A lot of teams play a role in a successful customer education program.
Customer success managers and support reps.
The leadership team.
Obviously, your customers.
But, how about the solutions engineers?
Let’s explore the world of solutions engineering (SE), what they do and where they fit could fit into your customer education journey.
What’s Solutions Engineering (SE)?
The solutions engineering (SE) team works with sales and services teams to understand a customer or prospect’s needs and challenges and how their product or service can help them.
In the context of customer education or customer training, a solutions engineer works with the sales and services team to understand what a customer or prospect is trying to accomplish with a learning program, their needs and how their learning management system (LMS) and support services can help them achieve their goals.
After a sale, the SE team is responsible for ensuring the LMS implementation goes smoothly and delivers on the promises made up until this point — for example, ensuring a specific integration is working correctly.
What Do Solutions Engineers Do?
“Solve a customer’s learning challenges” or “help with LMS implementation” is pretty open-ended in terms of defining their roles in the customer education journey.
So, let’s dive deeper and look at some specific ways SE help.
Before the Sale
Solutions Engineers often work with a technical contact on the prospect’s side to answer questions about the LMS, determine if it’s what they’re looking for, and most importantly, if it’s something that can help them achieve their learning goals, like speed up onboarding or increase NPS.
Here are some questions that might come up:
- Is a custom integration using webhooks and API calls possible?
- Can I use custom properties to personalize the learning experience?
- What authentication options are available and will they create a frictionless learning experience for customers?
In addition to answering specific feature-related questions, SE may take a more hands-on approach to ensure the LMS vendor is the right fit.
For example, the customer may want to know if the LMS along with the solutions engineering team could do something outside the box like create a customized log in flow using your company data to assign users automatically to different courses or deliver personalization within the look and feel of the academy.
When it’s all said and done, the SE’s role before a deal closes is to set expectations to ensure the LMS can meet the potential customer’s needs — now and in the future.
After the Sale
Clearly, the SE team plays a big part in making sure a company picks the right LMS, which can be challenging given the different types of LMSs on the market and the seemingly endless list of features that come with them.
So, what does SE do after a sale?
After signing the dotted line, the SE team runs the technical and design implementation process, which involves getting the new customer’s academy up to their standard — think the design of the academy, integrations, custom workflows to update learner properties, custom reports that don’t currently exist in the analytics suite and content segmentation.
Most of the time, SEs come in and explain to the customer how the LMS in its current state can help — for example, using custom templates to create the academy of their dreams — but -sometimes, more in-depth involvement is required, like when there’s a technical issue outside of the support team’s expertise.
So, Do You Need a Solutions Engineer?
Everyone’s favorite answer: it depends.
Most notably your decision weighs on a couple of big factors: time and resources.
Say “Yes!” to a Solutions Engineer if:
- You need to launch a more robust academy, quickly.
- You don’t have a ton of in-house development and technical resources to create the academy you need.
- You prefer to spend your budget outsourcing the development work to the product experts and save in-house resources for other projects.