(4) New Jobs from HORIBA Scientific:

Alert to SE’s who might be looking… see below for (4) new positions, from one of our NAASE Members. HORIBA certainly does some innovative work in their space. If you are interested, reach out to them via their link. (Please do not send resumes etc to NAASE.)

Southeast Sales:

https://www.horiba.com/int/company/career/job-specification/action/show/Job/sales-engineer-southeast-region-756/

Inside Sales Engineer:

https://www.horiba.com/int/company/career/job-specification/action/show/Job/inside-sales-specialist-entry-level-1-734/

Mid-Atlantic Sales Engineer:

https://www.horiba.com/int/company/career/job-specification/action/show/Job/mid-atlantic-sales-engineer-735/

Sales Support Coordinator:

https://www.horiba.com/int/company/career/job-specification/action/show/Job/sales-support-coordinator-1-755/

Good luck, and thanks to HORIBA for the notification!

A Peek into B2B Sales in 2023

(by Adam Joyce) –

With increasing economic uncertainty and the seemingly permanent changes to professional interactions driven by the pandemic, B2B sales will continue to evolve in 2023. The new B2B sales landscape will be characterized by 3 key objectives:

  • A Focus on Improving the Buyer Experience
  • An Increase in Digital Touchpoints
  • A Concentration on Customer Success

A Focus on the Buyer Experience

With buyer access to an unlimited inventory of information online, how will suppliers standout in an overcrowded digital landscape? By creating unique, memorable buyer experiences.

In 2023 and beyond, more B2B organizations will start to adopt new technologies and strategies to make buying more engaging, effortless, and simply more fun. Consider Virtual Reality purchasing, Metaverse sales meetings, and AI chatbots as the leading communication channels for businesses and their customers.

Organizations that deliver creative, immersive buyer experiences will win.

An Increase in Digital Touchpoints

Buyers in tomorrow’s B2B marketplace will continue down a digitally driven purchasing path, and suppliers must be prepared to meet the customer where they are in the online world. This means B2B sales organizations must increase the number of digital channels they have a presence in. These channels could include everything from videos, blog posts and newsletters to forums, e-books, and emerging social channels.

Content will continue to be king!

A Concentration on Customer Success

With potential economic turbulence ahead, B2B sales organizations will cut costs by placing additional emphasis on current customer retention and growth in these accounts rather than new customer acquisition in achieving revenue targets.

Just as Jeff Bezos and Amazon coined the phrase “a relentless focus on customer service,” B2B sales teams must adopt this same mentality with a digital-first strategy. Both low-touch and high-touch success models will be delivered via emerging technologies. Similar to buyer experiences, expect data-driven personalized touchpoints, Virtual Reality collaborations, and AI communications to play key roles in 2023 customer service business units.

While there is a lot of unknown ahead, one thing is for certain: B2B sales will change in 2023. Businesses will explore new technologies and expand into new online channels to ensure they are engaging the customers through their preferred digital marketplaces.

Adam is on the NAASE Advisory Board, and can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamcjoyce/

** Unrelated NAASE Note: Please check out the following ranking from Feedspot, on the Top Sales Engineering websites/ blogs-

https://blog.feedspot.com/sales_engineer_blogs/

Navigating the Icebergs of the Pending 2023 Economy

There is quite a lot of troubling news and numbers lately regarding the status of the general US economy, and maybe even moreso in the tech/software sector. NAASE is not an economic think tank, but we do research current trends. That said, we recently conducted a 1 on 1 interview with Mark Stevenson, the President of Champion Recruiting. Champion focuses on sales and SE’s within the tech industry, and they are a NAASE Corporate Member. You can find them at: https://www.linkedin.com/company/champion-recruiting/about/ .

Mark is located right outside of Silicon Valley, and has filled roles at many California and national tech companies. Champion focuses on only the top 25% of talent that is out there- but truly they seek out and place mostly the top 10% of sales representatives and sales engineers. He calls those the “A” players in the market. Below that are what he refers to as the “B” folks- who still are good at what they do, but they would not be considered the best at their current firms. And below that, all the rest he would deem as the “C” personnel- who are semi-adequate and often times would have the hardest time in finding a new job.

NAASE: What’s the market like out there now? I read of layoffs every other day it seems.

