OK, I know Sales Engineering is not brain surgery, although I do feel I have earned a doctorate in it. I do have my version of the Hippocratic Oath for Sales Engineering. “First, lose no deal.” As a Sales Engineer, it is easy to cause a deal to go south. Too Much information, too little information, the wrong information, so many ways to break this oath.
I recently spoke to a group of sales people who all worked for the same company. I spoke to each of them one on one and was amazed with what I heard from each of them on their needs for a Sales Engineer. Everyone was different. Some wanted minimal help, some wanted maximum help, and some wanted a little help.
What did I learn? You can please everyone. As Sales Engineers our jobs are to support the sales team, the way they want to be supported. Some need a lot of help, some very little, and they are both right. It is the sales person’s deal. I am there to advise and support, AND do the demo the way they want, in a way that will not lose the deal. The advice needs to happen before you are in front of the customer, and if they refuse your advice, you have to deliver the demo their way.
There are only two things I will not do while supporting the salesperson, lie, or let them lie, even if it isn’t on purpose. Otherwise I am there to serve at their pleasure.
Give a little, or give a lot, it really doesn’t matter, so long as we are closing business.
Interesting advice. Over 40 years I've had the pleasure of managing the types of sales forces you mentioned (easily over 100). In my blog, i am writing "lessons learned" during this time. You might pass it on.