Customer Engineering: Working with Customers

A CE, being both a pre-sales engineer and a post-sales technical account manager, works with customers in a number of different ways throughout the customer journey. This page captures high-level descriptions of the ways in which we work with or on behalf of our customers. Each section contains links to some supporting documents, templates, processes, playbooks, and recordings.

Pre-Sales Customer Touchpoints

Discovery and Demo

The initial conversation(s) with a customer can vary in length and scope, but always involve discovery, that is uncovering their needs and motivations, and demonstrating product capabilities. This could range from an abbreviated 30-minute intro call with a smaller prospect, or multiple hour-long calls across various stakeholders and teams at an enterprise organization.


Technical Design

Early on in the process, we begin to understand the needs of our prospective customers. As we learn about them - their needs, their tech stack, their business, etc. we begin to document both the product and technical requirements and the business context of the deal. Every single prospective customer must have a technical design document established, starting as early as Stage 2 - Qualification and completed into Stage 4 - Technical and Business Validation. We begin by capturing details about their pre-Sourcegraph business and document first their Trial design and configuration, and subsequently their Production design and setup. These TDDs should be stored here and you should also link to the TDD from within your respective prospective customer folder by creating a shortcut in Drive.

For complex engagements, we have internal technical reviews with cross-functional teams (see technical deal reviews below) that occur before approval to proceed to a trial deployment, to ensure we at Sourcegraph are collectively aligned on their needs and expectations, and so that the customer has the right expectations set and is positioned for success.


Customer Trials

Trials are an important and strategic part of our sales cycles because when developers start to use Sourcegraph, they love it and want to use it forever. Seriously! Typically, our trials run for about a month but sometimes longer. Before, during and after, you collaborate closely with your account executive to ensure a successful experience for the customer.

Before the trial, you’re working with the AE to scope and plan the trial - both use cases they’ll test (which you’ll enable them on) and technically how they plan to deploy Sourcegraph for the trial.

CE and AE should use the Trial and Deployment Planning Template to complete planning activities in advance of trial start. Here’s a breakdown of who leads which aspects:

  • Documenting their technical landscape (CE-led)
  • Trial use cases / metrics for success (CE-led)
  • Business value assessment planning (AE-led)
  • User survey planning (AE-led)
  • Deployment support and checklist (CE-led)
  • Technical configuration review (CE-led)
  • Trial rollout plan (CE-led)
  • Communication and ongoing support (CE-led)

During the trial, CE is enabling and educating the customer on how to use Sourcegraph. CEs orient our activities during the trial against the defined use cases and metrics for success to ensure developers are set up for success. It is the CE’s responsibility to deliver the technical win for the trial.


Security Reviews

Often during a customer’s technical validation process for our product, they will have security-related questions about either Sourcegraph or the manner in which Sourcegraph is deployed (Cloud, Managed Instance, Self-Hosted). The process for handling customer security reviews and questionnaires is detailed here: Responding to Customer Security Reviews

The current CE Security SMEs are Max Wiederholt for US West / APAC and Shawn King for US East / EMEA. We occasionally rotate team members in this role.

License Keys

CEs are the team responsible for generating and maintaining license keys for customers. Here’s some useful resources on how to do that:

Post-Sales Customer Touchpoints

Post-Sales Engagement Kickoff

Once a customer signs on with Sourcegraph, we need to:

  • Generate a full license key.
  • Plan a kickoff call with our main contact(s) to plan the engagement.

On the kickoff call we plan our ongoing engagement with the customer. Different customers have different needs, so it’s important to talk through topics such as:

  • How often do they want to have check-in calls?
  • What types of trainings, webinars, or Q&A sessions could their team use? When?
  • Would they like any assistance or resources to integrate Sourcegraph into their developer onboarding process?
  • Anything else we can look to help them out with? Upcoming initiatives they could use Sourcegraph for?


User Onboarding

A critical part of the customer experience is user onboarding. After deal close, once the customers’ production infrastructure is setup and confifured, CEs are responsible for driving adoption of users onto Sourcegraph. During engagement kick-off, CE works with our customer stakeholders to create a plan to onboard their users.


Webinars / Trainings / Q&A Sessions

A standard customer engagmeent should include three core trainings, as well as optional topics customized to customer needs or requests, or demos of new features or use cases that are relevant to the team. These webinars may be run repeatedly if, for example, you’re expanding into a new business unit within an existing customer.

Standard trainings

  • Sourcegraph 101 (Video training) - The basic “how to use Sourcegraph search” webinar. This should take a new users from 0 to able to use the tool competently. The repo includes a fully scripted talk track, a lesson plan version of the talk track for those who prefer that format to a script, a Slack follow up message to send to customers, test exercises for customers to run, and the content formatted for inclusion in a customer’s LMS for self-directed learning.
  • Sourcegraph 102 (Video training) - This should take a customer from being a general Sourcegraph user through being able to use the majority of Sourcegraph’s advanced search features.
  • Admin training webinar - This should take an admin for the instance through all of the elements of the admin area of the app, and leave them feeling confident with instance and user management training. This is not intended for cluster admins, and so does not cover sizing the cluster, etc.

Other trainings

  • Security use case training - Currently in progress with ETA for completion of EOQ Q2FY23. This should walk customers thorugh how to use Sourcegraph for the security use case.