MS: Well, the economy goes in cycles and I have been through several of them. When the economy is bad, and/or when inflation is high (like now), many companies use that as a good time to “trim the fat” per se. A 5%- 10% reduction in headcount across the board is very normal. However, lately I’ve seen several companies cut 20% of their staff. Those are big numbers.

NAASE: Is that because there is less venture capital out there currently?

MS: Well, maybe a little bit. But in the Valley itself, I still think there’s a lot of cash and investment out there floating around. I think the layoffs are more to do with the current state of the overall economy. Less spending… less profits, with higher fixed costs.

NAASE: What do you say to a tech SE that recently got laid off and is now searching? Will they have a harder time finding their next job than they would have a year ago? Any advice?

MS: It all depends. At Champion, we are dealing with all “A” players. Those people are the cream of the crop, and generally they are going to get what they want. They won’t be struggling to find a good job for long. Even in a recession, they are wanted. If you are out of work you need to be honest with yourself. Are you an “A” sales rep or SE? It does no good to kid yourself. 90% of people out there are not; that is just the math. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m trying to give good advice. If you are a B or a C player, you need to leverage your professional (and personal) network to find a decent job, in a tough economy. And that is where we are right now.

NAASE: So, high-level, where do you see things going? When will things turn back around?

MS: I’m certainly no economist, but I work in the market and in the industry every day. And I read the news just like everyone else. Looks like 2 more federal rate hikes, soon. That will further deflate the economy. That said, I think it might get a bit worse, before it gets better. The next “high” wave might be 1-2 years away. So I think we are back in a scenario where the companies have leverage. Over the past couple years (or more) the employees typically had the leverage. Not anymore, in general. So if my boss told me I need to be in the office 4 days a week- I think I’d probably do it and not complain.

NAASE: Thanks Mark. Appreciate the time and the insight. I hope things will be a little better than you detail, but it is good to be prepared either way.

The People of NAASE: Who are we?

By Matt Mahoney, VP NAASE

Breakdown of the professional segments that NAASE members work in

We are the North American Association of Sales Engineers. We were founded in 2020 and started out small, but have been growing quickly and steadily in the past 2 years. Our mission here at NAASE is a simple one: we aim to foster a base of Certified Sales Engineers across North America, enable them to connect with one another, and actively promote the profession.

Who are we though?

NAASE is made up of a diverse group of members across various industries. We are account managers, we are technical sales reps, we are sales engineers. We are industry consultants, we are software engineers, we are presales professionals. We are entry level employees, managers, VPs, directors, SVPs, and C- Suite executives. We work in software, machinery, consulting, HVAC, electrical and power, robotics, construction, security, food, medical devices, and others.

NAASE is represented by members from many industries and at all levels of leadership. If you’re looking for a community of likeminded people in the sales or presales space, this is the community for you!

Members of NAASE are able to network with one another, connect with recruiters and career coaches, and provides plenty of discounts on a wide variety of professional services. We offer our members many benefits at a great value. We offer three professional certifications as well, available to any of our members who meet the qualifications. We are proud of our member base, and we aim to continue our strong growth as others in the industry recognize concrete benefits of joining NAASE.

Drop us a line, check out our website, and consider joining the North American Association of Sales Engineers!

Founder’s Message:  How Will the Sales Engineer Market Progress in 2023?

Summertime in business can be a little bit quieter than normal, and the same has been true recently for NAASE.  That said, we shortly will be announcing much of our Autumn (and Winter) event schedule.  We also will be sharing some key information on how the NAASE membership is actually made up- and which sectors are represented in the Association.

As I sit writing this update, I do wonder how the market for SE’s in general (in the USA) will develop over the remainder of 2022 and into the new year.  There are certainly some conflicting dynamics.

(Walking cautiously into a new market….)

I’m not an economist, so these are just my personal observations and opinions.

Overall, there is no question that there are more SE’s today than there were 10 years ago.  Or 5 years ago.  Interest and use of SE’s has been trending up for some time.   More companies are expanding their SE departments, and many other companies who never employed an SE or a Presales Consultant have now hired their first one.  And this is true across many different sectors.  More C-suites see the real and clear value of the SE to their bottom line and their revenue success.

