How your SEs REALLY feel: and how to help
Recently, one of our Linkedin posts really took off.
And the responses were straight-up hilarious. (You’ll want to read the full thread)
But they weren’t just entertaining—many of them were also super insightful about the struggles Solutions Engineers (SEs) have in their jobs. And this is something SE leaders should take serious note of considering SE turnover and retention has been a hot topic.
So want to know how SEs really feel? We broke down the top responses in that thread to dig into what SEs are really feeling on the job.
And if you work with an SE team and want to learn how to make their lives easier, we’ve got a few ideas for solutions too.
Struggle #1: Pulling them into live demos that aren’t qualified
This is probably the number one issue SEs have to deal with regularly. And in many ways, it’s a compliment to how effective AEs know their SE partners are. They know that having an awesome SE on the call to do a live sales demo often significantly increases their chances of closing a deal.
But pulling SEs into calls where they’re doing a demo for an unqualified prospect isn’t covering all your bases—it’s wasting the SE’s valuable time. They’ve spent hours creating the demo and preparing for the call when it’s not clear that the prospect is a good fit.
That’s time they could have spent doing work that will actually land a deal… and that time just isn’t coming back. Your SE resources are probably stretched pretty thin as well, so that wasted time might seem small now but have a significant impact in the future.
(And doing this on a Friday afternoon? People… just no!)
Struggle #2: Asking them to “just hop on” a call to demo
Hey folks—in case your SEs haven’t told you enough, they’re busy! They’re probably short-staffed and overscheduled, and creating those great demos you rely on takes time. (It takes less time with Reprise where you can create custom product demos in minutes, but we digress.)
Pulling SEs onto a call without notice means they have to drop what they’re doing to toss up a hastily created demo or hop into an unreliable live environment, or just make something up on the go.
They’ll be less stressed and your calls will be more effective if you give them as much heads up as possible. Yes, the discovery process has changed and buyers want demos earlier, but that doesn’t mean SEs are just hanging around twiddling their thumbs waiting to be pulled onto a last-minute call. They need a little heads-up whenever possible.
The struggle #3: Sales promising features the product doesn’t support
Every SE has been there—their sales partner gets caught up in the moment or confused about a feature and promises something to the customer that the product just can’t deliver. No one’s trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes or do something shady, but the wires get crossed, and then the customer ends up disappointed.
And often, the SE is the one who has to explain the reality of the product’s capabilities. It just doesn’t feel great.
Of course, sales isn’t going to be the technical experts on the product—that’s why SEs are so valuable. But making it a point to connect so both sides understand what’s being promised can actually be delivered makes everyone happy: AE, SE, the customer, and definitely your customer success team too.
You can also use a no-code demo creation platform like Reprise to demo features that are not live just yet with a screen capture. That allows you to balance promising features and being able to back up their capabilities.
The struggle #4: Being the ultimate team player without getting recognition
It’s no secret—SEs are incredibly versatile all-around players. They know about sales techniques, business concerns, technical specs, upcoming features, and so much more. They love to be helpful and are always curious to learn more from pretty much every angle of the product and prospects.
But that flexibility, knowledge, and helpfulness doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. And it’s easy to do—just say thanks as often as possible, and look for other ways to recognize your SE partners.
Especially when sales get celebrated for closing a deal, it’s great to ensure the SE who made it happen gets a shoutout at the same time as well. When everyone works and feels like a team, everyone wins.
The struggle #5: Demo environments going sideways
It’s not just sales demo environments that can go haywire at those critical moments—maybe the internet goes out, Zoom is down, or there’s just a new feature that messes up the demo script the SE has carefully perfected.
There are just so many factors in giving a great demo, and your SE isn’t in control of many of them no matter how many tools they carry around with them.
But giving them the tools to create interactive demos in minutes that work no matter what feature release just popped, without having to maintain a whole separate demo environment, can make a world of difference.
That’s why we created Reprise—making demo creation faster, simpler, and scalable for your solutions engineering teams so they can focus on worrying about everything else, like finding that whiteboard marker in the bottom of their bag. See Reprise in Action,