Dear SaaStr: How often will a sales engineer also wear a customer success hat in an early stage of an SaaS startup?
Pretty darn common.
The “traditional” role of a sales engineer is to support the sales team through the close of a deal.
And as you scale, the role should likely end there. Traditional customer success, and/or a specific team for deployments, can take the baton from there.
But in the earlier days, having a sales engineer or solution architects (often, you’ll just have 1 or 2) continue to support the customer through and after deployment makes a lot of sense. You’ve learned the issues and challenges. Stick around until the customer is fully deployed, at least.
The biggest issue often is this just doesn’t scale. But it can work just fine on the way to $10m ARR, or even beyond.
Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight and I did a recent deep dive on this and many related topics here:
(many hats image from here)