All that said, we may be nearing some sort of temporary ceiling on new SE hires- or at least on SE compensation increases.   We do hope that SE layoffs are kept to a minimum, if applicable.   SE’s are not exempt from the concerns of the broader economy, and we all can see that many companies and sectors are having some trouble here in August 2022.  Year-to-date, the NASDAQ is down 21%, and the S&P 500 is down 14%.  Companies are having to make some tough choices, and they are looking at headcount and compensation.  And let’s face it, sales engineers are not “cheap”, with an average salary of approximately $120,000.  They are generally allocated to overhead as opposed to an Account Executive/ Account Manager whose pay is often directly tied to sales/receivables.  Thus, CFO’s are looking at their SE numbers.

Though we are seeing continued high inflation, and a rather stagnant economy, we do hope and expect that the trends that were well evident from 2018- 2021 in the sales engineering space will still continue onward and upwards in due time.  Corporations now more than ever are looking to become more efficient, to innovate, and to partner with their clients and their prospects.  Sales engineers are uniquely qualified to help accomplish all of those goals.

Best of luck for the remainder of the summer, and as we look to Q4 in the near future!

Regards,

Ken Lambert

Vice President/ Founder – NAASE

Key Insights on the “Trusted Advisor” Sales Engineer

Recently NAASE hosted a Members-Only ZOOM Forum with noted SE speaker and consultant, John Care. (For members who might have missed it, please request our recording of the call.) There was some great information and advice packed into this 1 hour presentation and meeting, and we thank John for that.

John and his company, Mastering Technical Sales, have conducted some great research into the true value of sales engineers, and also what specifically a client or prospect wants out of their vendor or trusted advisor.

In their list of what customers really want, they provide a ranking of the survey results. #1 is “someone who understands my business”. Having deep technical knowledge is way down at #5.

And what kind of value does a sales engineer bring to the table? This graph says it all:

As you can see by this chart from MTS- the “Technical Team” (which includes the sales engineer, presales, and the technical salesperson) provides the most value to the client/prospect. In fact, they would much rather interact with you than with your company’s CEO or COO, etc.

Know your worth, and also know that right now it is a fairly “hot” market for SE’s out there in the USA that might be looking for a switch. We talked about that a bit also, on our ZOOM call.

For more information on MTS, please visit: https://www.masteringtechnicalsales.com/ .

PreSales Compensation Plans 101: Creating Winning Plans for Sales Engineers

Written by the Vivun team

PreSales Compensation Plans 101

Getting PreSales compensation right is mission-critical to building revenue-generating teams that are incentivized to win for the company and themselves.

With little to no public information, we seek to uncloak the mystery around PreSales compensation and empower leaders to create effective plans that help hire and retain top talent. In the 2021 Benchmark Report: The State of PreSales Compensation Edition, 40% of PreSales leaders didn’t think their compensation plans were effective and 69% didn’t fully own their compensation plans.

That’s why we created the PreSales Compensation Calculator for Emerging Teams & The Complete Guide to PreSales Compensation—all built and written with the expertise of our VP of PreSales, Brett Crane, who will also be leading a webinar on how to design a comp model that drives results on June 29.

In this blog, I’ll review the drivers—quotas, on-target earnings, support models, commissions—that impact a PreSales compensation strategy and the salary of Sales Engineers, and how they can be put together to create effective plans for PreSales teams at startups to Enterprises. If you already have plans you can take away insights and ideas on how to improve existing ones.

1. PreSales Compensation Plan: Quota

As the target bookings of an individual or group, quotas are fundamental to the leadership team strategically planning hiring and forecast growth. From a PreSales perspective, the following are often the most important elements of quota:

Metric is used for defining quota and attainment results. As companies transition to recurring revenue, metrics such as “Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)”, “Annual Contract Value (ACV)”,

and “Total Contract Value (TCV)” become the dominant metrics for measuring quota. In a B2B sale where PreSales is most commonly involved, ACV—the annual recurring value of a contract of at least 12 months in length—is the most commonly used metric.

Support models indicate how opportunities are assigned to PreSales individuals and/or teams. PreSales teams may leverage a variety of support models which will impact PreSales quota based on the number of Account Executives (AEs) being supported and the projected hiring across regions.

Period defines if the quota is established on a quarterly or annual basis. This forms the foundation for total payout to the individual. Quarterly periods are highly effective for businesses with higher volume segments or businesses that have less predictability in their business model. Annual periods are more appropriate for businesses who sell large deals to Enterprise segments where the deal cycle times are long.

2. Compensation Plan: On-Target Earnings

On Target Earnings (OTE) refers to the total payout an individual can expect when 100% of quota is achieved. Depending on the company and PreSales team, there will always be a base salary but the mix of variable commission and bonuses may vary.

OTE for PreSales individuals is based on the following formula:

OTE = Base Salary + Variable Commission at 100% Quota Attainment + Bonuses (Management by Objectives – MBOs)

It is important to determine the split between base and variable to create an effective PreSales plan. For example, Sales is typically split 50/50. Yet, PreSales has a variable portion to their plan but with a lower percentage of their overall OTE tied to closed deals when compared to sales. The most common base/variable split for PreSales individuals is 70/30.

3. PreSales Compensation Plan: Support Models

PreSales is a sales support function which adds complexity as a variety of different support models may be utilized. These models are examples of how to set the quota and focus for the PreSales individual to make it clear for them what to focus on and how they will get paid.

Pooled by Geography

PreSales resources focus on a geography, EMEA for example. Opportunities are worked on by individuals within the pool, but the individual PreSales quotas will be aligned to the overall success of the geography. The benefits of this model include incredible flexibility for PreSales leadership to manage workloads across the team while creating a culture of shared success and team comradery.

Pooled by Segment

Similar to above, PreSales resources may be focused but are further aligned by segment, for example, Enterprise West (US) vs. Healthcare and Life Sciences. A “segment” may be a focus on companies of a specific size or industry/vertical. Opportunities are worked on by individuals within the pool who support the particular segment. For businesses who require different PreSales skill sets across segments, this model may make the most sense. Downsides include onboarding and long ramp times.

Direct Alignment

In this model, PreSales individuals are directly aligned to AEs, so that they become comfortable working together deal after deal and can achieve more consistent results. The working relationship (personality clashes) and win rates (success) of these pairs are important to monitor. Most often seen in Strategic segments, this support model is expensive and resource-heavy but may make the most sense for companies that focus predominantly on large deals.

Individual

Some PreSales teams have a model where they pay their PreSales professionals a commission on the deals that they individually work on as the primary PreSales resource. Often this is referred to as their “revenue influence”.

Multiple Pools

There are often multiple pools in which a single PreSales individual might have a
plan so that their variable commission may be split into 50%, where they get paid
on the deals they individually work on that close (individual model), and then 50%
of their commission is tied to their other pool, for example, geographical. Therefore, PreSales individuals are both incentivized to win a plethora of deals they are the primary PreSales individual working on but also want to help their teammates in their geography to close their deals because that is tied and important to the Sales Engineer’s pay.

4. PreSales Compensation Plan: Commissions

As described above, PreSales teams leverage a variable component to their compensation plan. The following represent common strategies for selecting the appropriate commission structure for the variable compensation component.

Continuous vs. Step vs. Hybrid

In a continuous model, the PreSales individual will earn commission continuously. In a step model, commissions are only paid out when certain targets are achieved. In a hybrid model, there may be an initial target that must be cleared prior to commission payout at which point commissions are then earned continuously.

Flat vs. Accelerators

In a flat model, commissions are paid at the same rate regardless of quota attainment. An example would be a PreSales individual getting 1% commission on every deal. In an accelerator model, the commission payout may vary as certain targets are achieved. While the PreSales individual may earn 1% for all deals up to 100% quota attainment, they may then start to earn 2% for all bookings above their quota.

Uncapped vs. Capped

In an uncapped model, the PreSales individual will continue earning commissions regardless of quota attainment. In a capped model, commission payout will cease for any achievement over a certain quota attainment (175% for example).

Putting it all together

By considering all the drivers that make up a PreSales compensation, you can combine these concepts to create compelling compensation plans that meet your specific needs. Compensation plans should strive to ensure that PreSales teams have variable compensation tied directly to the work PreSales individuals are doing to make their focus clear.

With a strong foundation of the drivers of PreSales compensation plans, leaders of emerging teams (best for ~10 or fewer PreSales professionals) can build the perfect single commission plan in just a few clicks with our PreSales Compensation Calculator for Emerging Teams!

If you lead a larger team check out the Guidebook—The Complete Guide to PreSales Compensation—to dive deeper into the drivers above and to potentially help overhaul current processes or validate the ones in place.

PreSales compensation plans should be geared toward motivating Sales Engineers to work at their peak performance and improving morale as well as for leaders to support their team and the company’s overall business strategy.

Let us show you how our PreSales platform—Hero by Vivun®—can help you run your team like a business!

