How To Kill At As A Fintech Pre-Sales Engineer
There’s a reason successful pre-sales engineers can earn mid-six-figure salaries. Not only do they possess top-notch tech skills but they know how to sell the product domain that they are developing.
The road to these high salaries isn’t always easy. It often requires an engineering degree, communication skills and an uncanny ability to sell. But if you’re willing to put in the work and focus on the right soft skills, you can be among the pre-sale engineers earning more than $150,000 a year.
Why the High Salaries Anyway?
Pre-sales engineers are tasked with selling complex technological products to a range of businesses. They’re needed in most industries but are of particular importance in the fintech marketplace.
In financial technology, entrepreneurs are creating high-tech products and services that are disrupting the status quo. These solutions are easily understandable in the minds of the engineers and entrepreneurs but to the outside world can be complex. Many of the offerings rely on artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain technology, terminology foreign to the masses. A pre-sales engineer’s job is to extoll the benefits of the product in an jargon-free manner.
It can be particularly challenging in the business-to-business fintech market. Startups going after enterprise clients have one chance to make their pitch. Any missteps and the opportunity is gone. That puts a lot of pressure on the pre-sales engineer. It’s also why companies are willing to pay top dollar. Fintechs are looking for those pre-sales engineers that have it all when it comes to the technical and soft skills. Which ones does that encompass? Read on to learn..
- Flexibility: Most of the value comes from the knowledge the engineer has of the product and his or her ability to sell it. That means pre-sales engineers have to be well versed in the current iteration but also have the ability to learn new tech skills seemingly on the fly. With advancements in financial technology happening at breakneck speed, successful pre-sales engineers have to be nimble.
- Top-Notch Communications Skills:One of the knocks on engineers is there lack of communications skills. They aren’t equipped to get up in front of a group to present their product or service let alone explain it during a one-on-one meeting. It’s one of the reasons many engineers aren’t placed in client facing roles. The ability to communicate is a must-have skill for any successful pre-sales engineer. A pre-sales engineer who can present compelling demos that keep potential clients engaged can be invaluable to a fintech company.
- Adept At Listening: Being a good talker isn’t the only skill successful pre-sales engineers have. They are adept listeners, paying close attention to a client’s feedback. A pre-sales engineer is passionate about the product but is open to feedback. The best ones let their passion for the product shine through but also know when to listen. A big part of the job is taking customer suggestions and ensuring they are reflected in the end product.
- Collaborative Nature: Working well with others is another soft-skill that is imperative to succeed as a pre-sales engineer. Beyond acting as a technical expert in customer presentations, pre-sales engineers work with the sales and product development team to keep everyone on the same page. Wearing a technical hat one minute and acting as a liaison the next is a normal part of the job. The ease in which you can shift from one role to the other will mean the difference between earning $90,000 a year and more than $150,000.
Demand for pre-sales engineers is projected to grow at an annual rate of 7% during the next seven years.That’s in line with other occupations according to the Labor Department , but it’s just the average. Certain industries including fintech, will need more of these well-rounded engineers. Embrace the above skills to take advantage of the opportunities.
Don Chadwick is the Founder of Excelsior Fintech, a New York City based headhunting firm that works extensively with pre-sales engineers and financial technology companies.