Newsletter, Volume 3

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Pre-Sales Performance Excellence Newsletter
News By SEs For SEs
Dear Pre-Sales Colleague:

In the last newsletter we talked about the business impact of Sales Engineering skills training versus product training.  Of course, this raises the broader question, "What is the value of your SE in general?  What is the potential business impact of an SE?".  The answer will be a function of how you use your SE and to what degree you strategically empower them to impact your business. 

Indeed, on one end of the extreme, we know of sales organizations where SEs out-number sales reps because they found that when leveraged to the max, SEs can actually drive more business than sales reps.  It takes a lot of work, a major commitment from executive sales and operations, and a major shift in sales culture, but the possibilities are fascinating.

Along the lines of empowering SEs and shifting your sales culture, we hope you find the following article thought provoking.


In This Issue
Leveraging The Partner SE Army

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Leveraging The Partner SE Army

We hear lots of stories of Sales Engineering (SE) teams who are overworked, living on airplanes, and on the edge of burnout.  Hiring more SEs is not always practical given how hard it is to justify and fund new head-count and recruit qualified candidates. 

Another approach to offload SE resources is to leverage your partner's SEs.  The more self sufficient a partner SE is in selling your solutions, the less your own SE will need to do.  Again, this is easier said than done, but here are some approaches to consider.

Give Partners the Same Training:  Make your partner SE as smart as your own SE.  Strive to have your company co-fund product and sales training for your partner SEs.  It is in both your best interests.  The smarter the partner SE, the less the partner will rely on your SE resources to make sales, and the faster they will be able make sales on their own.

Give Partners the Same Sales Intelligence:  Proactively provide partner SEs with your internal field intelligence.  Give them all your objection handling, value messaging, competitive knock-offs, product demos, proof-of-concept processes, etc.  Regularly update this information -- Even better, put it into a shared database accessible to both organizations.

Give Partners a Mentoring Program:  Mandate that each of your SEs mentor a set of partner SEs at all times.  Have your SE walk the partner SE through all your training, marketing collateral, sales processes, etc.  When one partner SE completes the program, your SE nominates another partner SE to take their place and begin the journey.

A goal in this controversial selling model is that direct customer contact is maximized through partner SEs and minimized with your own SEs!  Yes, this flies in the face of a direct selling model, but the alternatives are either to hire more SEs, or leverage others.  You may be familiar with the investment mantra, "leverage other people's money" -- Here we are leveraging other people's SEs. 

To realize this model, change may be needed in your working relationship with your partner, business policies, incentive plans, and selling culture.  Despite these challenges, each SE Manager can implement a portion of these ideas and begin off-loading their team's heavy workload by leveraging the partner SE army.

In our next newsletter, we will look at specific approaches to empowering SEs to improve their impact on driving revenue.

Philip Janus
Founder & CTO