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Make sure your PreSales team aren’t “just demo jockeys”

I caught up with an old friend last week. He’s a Solutions Engineer at a fast-growing startup (around 150 people). He’s starting to look for a new job. One of the things that attracted him to this one particular idea was that he wouldn’t “just be a demo jockey” anymore.

Woah… there’s a pecking order in the SE world. 

Wanna know how to make sure you’re not at the bottom? Read on. 

SEs are one of the most valuable, but underrepresented and misunderstood, teams in your revenue org. They can really make or break the sales motion, so it’s actually very critical that you think about how you’re deploying your SEs and the type of talent that will enjoy working in that manner.

So, stop deploying SEs on the first demo. I don’t care if it’s the first call or second – train your AEs to get through the high-level pitch. This is to reduce the number of unqualified time wasters you send your SEs to join calls with. Did you know that when surveyed, the SE team will often say that 50-75% of the meetings they join weren’t actually worth their time? Holy heck.

Instead of joining the call to do the demo live, your sales engineer should be waiting in the wings for the specs from your sales rep. The best sellers now use the first product demo as a high-level overview, asking questions throughout to better understand the prospect’s intended use case.

The rep will tell the SE exactly what the prospect is looking for: “Focus on this core strength. Frame it for this persona. Tie it to this integration point. Proactively address this objection.” And boom! Your sales engineer goes off to build a completely custom demo that does everything the prospect wants – totally tailored and ready to knock their socks off. 

Stop trotting your SEs out there like circus performers. They’re not sidekicks to your AEs. Let them build! I enabled my SEs to build a library of demo assets and here’s what my dashboard looks like. I have every Persona, Vertical, Use Case, and Integration point covered. Ask me anything on a call and I’m ready to deliver. Because my SEs set me up to succeed.

I’ll go dive into another set of poorly qualified first meetings and they’ll make sure I have the tools I need to convert as best I can. Then, I’ll make sure they get all the critical info from that first meeting so they can convert during the delivery phase.

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash