"How many sales engineers does it take to sell a solution?"
This seems to be a question that many sales and sales operations leaders are asking pre-sales leaders this year. For the middle to larger sized companies in software, hardware, services and engineering appliances the days of having a single SE working with a single salesrep on a deal have passed us by. The portfolios have now become so broad and complex that once you get past the basic discovery stage, no single SE can reasonably cover every single product/solution. This plays havoc with conventional coverage models, 1:1 or 3:2 ratios, geographically-based SE's and so on ...
It is fast becoming the norm that a complex deal may involve a half-dozen SE's - all with their own area of expertise (especially for a POC or complicated integration demo). This usually brings about thoughts of greater cross-training, better enablement and eventually re-organization of the pre-sales team; because something must be wrong if this many people are needed to sell the solution! So the question becomes - is this a fact of life as organizations grow and expand, or are there actions a pre-sales (and sales) leader can take to head off this issue? Of course - the dirty secret is that the same thing happens on the sales side when you introduce three levels of sales management, legal, support, services, a partner and several sales overlays to the process.
This is leading up to the June Talking Point which will be cover the "how many SE's does it take?" question. Probably a multi-part series. And a little controversial.