Top 10 attributes of a successful SE
The most important attribute is to be consultative. Prospects don’t only expect you to know your product but also help educate them about ways to get the best ROI on their investment
2. Technical excellence
You own the technical/product expertise in the sales cycle. You are responsible and accountable to stay on top of the latest product and technology.
3. Out-of-the-box thinking
Situations change in a meeting. New, unexpected objections surface up. Prospect’s goals and priorities change. You should be able to adapt to these changes and refresh your strategy accordingly.
4. Creating solutions on the fly
Every presentation should be personalized based on what you know about the prospect and the audience. But you should be confident enough about your solution that you can come up with custom solutions on the fly. Any time you request to get back to them with an answer, you are potentially missing out an opportunity to WOW them.
Your answers should be persuasive and convincing. To successfully do this, you have to believe in your solution first. If there are fears about a specific feature or capability that might be perceived as a weakness, practice with someone internally first and propose realistic workarounds.
6. Thorough & Diligent
In addition to being thorough and articulate in your responses, you should also be diligent about follow ups. Summarize things to follow up at the end of your presentation. Make sure you respond within 24-48 hrs and if you don’t have the answers yet, you should provide at least a status update.
7. Active Listening
When prospects are asking questions or raising objections, there is a huge opportunity to learn about their concerns or interests. There is always a question behind the question. You may even learn something new about a competitor. You just have to listen and not just hear.
8. Nimble approach
Successful Sales Engineers are nimble internally and externally. We talked about externally in terms of out-of-the-box thinking and building solutions on the fly. You should also be nimble with Sales Executives, in terms of travel flexibility, change in meeting purpose, re-prioritization of opportunities or their preference of how we deliver the presentation. Every meeting is a collaboration and you should always be seen as a team player.
9. Excellent presentation skills
You must be charismatic, dynamic, bring all your positive energy and passionate about your solution, services and the industry. None of this can be easily faked either so if you don’t have authentic feelings about these, you should evaluate if this is the right role for you.
10. Industry expertise and credibility
In addition to being a solution expert, you should also know your industry well. This involves knowledge of other vendors, partner ecosystem, regulations, etc. Great SEs also contribute back to the industry in terms of blogs, white papers and conference presentations. Imagine the type of credibility you bring if the audience has seen you present at a conference or read your published article online.