2022 SE Trends: Practice with Ramzi Marjaba
Ramzi Marjaba is a Senior Sales Engineer and founder of We the Sales Engineers, a resource for sales engineers by sales engineers. He is also the host of the We the Sales Engineers podcast and helps other sales engineers through mentoring and training.
To start, give a high-level introduction of your background
I became a sales engineer back in 2014, before I knew what it meant. Today, people intentionally wnat to get into this field, but back then, there was nothing. I only found the Mastering Technical Sales book.
So I started We the SEs in 2018 because I couldn’t find any resources. And I like to help aspiring sales engineers and sales engineers alike.
What are some tips for SEs to level up their skills?
I consider sales engineers to be the business athletes of the world.
The big difference between us and athletes is that they get to practice, and we don’t. We have to practice live. Nobody else does this in the professional world.
The biggest tip I give to people is to practice as much as possible outside of work. Practice listening to your significant other, and practice negotiation with your young children. Be deliberate.
You can also practice with your salesperson. Without doing that, you’ll never learn when you can interrupt an AE or ask them to weigh in on something in your conversation.
What positive trends with presales are you seeing this year?
This isn’t specific to presales, but I’ve noticed many sales engineers and solution architects are starting side hustles.
And this is really helpful because they’re learning about founding a business. In theory, this wouldn’t help them in their current job, but it makes them more business-oriented sales engineers.
I think it’s really valuable; they can speak more intelligently about business.
What trends are you ready to see end this year for presales?
In a lot of companies, sales engineers are thought of as sales support. They’re not seen as true partners, they’re seen as a free resource.
This affects your hiring. Someone who is hired for sales support initially isn’t always going to grow into a consultative sales engineer. It’s a completely different role.
SEs need to be curious about why clients or prospects are doing something a certain way and know the ins and outs of how the product works to tailor their demos appropriately.
I see this trend starting to go away, but not fast enough, in my opinion.
What are some of your favorite resources or tooling for SEs?
The two books I always recommend are Mastering Technical Sales and the 6 Habits of Highly Effective Sales Engineers. More technical books are Demo to Win and Great Demo. On the We the Sales Engineer YouTube channel, I have a few videos about which books to read at different stages of your presales career.
I also like Gondola.ai. It makes demos so seamless. People watch videos of me using Gondola, and they think it’s a recording because of how seamless the transitions are.
I can integrate slides and web browsers, and everyone can have access. My colleagues and I don’t have to go through the hassle of stopping and restarting sharing. And I can communicate with them live. We can also sync our notes directly to Salesforce.
With Gondola.ai, my demos feel more like a performance than an annoyance.
Tell us more about We the Sales Engineers
We the Sales Engineers is a hub with podcasts, videos, and even an SE hotline. I offer that service to aspiring and existing SEs who want help achieving their goals. People can also reach out to me at email@example.com or on LinkedIn.
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