Worried about your Solutions Engineers leaving? Here’s how to retain them Published Date September 8, 2022 Author Chris Garafola There are tens of thousands of open jobs for sales engineers and solutions engineers across the globe right now. 🤯 SEs have never been in higher demand, and this growth shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. When top SEs are dissatisfied or unhappy, they know they can get another job offer in a second—and so they’re often looking to head out the door. This situation puts presales leaders in a really tough spot. Attrition and turnover are one of the most pressing issues in the profession right now. Knowing why good solutions engineers leave, and what you can do to keep them on your team, is critical—so let’s dive in! Why Solutions Engineers are so sought after It’s no secret why SEs are in such high demand right now. The difference they make in closing deals and satisfying customers is incredible. Everyone from growing startups to established enterprises values SEs and is willing to pay for their expertise. The skill set for being a top SE is rare as well. You need to find people with both technical expertise and aptitude, and combine that with the ability to solve problems and have conversations with buyers. And the demand for presales expertise now extends beyond the sales cycle into the entire customer lifecycle. Buyers are wary of talking to sales or marketing—but they love talking with presales. And why wouldn’t they? They get technical expertise and business solutions from a trusted advisor. When an SE enters a sales demo, everyone is delighted to see them. And that means keeping them around is tough. They’re often fielding multiple offers and know that they can leave at any time and find a new role immediately. Smaller companies also struggle to keep SEs when they can go to an enterprise company for a sometimes staggering amount of money. The market is hotter than it’s ever been for presales talent and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In short, the demand for, and shortage of, SEs is not going away anytime soon. How to reduce turnover with Solutions Engineers To retain SEs, leaders must focus on what makes these presales pros happy and engaged in their jobs. It’s not only about compensation or perks, although ensuring you’re paying competitively is definitely essential. And let's not discredit the fact that employees are more apt to leave their manager than their company, so ensuring you're a leader they respect and trust can make a world of difference. But with so many opportunities out there, what really makes SEs want to stay at your company? We’ve got a few suggestions. 1. Give them more meaningful work Doing work we find meaningful in some way is a core human need. No one enjoys spending time on tasks that seem low value and don’t use our skills, and SEs are no exception here. Low-value work for them looks like those all-too-common unqualified sales demos, where they don’t have the information they need to create a demo that will actually resonate with the buyer. 💡 SEs want to join calls where they can actually use their deep technical expertise, add value, and solve complex problems. And SEs are insanely busy, so stretching themselves even more to create a product demo that simply isn’t going to provide value is even more frustrating. Requiring SEs to spend their scarce time on demos they know aren’t a good use of their time, and that they don’t enjoy creating, is a recipe for employee turnover. They want their work to matter to your customers and to impress their internal peers (SEs are a surprisingly competitive crew!) 2. Let your SEs do what they love So what would SEs rather be doing? They love: Solving problems Being creative and building things themselves Trying new technologies out and getting their hands on new tools It’s not that they never want to create a demo again—that’s their job and they love it—but they want to be adding value and standing out internally with their skills. Enabling them to do just that, instead of creating the millionth basic demo for an unqualified prospect, isn’t going to encourage them to stay around. Enabling their creativity is one part of the equation. Freeing up their time so they can explore those tools and build what they love, and what actually works to close deals, is the other part. SEs are busy because they’re so in demand. Ensuring that they’re busy with the tasks they find satisfying and enjoyable means they’re engaged in their work instead of burnt out. 3. The solution to SE retention: a demo creation platform Our former VP of Solutions Engineering and current VP of Customer Success explains why. 👇 Giving SEs the presales tools they need to reclaim their time and explore their creativity is simple with a no-code demo creation platform. Reprise allows SEs to clone their product’s entire functionality with one click, producing a safe, sandbox demo environment in seconds. Scaleable, reusable demo assets anyone? When AEs need a product demo for an early-stage sales call, instead of going to an SE, they can customize these pre-made interactive demos by swapping out logos, names and graphics, no code needed. Early prospects will feel like they got a custom demo, while your SEs get to focus on the problem-solving they love and build amazing demos for better-qualified buyers. Using demo creation software like Reprise might seem a little like cheating. After all, don’t SEs like creating demos? Why would they want to use a tool that seems like it does their job for them? Demo software can help them unleash their creative side and allow them to create the interactive demos they want to, rather than sticking only to what’s possible with their older limited systems. It helps them create everything they dream is possible, instead of focusing on where the limits of their tools are. Think about it—as an SE leader, how are you going to enable creativity and free up time for your team? By asking them to build a tower with their bare hands, or by providing a toolbox with a hammer, nails, and measuring tape so they can focus more on the design and innovation? Try Reprise today and find out how we can help your SEs focus more on the work they love, so you can keep them around for the long haul.