Darren Smith, SVP Service & Solutions at Vonage shares his thoughts
The importance of sales is something that doesn’t need to be emphasised to any business owner. But when you are supplying the platforms and solutions that affect an organisation’s ability to function and communicate, it is essential to have a sales engineering team in place.
“Moving organisations to the cloud can be a very technical sale” said Darren Smith, SVP Service & Solutions at Vonage.
“It’s not always the case, but when you are trying to address the needs of an organisation across multiple cites or multiple geographies, there can be a lot of functional requirements that need to be understood and tested against your own capabilities, especially when the business is moving away from an on-premise solution”
“There are also the more technical aspects such as handsets, network requirements, number porting and domestic and international call flows that you need to understand when creating a successful bid and winning business.”
Sales engineers take responsibility for the functional and technical aspects of the sales process. This could include contributing to requests for proposals (RFP) and other technical queries around response documents, product demonstrations and solution architectures.
They will help define the solution and differentiate your organisation, with Smith adding that Sales Engineers play the role of a trusted technical advisor and managing the technical relationships you have with your customers.
“Defining the right solution that meets a customer’s needs and expectations is obviously key for their success today and into the future. This is where having a great team of experienced sales engineers is absolutely key in the UC market, where it is increasingly a solution sell with upside in areas many customers haven’t considered yet, such as contact centres, online experiences, omnichannel and APIs.
Sales engineers bring a lot of technical curiosity as part of their DNA, so their understanding of not just your product capabilities but also emerging trends around the industry like AI, digital transformation, bots, and customer relationship management, all help paint a winning picture of a wider set of possibilities beyond basic product capabilities.”
According to Smith, Vonage covers all of those routes to market, helping to accelerate the way our customers connect. “First, we have sales engineers who support our direct sales teams for all aspects of our single cloud communications platform – the Vonage Communication Platform.
“This includes subject matter expertise for our APIs, Unified Communications and Contact Center innovations that help our customers to perform better, connect easier and enhance experiences. This also extends to supporting our channel partners, the same teams provide expertise and direct support as well as enablement for the channel teams. In fact, our engineering expertise has been a key differentiator for the success of our channel partners in designing and delivering customized solutions that drive accelerated implementations and long-term growth.
“In our view, sales engineers are at their best when they are working hand in hand with sales, creating an unstoppable team. Trust is a key factor, of course, and part of that is knowing both the salesman and engineer are listening for different data points or triggers when engaging with your prospects and customers, to form a holistic solution that can exceed their expectations.
“The reason why sales engineers are so key to your business is that you can use their knowledge and understanding of the complexities within communication environments, to build a solution that wins you business but also leaves the customer with the best solution they could have wanted.