Is the Demo Dead? Four Sales Engineering Experts Weigh In [eBook]
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One thing leads to another…
In this case, the “one thing” was a webinar we conducted with sales engineering expert and author John Care. John presented valuable insights on the changing role of the sales engineer. Great stuff. If you missed it, you can watch The 2024 Sales Engineer webinar with John Care here.
After the webinar, John agreed to do an interview with us and that led to something even bigger, an eBook:
You won’t want to miss this important content featuring the insights of John Care, Peter Cohan, Rich Chiarello and Rob Falcone, all of them are authors and consultants or practitioners in the field of software and technology sales. Each offers interesting perspectives on the changing role of sales engineers and the demos and proofs-of-concept (POCs) they deliver.
- The demo HAS NOT died. It’s evolved.
- The role of the sales engineer ISN’T going away. It’s more vital than ever.
Here are some excerpts from the eBook….
On the blurring line between sales engineers and sales reps…
“I believe the role of the salesperson has not significantly changed in the last 20 years in terms of what you do. Certainly, how you do it has changed, but very few new skills have been added to the role of the salesperson.”
“Yet the role of the sales engineer has. They’re being asked to become more consultative, better communicators, able to get in front of CIOs and CFOs and COOs. So, the skill set is expanding rapidly.”
~ John Care, managing director of Mastering Technical Sales, a training and consulting company specializing in skills development of pre-sale engineers
On the SE role becoming more consultative…
“Many studies suggest most customers consume only 20% of the offering, it suggests a good portion of the product is going to be of zero or little interest to the customer. So, it becomes incumbent upon the sales team, in this case, the pre-sales person, to become more consultative and to ask more questions before moving the mouse.”
~ Peter Cohan, founder and principal of GreatDemo!, which provides workshops, training, and coaching on demonstration skills for software organizations
On the evolution of the sales engineer’s role…
“They need to be able to take technical capabilities and translate them into business savings or business opportunities. The people who can do this well are sought after and paid the highest premium.”
“Your goal as an SE—being that next wave after the salesperson has done some preliminary qualification—is to do both a technical fit and a business fit and help the sales team understand who the people are we need to align with and get to. All of buying is emotional, and unless I’m going to be able to position my product in front of the emotional buyer who has a personal need to solve the problem, it will most likely end up in a no-decision.”
~ Rich Chiarello, president of Above the Line specializing in sales and management consulting
On the skills that make for an effective sales engineer…
“Regardless of the degree of technical acumen that’s required, sales engineers are definitely not pitchmen or women. They first have to really understand what a client or prospect is trying to achieve and then, and only then, can they deliver a solution designed to help the prospect or client understand how they can achieve what they need to with your specific product.”
“I think about it very much the same way I think about a doctor. A doctor first needs to ask the right questions of the patient to understand what the patient is feeling or struggling with so that they can come to a diagnosis and then prescribe a solution.”
~ Rob Falcone, director of sales engineering at Guru.
Throughout our interviews with these four experts, common themes emerged regarding the future of the SE, the skills needed to excel in the profession, trends in technical sales, and above all, the need to adapt a consultative approach as a pathway to success.
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