Technical product sales, especially of complex solutions with a multitude of features, integrations, and components, often call for the involvement of a few departments within your organization. Even experienced sales representatives with an array of selling skills may need additional support when exposed to technical queries from their prospects. Having a sales engineer on standby and knowing when to involve them in the sales cycle can help the decision-makers better understand how your solution answers to their pain points and therefore give your sales reps a much better chance at closing the deal.
Difference Between Sales Representatives and Sales Engineers
But what exactly sets sales reps and sales engineers apart? While both positions work alongside each other and are sales centered, there are some major differences between the two.
Sales representatives present the larger value proposition while sales engineers put that value proposition into practice by providing technical insight about the deployment and implementation of the product. Building relationships with clients as well as setting contract terms, pricing, and closing deals are handled by sales representatives but the sales engineers who are included in the presale and post-sale process provide technical expertise and add to the functional and technical aspects of the sale. And while their soft skills may overlap, it’s the true in-depth knowledge of the product or its features that really set them apart. Collaboration between both departments is crucial in understanding the customer’s requirements and offers the ability to provide the technical support needed to close the sale.
What are the Benefits of Introducing a Sales Engineer into Your Channel Sales?
Here are 6 ways sales engineers can improve your sales cycle:
1. Assisting Channel Reps and Clients with Technical Support
Having an on-site solution expert who skillfully offers instant answers to highly specific product-related questions that require a deep understanding of the product, and its features is immensely beneficial for both the sales reps and their prospects during the sales cycle.
2. Improving Your Sales Teams' Understanding of the Product Through Training
Deep expertise combined with sales and industry knowledge allows sales engineers to train and educate sales reps on the technical aspects of the product. Providing guidelines and other resources to the sales team advances their own demo skills and helps them identify the right questions to ask. The more knowledgeable the sales reps are about the product, the more confident they are in the sales process resulting in a higher conversion rate.
3. Providing Remote Product Demos and Solutions Support
Visiting prospective buyers at their establishments to showcase your product, perform a demonstration and address complex problems and integration issues in the prospect’s unique scenario as a part of the sales process creates trust that further adds value to your proposition.
4. Helping Create a Strategic Plan That Answers the Prospect’s Pain Points
Sales engineers with an in-depth knowledge of the industry will have a clear view of the client’s processes and expectations, enabling them to identify prospects’ needs and possible pain points more accurately. Collaboration between sales engineers and reps is key to creating a strategic plan, building efficient value proposals, and effective presentations based on clients’ specific needs and pain points.
5. Reporting to the Senior Team Highlighting Potential Issues and Activities
A sales engineer will highly likely be the first person to identify possible roadblocks and integration issues. Their insights can be beneficial in addressing improvements needed for your solution, making your product more flexible and it will cater to a larger number of prospects.
6. Driving Revenue
Although it may seem that sales engineers only work in the background and support the sales reps, they are an important component of the sales cycle, and their technical knowledge allows them to identify additional products or services further promoting customer success and generating revenue.
Let us Worry About the Details
The benefits of having a sales engineer as a part of your sales channel speak for themselves yet many companies opt out of having one, mainly due to high costs. 2021 Median annual wage for sales engineers was $103.710 and it is estimated that the best ratio of sales engineers to sales reps is 1:2. Additionally, good sales engineers are simply hard to find, and with the demand to grow by 6% in 2031. Finding the right fit might prove to be even harder. But so is selling a technical product with a high level of complexity that needs to be onboarded, adapted, and utilized by your prospect especially if it’s being a part of a larger integration process, for example, added to your prospect’s existing tech stack.
Outsourcing seems to be one of the most practical and fitting solutions in this scenario as it provides you with skilled sales professionals while still being cost-effective and delivering results. To find out more about how MarketStar can help you with outsourcing a sales engineer, sales representatives, or even a ready-to-launch team packed with top talent, check out Direct Sales Solution at MarketStar.