Although there is much of an art to being a good SE, there are many ways of honing that art. To best do this we need some statistics.
These statistics should focus on how well the SEs are able to win a technical recommendation, and also how many of those recommendations turn into successful deals. You might think that this second one is the job of the commercial people, but the amount of demand the end-users of the tool have for it, will help quicken the process of the prospect becoming a customer.
Another important indicator is the size of those deals. While it is not necessarily easier to win smaller deals, it is the large deals that really matter to a business.
So at the end of every week, every SE in our organisation sends a spreadsheet to our Worldwide SE team leader, who collates the information and presents it to the VP of Sales.
The information in the report shows: Outstanding POC requests, Custom/Special Work Needed, Products to Opportunities, Demo Requests, Past Week Activity (Prospect, $ Size, Activity Type), Next Week Planned Activity (Prospect, $ Size, Activity Type). Then come Win/Loss reports, for every prospect that has moved off from the previous week.
The SE team leader presents to the VP the Number of PoC requests, All special works (Development projects) and the size of those deals, Number of Demos, % Customer time for each SE.
The SE team leader will also see from this reporting (and also by talking with the other SEs) where there is opportunities for SEs to work together to bring in deals easier.