REVIEW: The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Sales Engineers (Chris White)
Recently I was asked to read and review a 2019 book written by presales consultant Chris White, regarding the best habits of effective sales engineers. The book is geared more towards the software industry. However, roughly 85% of the material and suggestions within the book can be used in other fields of sales engineering.
Overall, White’s book has many practical points and insights, which I believe is the key factor in any business publication. My favorite pieces of advice he suggests include the following:
One aspect of the book would not be entirely correct for “some” sales engineers out there. The premise of the book is that the SE is always working alongside a sales rep or Account Executive. While this may be generally the case, especially in enterprise software, it oftentimes is not the case in the non-software end of sales engineering. I was formerly the national sales engineer for a building product manufacturer, and there was nobody else doing anything sales related in my territory. I did all of my own prospecting as well as every other aspect of sales and business development or account management. Many other non-software SE’s are in the same boat.
That said, White’s chapter on partnering with your AE is excellent and is critical for having a successful career where you are in fact working with a sales counterpart. If that relationship is problematic, there is very little chance of ongoing sales prowess. The book goes over several aspects making sure you have a solid working relationship, and much of this has to do with communication, and expectations.
In my opinion, Chris White’s book does a good job of what it sets out to do, and is full of valuable lessons for the new SE but also for a professional that has been in the industry or role for several years. And though it does focus on software professionals, SE’s from other fields should also find it relevant and helpful.