What is a Demo Engineer?

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If you asked many sales & presales teams, “what is the biggest friction-point in preparing demos?,” a majority of the complaints would center around preparing the demo environment for demo delivery.

Whether it’s cleaning up dummy data from the last demonstration, adding in tailored data to most effectively show the desired use case or configuring the demo environment correctly, preparation of the demo environment broadly is a major friction point.

Today, most teams don’t have a designated owner to take on these sorts of responsibilities. So, the following things happen:

  • Teams are stuck with basic demo infrastructure, oftentimes using the talk track “for your use case, you would see XYZ”
  • Demo environments are cluttered and include data from previous demos
  • Demos are not always aligned with latest product updates

And broadly, demoing becomes a friction point on the team. It’s no wonder reps have shied away from demoing if the previous considerations haven’t been properly addressed on the team.

These pain points, alongside the growing importance of effectively showcasing the product in the sales cycle, have facilitated the growing adoption of a new role - the demo engineer.

What is a demo engineer?

A demo engineer is someone who works with customer-facing teams to prepare and deliver tailored, solution-oriented demos. It’s like a more technical version of the sales enablement role, designed to support teams in the product-led growth era.

Demo engineers can be a powerful asset to any SaaS company. They are technical, knowledgeable in the product, and work across the organization to ensure marketing, customer success & sales teams have demo environments & talk tracks that meet their needs. Typically, a demo engineer has a BS or BA in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, or has relevant industry experience.

Why is a demo engineer important in the sales and growth teams?

Today, the demo has come into the limelight. With the rise of product-led growth, having command over the product and effectively using it in the sales & marketing process is becoming an expectation in the sales process.

Demo engineers are essential so that the entire go-to-market team has the demo environments, training and access they need to effectively showcase the product.

Marketing might have demo-needs for a webinar, customer success might have an upcoming product training, sales may be refining the persona their targeting. Either way, having a demo environment packaged and prepared end-to-end is essential, and the demo engineers are the ones working to deliver these solutions.

When should organizations hire a demo engineer?

As the technical arm that facilitates product demo usage across the organization, demo engineers are imperative. But, when is the right time to hire a demo engineer?

While there’s no silver bullet, the following rules may be helpful:

  • When the product has a consistent release schedule
  • When customer-facing teams lack the bandwidth to manage their demo environment

In this new product-led era, demo engineers will be the lifeblood of go-to-market teams. A close parallel would be the sales enablement role. Once the headcount is high-enough on the go-to-market side, a role like this is worthy of serious consideration.

Have you hired a demo engineer? Interested in sharing feedback on this evolving role? Get in touch.

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