Message from the President – 6/1/22

We are almost halfway through 2022!  With so many challenges for people as well as businesses, it’s fair to say that humanity keeps us together and driving forward no matter what gets in the way.  It’s now June, and NAASE would also like to recognize Pride month as a great example of how humanity can come together to make a difference in this world.

June is an exciting month for NAASE, as we have a Member’s Only Forum with John Care next week. 

I encourage you to sign up for an NAASE membership before then, to not miss one of the best Technical Sales advocates around.  Later this month, we will also be announcing the SE of the Year winner!  That is just the beginning, as we will have so many more great events online as well as some upcoming in-person events later this year.  If I could call out the top benefit to being a member of NAASE, it is that you will gain access to a very diverse set of industry leaders and up-and-comers, to network with as well as request advice for wherever your path is leading through technical sales.  It’s easy to join, and as a member you have direct access to the NAASE leadership as well as board members in addition to all NAASE members.

I would like to leave you all with these thoughts for today, as we truly would love to have more industry feedback on what the community would like to see from NAASE in the future.   When we think of hot tech topics, we think things like Zero Trust, CyberSecurity, Multi-hybrid Cloud, but what would be some tech topics NAASE could focus on with events or discussions where you see are trending hot topics?  What about AI in the manufacturing process? 

Finally, I would like to mention a conversation I once had with someone regarding the definition of Cloud.  They said to me “I just use this device and everything shows up.”  I then said, but that’s the same as any other device right?  They responded with “no, this device doesn’t have anything installed locally besides a web browser, as everything I need is in the Cloud.”  I continued to see if they really understood what that all means, so I asked what their definition of Cloud was.  They said “Cloud is just a data center that is owned and managed by someone else.  It can be anywhere and you only need to connect to it.”   I felt that was a pretty basic and fair definition, do you agree?  We would like to hear what other definitions of Cloud are out there resonating with industry as well as non-industry folks. 

Warm Regards,

Damian Hanna, CSE

President – NAASE

HIRING: Technical Sales Engineer (Northeast USA)

New NAASE Corporate Member, IBM, is actively seeking to fill a SE role. The following information and link is a courtesy to IBM. Any questions or applications for this role must be addressed to IBM and not to NAASE. Thank you-

Client Technical Specialists (CTP) are the technical experts and advisors to clients, IBM sales teams and/or IBM Business Partners. As a CTP you understand the client’s business requirements, technical requirements and/or competitive landscape. You apply your business insights, build and maintain client relationships, incorporate hardware, software and services into client-valued solutions and ensure client readiness for the implementation of technical solutions. This is an opportunity to shape the future for both IBM and its clients. Start your journey now!

Your Role and Responsibilities
The IBM Client Technical Specialists is a technical pre-sales specialist who provides prospects, customers, IBM business partners and the IBM’s sales team with in-depth domain, product, solutions and/or technical product expertise covering the IBM AI Applications Solutions portfolio. You apply your business insights, build and maintain client relationships, incorporate hardware, software and services into client-valued solutions and ensure client readiness for the implementation of technical solutions. This is an opportunity to shape the future for both IBM and its clients. Start your journey now!

Key Job Details

  • Country/Region:US
  • State:MULTIPLE
  • City:Multiple Cities
  • Category:Sales
  • Required Education:High School Diploma/GED
  • Position Type:Professional
  • Employment Type:Full-Time
  • Contract Type:Regular
  • Company:(0147) International Business Machines Corporation
  • Req ID:539245BR
  • Travel Required:Up to 60% or 3 days a week (home on weekends – based on project requirements)

For more information and to Apply, please click link:

https://careers.ibm.com/job/15370925/technical-sales-engineer-asset-management-ai-apps-northeast-remote/?codes=IBM_CareerWebSite

Focusing on Outcomes over Effort in Presales

An article from our sponsors Vivun

On Wednesday, Vivun VP of PreSales Brett Crane sat down with Oliver Oursin, Elastic’s EMEA Head of Solutions Architecture, for a conversation on delivering powerful outcomes as a data-driven PreSales leader. This blog post sums up some of Brett and Oliver’s thoughts on why an outcomes-based approach to PreSales management is so critical for success.

You get a sense of which results matter most and how to achieve them

Most PreSales leaders have the experience and intuition to understand generally what problems their team is facing, but having the data to back those claims up significantly raises the strategic profile of the team.

