May 16, 2018
What's it like to be a Pre-Sales Engineer at Squared Up?
At Squared Up, we pride ourselves on the way we sell our product. Pushy sales just isn't our style - we have a completely transparent commercial model, the software and everything you need to get it working is openly available and, from a software engineering perspective, our aim is to build a product so good that it sells itself!
Of course, naturally sometimes customers want to have the product's capabilities showcased to the rest of their team before embarking on a trial or, during their trial, want a bit of extra guidance on how to achieve some of the goals for their evaluation. That's when our Pre-Sales team step in; extremely knowledgeable about the product, adept at understanding customers' challenges and environments and, all in all, a very friendly bunch!
To give you more of an insight into what life is like at Squared Up, we interviewed Nathan Coulson, Pre-Sales Engineer, to get his take on why working in technology is so great and how he's made the role his own.
How long have you worked at Squared Up?
A little over 2 years.
Tell me a bit about your role
My main responsibility is technical pre-sales, which means helping prospects and new customers to make the most of their trial and onboarding period and getting Squared Up successfully implemented in their environment. I also spend a lot of time understanding their specific goals when it comes to SCOM and IT monitoring as a whole, to ensure that we and the product can indeed help them to achieve these goals.
My role also involves working with our existing customers to show them the latest features in the product and gain the most value from their investment in Squared Up. I also often get involved in helping them to engage the rest of the organisation, running team demos and assisting in communicating the value the product delivers to their management team.
Because I’m the person in the business who probably has the most face-to-face time with our customers (albeit mostly virtually!), I also dedicate time to gathering feedback from our customers and passing that on to the product development team and the wider business. This can be as simple as reporting bugs but can also be something larger, like suggestions for the product roadmap.
What did you do before you worked here?
I studied economics and politics at SOAS in London, where I had a key focus on development economics, which lead to an interest in social enterprises and technology, specifically how technology can be used for positive means and for development. I started my own social enterprise at uni, a company that helped train young people in employment skills, which lead me to work for a social enterprise charity and later for a tech start-up incubator, which was my introduction into the tech start-up scene in London.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in technology?
I love that technology has so much potential for transformative, scalable change. With a technology solution you can positively affect a lot of lives – at Squared Up we make the day-to-day working lives of IT Administrators significantly easier, and it’s really exciting to see the scale of change that one product can make in the industry.
What attracted you to Squared Up?
Squared Up seemed very different to a lot of the start-ups I’d encountered in London. What’s particularly impressive and unique about us is that our business has grown so rapidly without any investment. It was all led by the technical side – ultimately Squared Up is a product that people need, delivers a lot of value and so they're very willing to pay for it, all of which meant that external investment wasn't needed to achieve growth.
How has your role evolved since you first joined?
When I first joined the team was significantly smaller so the role I had in the Sales and Marketing team was much broader – I was involved in a real range of activity across both functions. As the team grew, I was able to move into areas that were of the most interest to me, things like sales and marketing automation using Zapier and other technologies. The role evolved as the team grew, and now I am in a technical pre-sales role, which is really suited to my skills and to my appetite to learn about and be involved in technology.
How does sales at Squared Up differ to 'traditional' sales?
Because Squared Up is such a good fit for our customers, we have a lot of inbound leads, so we don’t ever have to do what we would call ‘pushy’ sales. We’ve never made a single cold-call or even sent a cold email, it’s just not our style! Squared Up is a solution that our customers love and need, so our sales activity is more about facilitating their journey to adopting the solution and then getting the most value out of it.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
I work with very complex customer scenarios across different kinds of organisations, from governments, to large corporates, to charities, and they're based all around the world. Each organisation has different requirements and I have to make sure I'm showcasing the areas of the product most applicable to their specific needs, as well as navigating the approval processes and corporate structures of each and tailoring my communications throughout to suit those needs and processes.
What are your highlights from the past year at Squared Up?
Definitely flying out to Orlando for Microsoft Ignite! It was great to meet our customers and the wider community and hear their stories and challenges. And we had some spare time to hit up the theme parks!
What is it that you like about working for a small company?
I think the best thing is being able to develop close relationships with everyone in the company. I get to work with people across a range of different teams and it’s really cool to understand what each of them do and figure out how we can best work together. We’re a really close-knit team here which is a real plus for me.
Want to get in on the action and join our awesome Pre-Sales team? Great, you're in luck - we're looking for smart, friendly, technically-gifted Pre-Sales engineers right now! Check out the vacancies here.