Marjorie Abdelkrime (LinkedIn), with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, currently leads the US Healthcare team at Broadcom Software Group. She is passionate about driving diversity, equity, and inclusion. She brings 15 years of Services and Presales Leadership expertise, showcasing her profound knowledge and strategic leadership in technology and business transformation.
Why SE Enablement?
Sales enablement has emerged as a cornerstone for companies aiming to boost their sales performance and stay ahead of the curve. Solution Engineering (SE) enablement programs are at the heart of this transformation, meticulously designed to empower SE teams with the right tools, knowledge, and skills. According to Wilson Learning, the right training can make team members 43% more effective and productive.
Solution Engineering enablement programs can help organizations improve their SEs performance, which is critical for the success of your business as a whole. Here are some reasons why:
- Align PreSales to company strategy
- Improve team efficiency
- Help scale success
- Increase sales productivity (more wins, shorter sales cycles, faster ramp)
Ingredients of an SE Enablement Program
SE leaders have a variety of enablement activities to choose from as you build a program to fit your team, company, and industry structure and needs:
‘Right for Me’ Programs
The ‘Right for Me’ programs represent a paradigm shift in SE training, moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach to a more personalized training experience. These programs are tailored to the individual learning styles, career goals, and expertise levels of the SE, ensuring that every participant receives training that resonates with their unique professional journey.
Certifications play a pivotal role in SE programs by formally recognizing the SE team’s skills and knowledge. These certifications are not just accolades; they serve as a benchmark for professional development and a tool for instilling confidence in clients. SE professionals who undergo certification achievement demonstrate their commitment to excellence and readiness to meet the ever-evolving demands of the market.
Just-in-time training is a responsive approach that provides SE teams with relevant information exactly when needed. This method is particularly effective in rapidly changing industries where staying updated with the latest trends and tools is crucial. By offering training that is easily accessible and timely, SE teams can immediately apply new knowledge and skills to real-world scenarios, enhancing their agility and responsiveness.
Technical Deep Dives
Technical deep dives are integral to SE programs, especially in industries where products and services are complex. These sessions equip SE professionals with an in-depth understanding of the products, features, and applications. Mastery of this knowledge enables SEs to confidently address client queries, offer tailored solutions, and establish themselves as trusted advisors.
Incorporating customer stories into SE programs provides invaluable insights into the real-world application and impact of products and services. These narratives offer a glimpse into the customer’s journey, highlighting challenges, solutions, and outcomes. Learning from these stories helps SEs empathize with their clients, better anticipate their needs, and refine their sales strategies.
Lastly, industry-based education ensures that Sales and PreSales teams are not just experts in their products but also well-versed in the specific industry they sell to. This aspect of SE programs involves training on industry trends, challenges, regulatory environments, and competitor landscapes. Such knowledge is crucial for building credibility with buyers and within the organization.
Getting Buy-In and Approval for SE Enablement
In many organizations, a broader sales enablement program exists. It is important to work with the sales enablement organization to incorporate the needs of the Solution Engineer. If it does not already exist, here are recommendations on leveraging tactics to launch this new program:
1. Present a Clear Business Case: Outline the potential ROI, improved customer satisfaction, and increased efficiency that a well-trained SE team can bring to your business.
2. Engage with Sales Leadership: Demonstrating how SE programs align with broader sales and company goals can be key to gaining support. Show them how you can help them reach their goals.
3. Showcase Success Stories: Use examples from other organizations that have benefitted from similar programs.
Choosing the Right Program Mix
For those establishing an enablement program for the first time, it is important to evaluate your organizational priorities. In many organizations, the best first place to begin is Right for Me Programs, ensuring that each team member grows effectively to meet your goals:
1. Start with ‘Right for Me’ Programs to understand the team’s unique needs better. To get a sense of initial needs, create skills assessment initiatives within your organization.
2. Incorporate Certifications to provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills and to equip SEs with recognizable milestones and tangible signs of professional development
3. Gradually add Industry Education & Technical Deep Dives to build upon foundational knowledge and help SEs excel in technical product knowledge and buyer business needs.
Recommended Reading and Resources
In addition to establishing an enablement program, here are resources you can recommend to team members looking to further their professional development:
- SE-specific courses on platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning
- Industry-specific webinars and workshops
- Books such as Mastering Technical Sales: The Sales Engineer’s Handbook by John Care
- The Six Habits of Highly Effective Sales Engineers by Chris White (Book, Certification)
An effective Solution Engineer Enablement program combines personalized training, certifications, just-in-time learning, technical deep dives, real-world stories, and industry-specific education. The key to success lies in understanding the unique needs of your SE team and strategically choosing the right mix of these components. With the right approach and resources, SE enablement programs can significantly enhance the capabilities and performance of Solution Engineers, driving success for both them and your organization.