoint and introduce new problems.
- Think of yourselves as expert problem solvers not as solution experts – -leave that job to professional services.
Whether you call them Pre-Sales Consultants or Sales Engineers, the fact remains that this role is a sales function. This may sound somewhat counter-intuitive, but the core function of a Sales Engineering organization is to address the business and technical users’ problems so the opportunity can move to a successful close. Sales engineers are there to get a yes from the business and technical community –proving your solution is not only the best but also that it solves the most number of challenges (problems) and ultimately has the biggest impact on the business issue. They are the “Other Half of a Winning Sales Team!”
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