However, the first place people tend to look is at how much time the PreSales team is spending on activities rather than what outcomes are being achieved. Gathering data on the latter is much more powerful because it lets you determine whether or not the team is doing the right things.

Ask questions like:

Each of the answers to those questions reveals whether the thing being done (i.e. POCs, solution design, post-sales handoffs) has a significant and positive impact on your team’s success.

Time is ultimately a secondary measure here. Understanding that the PreSales team spent X number of hours attached to deals or doing POCs is helpful for gauging the level of effort required to perform certain work, but doesn’t necessarily indicate whether it’s making a difference.

If you want to secure the technical win in a deal, mapping out a sample of the various outcomes and activities required to get there might look something like this:

Outcomes and deliverables describe results, and how impactful they might be. Activities show how much effort is required to get there.

You’re able to think outside of the box of your existing systems

“The most damaging phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way!'”

—Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

It’s something that happens all the time when trying to sell to prospects. Many potential customers simply do nothing about the pain that they’re facing or resort to workarounds, convinced that there isn’t any better option.

Brett and Oliver both stressed that you shouldn’t take what you do today and try to make it better by simply putting it into a new system or platform. If a new technology solution is being implemented, you can use the rollout as an opportunity to introduce and scale process changes  based on the ideal end state.

It’s easier to secure buy-in and resources when you focus on outcomes 

Everyone knows that a solid business case helps secure the budget needed to get deals done. Describing what your team needs in purely technological terms isn’t a good way to convince people that what you want is valuable.

As Oliver explained, it was absolutely critical that conversations with Elastic’s leadership (in Product and Customer Success) about the value of a PreSales platform centered around the outcomes for each of them:

  • Sales wished to identify how the go-to-market team could sell more successfully across various regions, segments, and business areas.
  • Product was keen to better understand the commercial impact of requested product enhancements and how to prioritize them. 
  • Customer Success wanted a more comprehensive look at what the Solutions Architecture team worked on with customers during evaluations, so as to successfully build upon those efforts.

Showing the kinds of answers that they could get resulted in broader agreement that a PreSales platform was a great thing for the company to have. Focusing on the outcomes other departments can expect from your team helps build consensus across the organization.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how Elastic’s PreSales team uses Hero by Vivun® to create transformational outcomes across multiple departments, read the full story here.

The Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer

Published by the team at Vivun, a sponsor of NAASE

We’ve talked a lot about the rapid growth in PreSales, and even recently released a Benchmark report discussing that growth. We see 6% in growth across the entire profession, with over 120,000 job openings currently posted.

But the question remains – why? Is it because companies are growing, and when they’re growing, they just need more people to do a bunch of demos?

Demos are great, but they don’t drive the strategic growth of an entire profession the way we’re seeing in PreSales. Vivun believes there’s a fundamental shift in how prospects are researching, evaluating, and buying technology, causing massive reverberations in B2B buying. We call it the Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer.

“People buy from people,” that hoary old axiom goes. But that’s not really true any longer. It may have been true five years ago: prospects used to place their faith in the salesperson, hoping that a great relationship would bring them to their desired outcome. They’d play golf and go to baseball suites and engage in long, chatty phone calls. But the problem is, once the sale was finished, in many cases the solution didn’t perform. It didn’t deliver value.

Buyers have been burned. And they won’t let it happen again.

The new breed of buyer demands a “sure thing.” They want value at every step, total transparency from the vendor, and the ability to run the sales process their way – as opposed to being held at arm’s length from a product and unable to discover if its capabilities meet their requirements.

They’re tired of being held hostage to a MEDDIC stage, and they’re tired of having to wade through three meetings (including the qualifying call by a sales development rep) just to see the product.

The Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer explains why Gartner’s Future of Sales Research shows that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels – because 33% of buyers desire a seller-free experience. They want to research the product on their own, figure out whether it meets their needs, and then they want to spend as little time with the salesperson as possible in order to complete the transaction.

What does all of this have to do with PreSales?

Think about what the Sales-Proof Buyer really wants: value, transparency, and the ability to know for certain that a particular solution aligns to the right use cases. Salespeople can’t deliver any of this, and at the same time, even the most self-directed Buyer can’t figure all of this out on their own.

Buyers need PreSales – more than ever.

It’s PreSales who knows the solution cold, including use cases by the dozens. Buyers immediately relax when they’re talking to PreSales, as opposed to talking to an Account Exec, because they know they can get their questions answered – by someone who knows the product inside and out, as opposed to someone who is simply trying to close a sale.

