What does it take to form a more effective team?Presales roles feel like they are out on their own. Sometimes your closest colleague is the sales rep you are supporting. Other times you mainly deal with your manager.
Here are 5 tips for having a better relationship with your other Sales Engineer / Presales team members and what kind of working relationship will help each of you succeed more often.
Share decks, demos & materialEvery customer session has many common parts. If you are presenting the same product, to different customers, you and your teammates, can and should share ideas about the best way to do it. Although every customer is different and has their own way of expressing the business problem, your technology solution will have many common use cases and ways to resolve some of these problems. While I'd always recommend tailoring your material to meet a customer's specific needs, you still can start with a lot of the same base material, and share the secrets of success across your team.
Work out the best demo for each part of your solution. Script it, and work out how the slide deck that you use to get to a demo should be structured.
Keep updating this material as a team, and it will be much better than anything an individual could build.
Share common customers, segmentsCustomer segments like finance, manufacturing and technology have loads of industry specific jargon, knowledge and methodology that is common within the segment across different geographies. If your team is split geographically, then chances are, someone in another territory is dealing with the same challenges on jargon. While this is similar to the first point in that you are sharing challenges, many customers want to know how others in their segment deal with the problems, and the best way for you to know this is to talk with the colleagues who've already worked with customers on this. If you build collateral for the segment, you could have a specific industry deck, or a set of case studies or industry use cases that make it easier to be prepared for the next customer in that industry.
Objection handling, Common questions etcEver customer question or objection is based on something that they feel strongly about as a challenge in making your solution work. By listening to your customer and getting the detail about their objections, you can understand better any underlying reasons, problems and difficulties they have in understanding your product.
Chances are, these questions have been asked before, and will get asked again, so building up some team knowledge in being prepared for the tough questions will make you all stronger. Remember though, even if you've heard this question before, this could be the first time this customer has asked their question, so give them full time to ask it, and make sure you understand what they are asking and what the problem means to them, before you attempt to answer their question. And check that your answer is an answer for them.
Sharing big workloadsSome projects are bigger than one person can handle. Some POCs need multiple different skills or more people on the ground. Sometimes its good to have someone in the backoffice to ask for help. When you have a bigger project in terms of workload, you need to call out for the team to help out, and then remember you'll have someone who might need your help in the future. Also one point Dale Carnegie makes in "How to Win friends and Influence people" is that asking others for favors can make them more inclined to like you and work with you in general.
The buddy systemOf course, having people you like working with makes you more likely to want to succeed and keep working for an organization. One good way to help make sure each person fits in, is that each person should have someone they can go to for help, mentoring, friendship and discussion on working in the company. Having a buddy that you trust, work with and can bounce ideas off, without there being some stigma like they are your boss or business partner can help you gain a better way of working in the company and being prepared for day to day working challenges.
By forming better relationships with your peers and team around the world, you will help build a team greater than the sum of its parts and push for more success in your day to day work. You also might find you build your long term career value more than you expect by establishing bonds with future colleagues, bosses and employees!