B2B buyers have evolved. B2B buyers are product-centric. The product, how it works, adds value, scales, is secure, and what problems it solves are at the center of the buyer’s decision-making journey. The role of a Solution Engineer is pivotal to the success or demise of a sales opportunity, therefore needs to be elevated and supported beyond the norm. The B2B world has evolved. B2B buyers’ focus is now on the product more than anything else. The buyer’s decision-making journey is heavily influenced by how the product works, how it adds value to their unique position, its scalability and security, and can your product solve problems in their world. Today, the product experience is more extensive than “a demo” to the buyer. When you think about it deeper, the Solution Engineer is responsible for the product experience and, in turn, they are the driving force behind most revenue.
Am I right?
I know that the product experience has always been crucial. I have witnessed how the product demo can advance or kill an opportunity. But I fundamentally believe that the buyers have changed. Today’s buyer focuses on learning as much about your product as possible BEFORE THEY BUY. More buyers demand a product experience because more buyers are involved in the buying process. Product-led has ushered in trials, and the concept of “try before you buy” is prominent now more than ever. However, we can’t ignore the reality that many past buyers of SaaS solutions didn’t get the benefits they expected. Many buyers noted that they didn’t thoroughly analyze the product, didn’t really “dig in,” or didn’t do POC, and were disappointed when their expectations were not met.
Today the product experience and the product demonstration are at the center of ALL engagements that drive revenue. And because Solution Engineers are the driving force behind the product experience itself, they are at the center of revenue. This begs the question, does the role need to be elevated?
When you think about this, it is clear how the Solution Engineer is present at every step of the buying process today. Before buyers start engaging with your company, they want to “see” your product. Then, in order to consider your product as a potential solution, they want to spend time “hands-on” with the product. Likewise, each buyer within a company is interested in the product and wants to know if it can address their specific needs. In essence, they want it to be “My product.” They want to become comfortable with the product, understand its value to their company, and see the benefits it brings to their role.
Further down the journey, the Solution Engineer continues\needs to be involved in upselling additional solutions. Here, the current customer still needs that “hands-on” experience and a deep understanding of the new features. They need product demonstrations to see how valuable the new aspects are and to grow comfortable with adopting additions to your product. Before they upgrade, they need product demonstrations. Before a customer renews, they must have adopted the product completely and don’t think about just the number of users. They must have adopted your product’s breadth and depth – they will need you to show them demonstrations of ways to use your product, show new use cases they might not have considered, and reveal things your product can help with that they hadn’t considered. Without adoption, they won’t renew.
Every step of the buyer and customer journey requires deep experience with your product. That is why the Solution Engineer is at the center of revenue generation. If you’re not growing, perhaps your solution engineering department is considered “a demo” department. But the organizations that are thriving and growing the most are elevating the Solution Engineer to capture the value they can drive when positioned as more than just “a demo” resource.