Product-Led Growth is no exception; in fact, PLG is driving the twin vectors of the Sales-Proof Buyer and the rapid hiring of PreSales at exactly the same time. PLG is fantastic for the Sales-Proof Buyer because they get to put their hands on the product immediately, experiment with their unique use cases, and see the value without having to talk to a single human being.

But once they’re well inside the buying cycle, they will have questions: what about this feature? And that one? And this particular use case? They need a solution expert in order to help them cross the chasm from product experimentation to closed sale, and PreSales is the only team able to build that bridge.

How important is this?

An argument can be made that the fastest-growing software companies on the planet – organizations such as Snowflake, Zoom, and HashiCorp – are experiencing that growth because they’ve embraced the new way of connecting with buyers. They’ve realized that the go-to-market methods of years ago no longer work against a buyer who has their force fields raised, and who demands instant value.

The companies who have hired and trained the right team of PreSales people are going to reap the benefits: everything from product field alignment (since PreSales are the link between what the buyer wants and what the product team thinks they should build), to solution expertise, to overall trust and transparency.

In short, investing in PreSales is the way companies are going to prevail in the B2B landscape of 2022. The rest? They can record all the sales calls they want and send a tsunami of sequenced emails, but that’s not going to win over the buyer who is 50% down the purchasing path before they even enter into the sales cycle.

The key to winning over the Sales-Proof Buyer and building a true competitive moat is PreSales.

March’s Letter & Insights from NAASE President

Is it March already?  Time seems to be flying by, and we have all had to deal with so much turmoil going on throughout the world.  With all these unfortunate events, 2022 still seems to be holding strong by providing jobs and more opportunities for people to do what we love as well as engaging with others, who we may have not been able to see in a long time.  In the professional world, we are also starting to see more and more in-person meetings, which seems to be re-energizing our industry and people’s Technical Sales career aspirations.  NAASE is no different, as we have been more active and have seen more and more of our members engage with us, our partners, as well as other members throughout the association.  Although NAASE has not started hosting in-person events just yet, we are determined to continue providing good use of everyone’s time during any of our online forums that our members and potential members attend.

Last December, I stated we would be adding additional member benefits as well as promoting our 2022 monthly forum events.  In case you missed any of our announcements via our website https://sales-engineering.org or on LinkedIn, we have added more partners who are offering discounts to our members, as well as additional Registered SE Coaches for you to connect with for both individual as well as corporate SE coaching.  On top of this, we welcomed Vivun as our newest Corporate Sponsor.  Vivun maximizes PreSales teams’ ability to accelerate revenue, grow market share, and demonstrate value, all powered by Vivun’s AI engine acting on their unique PreSales data set.  If your organization is interested in becoming a Corporate Sponsor, please reach out to info@sales-engineering.org.

So far this year, NAASE has co-hosted a forum with Kamelian Tech & Peter Strohkorb which discussed competitive sales strategies related to Sales Engineering, as well as a walkthrough of Kamelian Tech’s tools to use with Sales, CI, and negotiation.  Additionally, NAASE co-hosted another forum with Heidi Castagna and Marco Alves from NVIDIA, discussing the future of Technical Certifications as well as introducing NVIDIA’s newest AI certification. With that said, I also wanted to provide just a sneak peek at some of the upcoming “NAASE Member’s Only” forums we will be promoting soon.  You will be seeing a forum regarding “Women in Tech and the advancement of women in the workplace” with Eva HelenCan you say, “John Care”?  Look out for an upcoming Members Only forum about Mastering Technical Sales.  I also heard a rumor that Ramzi Marjaba will be making an appearance later this year on one of the NAASE forums.  Make sure your membership is up-to-date or join if you have not done so yet.  You do not want to miss these events and all the additional benefits that will continue to be added throughout 2022.

As a reminder, we have membership levels for Students, Individuals as well as Corporate memberships which can all be found at https://sales-engineering.orgjoin-naase-2/#membership-details-1.  Additionally, if you have not applied for the NAASE Certified Sales Engineer (CSE) certification yet, what are you waiting for?  The NAASE CSE certification identifies you as a dedicated professional and acknowledges your personal achievements, improves your level of practice, and highlights you as an industry leader.  Check out the CSE requirements at https://sales-engineering.orgcse/.

Warm Regards,

Damian Hanna, CSE

President – NAASE