Sales Engineer, Solutions Engineer, Sales Consultant, Solutions Consultant, Field Engineer, Pre-Sales Engineer……on and on the carousel goes. But you know what, I don’t care what you call me. I’ve been doing this job for over 25 years now; starting back in 1994. The great thing about this job is that there is NO job description other than; ‘do what it takes’. For those of you in sales, especially the technical side of the sales team; you know what I mean. On any given day you can be doing almost anything; including writing self-promoting blogs.
That means that you need to be able to communicate with anyone at any time over any channel: email, PowerPoint, in-person presentations, Twitter, Slack, and yes, maybe even on the phone. Each day is always a hodge-podge of different activities to support our prospects, our sales teams and the rest of the company involved in sales. I guess that is everyone in the company. In my opinion, it’s a great job for the entrepreneurial type, but not such a great job for the heads-down engineering type.
Anyway, let’s get to what I like the most about this job; I get to be a free consultant. Trust me, I care about the company that I work for, but when I’m in front of the customer I get to solely focus on them, on their needs and the solutions they’re seeking.
As a consultant, I need to call it as I see it. That includes telling the prospect that I think they may be approaching a problem incorrectly. I usually do that in a subtle way, but not always. Recently I was asked how I’m different at work than I am at home. My answer was, “at work, I filter 98% of what I’m thinking; at home, I filter 95% of what I’m thinking; but in both cases, nobody thinks I have a filter.”
If the customer is going down the wrong path, the consultant in me needs to guide them away from the dangerous approach they are/were taking, and since I’m taking that approach, I need to be open to why they are doing what they are doing and accept that it might be better than my approach. Opening that communication channel is the type of discussion I live for; taking a problem and helping customers come up with a solution. On very rare occasions, I have sent customers off to a competitive solution when I felt it was better for them. Luckily that is really rare; but then again, no product is perfect for everyone.
So somehow I have written a full page for a blog only to tell you why I love working as a Pre-Post-Sales-Field-Messaging-Consultant-Engineer; ‘I live to work solving problems with others’.