At Carbon Black, our sales engineers (SEs) are essential to helping our sales organization keep moving forward. With deep technical aptitude and charisma, our SEs help our prospects and customers have an insightful and positive experience with our products.
Stacia Tympanick, a corporate sales engineer at Carbon Black, tells us what it’s like to be an SE and what it takes to be successful.
How did you Become an SE?
I originally applied to Carbon Black about three years ago to be a sales rep but was told I was too technical. I never pictured myself in this role. In fact, I didn’t even know what a sales engineer was before they told me I would be a great fit. It’s not a job that’s widely published out there at job fairs or when you are looking at jobs out of college.
Prior to that, I worked at a small company and there was an incident that completely destroyed their database of information in regard to appointments and client information. They looked to me to “fix” everything from the ground up. This included anything from the network infrastructure to the solutions used for bookings, payment, and marketing. I had a PCI auditor appear the day after the incident. It was a lot of work but once I finished, I realized I liked being involved in all kinds of technology.
What’s the Day-to-Day of a Sales Engineer?
Our day-to-day consists of working in a partnership with sales representatives to handle any hands-on pieces of the sales process with our products. We demonstrate, test the tools, and work with other parts of the business to ensure that the voice of the customer is incorporated into the future releases of the product. What’s great about this role is that no day is the same. You’re always talking to different people who have different issues that they’re looking for our products to solve.
A few years ago, we had SEs who only did demos and SEs who only did evaluations. Last year, we were able to switch our process so SEs could do both and act as one point of contact during the sale so they could build a relationship with the prospects throughout their engagements. The role has progressed as we’ve grown and I’m sure it will continue to.
I currently deal with prospects that have 3,000 endpoints or fewer. As far as verticals go, I handle all sorts of industries. I see a lot in finance and healthcare, but it truly ranges. For evaluations, I typically work about 15 to 20 different engagements with a range of prospects at any given time. This requires organization! 90% of my conversations are done virtually through WebEx or Go-to-Meeting. I travel once a quarter to my territory to meet a prospects and customers.
What’s the Culture of the Team?
When I started, I was one of eight members. Starting next year, we will be more than 20. Our team has grown a lot but even with that growth, our culture is still great. You can go to anyone on the team and ask questions without judgment.
The other thing that I like is that you have options of where you can go for your career. You aren’t limited to sales. We’ve seen people move up as managers or go into other business units such as engineering, support, marketing, and threat research. You work with so many different parts of the business as a Sales Engineer that opportunities present themselves to you.
What Makes Someone Successful in this Role?
From my limited experience, I believe that the most successful SEs are people who possess a lot of grit. This is not an easy job. You are dealing with all different levels of security organizations, and it’s your job to create relationships regardless of the prospect’s involvement with security. You need to adapt quickly, be able to keep your calm when things go awry, and reflect on how you can be better every day.
In order to develop my skills to where I am today, I continually shadowed other SEs and worked with professional services to see what an implementation actually looked like. This allowed me to be honest with vendors in a world that is so clouded by marketing. Being proactive in these efforts helped me build my skills and best practices from other lines of business. Get involved early and often.
Lastly, take it all in. After you work at Carbon Black for a month, you get calls and messages from recruiters constantly. Don’t chase the money. Money will come. Take the time to truly become great at your job and try to do whatever you can to convince your company of this. You can learn a lot here which you may not get at the companies flashing outrageous salaries. The learning opportunities here are invaluable.
Why Would Someone Want to Join?
In regards to Carbon Black, I could not have been luckier to land here.
As a sales engineer, we are working for the best endpoint security company in the market. I could not go to another vendor in this space because I truly believe we are it.
You are going to build a killer resume at Carbon Black because our technology is built off recording EVERYTHING that happens on an endpoint, you are required to learn pretty much EVERYTHING that happens on endpoints. In addition, our technology integrates with pretty much anything. In turn, you are learning about all things endpoint, all things firewall, and all things SIEM. If I go somewhere after Carbon Black, I can be confident that my knowledge spans more than being able to tell you whether or not a hash is bad.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our open roles here.