We often hold QBRs, or Quarterly Business Reviews (sometimes referred to as an Executive Business Review), with our customers which recaps how Sourcegraph has been integrated into and creating value for their organization over the past quarter. These QBRs are typically created and presented by the CE assigned to the account, in conjunction with the account’s AE. They are typically presented in a slide deck format to executive-level leadership, and highlight usage metrics and use cases for their org. Additionally, they are used to gather feedback and comments from leadership regarding Sourcegraph.


Expansions and Renewals

Expanding Sourcegraph to a new team or unlocking new enterprise features could involve a full cycle of CE discovery and demos and value mapping. It could also include a trial for a new user group or with that new feature. A basic renewal or seat expansion may not involve CE beyond generating a new license key.

Ongoing Customer Nurture

While our CS team is primarily responsible for reactive technical support, CE helps keep an eye out on Slack for any questions or issues that come through. CE can view any support issues in Zendesk by using our SFDC <> Zendesk integration. Go to the Account page in Salesforce and click the “Zendesk” tab to view.

At times a customer may raise a feature request or provide product feedback. It is our responsibility as CEs to gather that feedback and share with the product teams.


Account Management

As CEs we are responsible for the technical success of our customers. Post-sales we nurture these relationships and manage the accounts by paying attention to customer health metrics. Usage, adoption, and customer sentiment are important indicators that we monitor and address. It is recommended that CEs routinely monitor this to keep a pulse on customer metrics. There is also a link to this from the Salesforce Account record.

In addition to routine monitoring, CE should be collaborating with their AE to create and maintain account plans for each customer. These should be revisited on a quarterly basis.



To enable CEs and ensure consistent practices, our team may produce playbooks from time-to-time. These playbooks should serve as a useful onboarding resource to new CEs and a helpful refresher for CEs as well.

Customer Discovery

The customer discovery playbook provides CEs with a framework and tools to successfully prepare for and conduct your first meetings with prospective customers (or even new stakeholders within existing customer organizations). These inputs should serve as the prerequisites to any customer demo because it enables you to tailor your content and talk track to what’s most relevant to the customer. It also provides key areas for CEs to consider and specific steps to take to ensure the CE has the correct context and knowledge to properly support a successful customer engagement beyond the initial meetings

Account Health

The account health playbook offers a repeatable framework for mitigating the risk of low adoption scores by offering suggestions for engagement as well as repeatable training and reusable content. This is a living document that should change to reflect available components in the Customer Health Dashboard - Individual Customer and mature over time to provide more refined resources to support Customer Engineers.


Similar to playbooks, processes exist to ensure consistent practices amongst teams. Processes that the CE team either drives or heavily contributes to are outlined below.

CE Technical Win Management

CEs are tightly aligned with the sales team and serve as technical experts, providing strategy and guidance to AEs during the sales cycle. Ultimately it is the CE that owns the “technical win” associated with an opportunity. The CE Technical Win Management Process outlines expectations around how Customer Engineering tracks and communicates the status of the technical win as part of all sales opportunities.

Renewal Process

Finance, CE, Sales, and Value Engineering all play a key role in customer renewals. While the customer renewal is a single event, our teams are constantly assessing the health of our customers and taking corrective action as necessary.

Process and Roles & Responsibilities

On a quarterly basis, finance generates and publishes an updated renewal analysis for remaining renewals in the Fiscal Year. On a monthly basis, AE and Sales updates the Renewals: Health Assessment doc:

  • Sales (AE) raises relationship and business needs / challenges that pose a risk for the customers’ health
  • CE raises technical and business needs / challeneges that pose a risk for the customers’ health
  • The Red Accounts Program is employed to address any challenges raised as part of these health assessments.

90 days prior to the renewal, Value Engineering engages to perform a value realization exercise prior to the first customer renewal call. The AE establishes a plan for the renewal proposal and begins renewal discussions with the Champion / Economic Buyer (EB).

Red Accounts

As the team accountable for our customers’ technical success, usage, and adoption of our products, CEs must keep a close pulse on the health of our customers. The Red Accounts Program exists to ensure we as a company are assessing customer health at all times.


For any account that is designated as having a health rating of red - either via calculated score or by a member of the account team - the AE and CE will jointly provide a current status of the account, identify any necessary asks of the business in order to best serve the customer, create an appropriate action plan, and track through to resolution (ideally promotion of the health from red to yellow or green).

Red Accounts Process

In slack, the #red-accounts channel has been created so that when the Customer Health field on the Salesforce Account record is set to Red, a post is auto-triggered in the slack channel and a corresponding row will be automatically added to the Account Tracker tab of the Red Accounts Google Sheet. The AE / CE will jointly fill in relevant information to understand current state, needs, and the intended actions. Any asks or needs against the intended action plan should be initiated via a thread on the auto-generated slack post; this allows for visibility and transparency.

Roles and Responsibilities

The CE will monitor the Customer Health dashboard and where appliable update the Customer Health field on the Salesforce Account record to red.

Should an AE or CE feel that an account which isn’t designated as red via the health dashboard, is in fact red for any reason (eg a champion leaves, etc) they should align, and the CE should update the Salesforce Account record to red.

Both the AE and CE are responsible for participating in the creation of the action plan, and overseeing the action plan through to resolution.

Tech Reviews

Tech Reviews are employed in both pre-sales scenarios and post-sales scenarios.

Account Planning

Account Planning is critical to the success of our customers. The account planning process is where an account team (AE & CE) comes together to review the current status of their customers (Usage, Health, ect.) on a quarterly basis and sets new goals for the next quarter, focusing on customer health, retention, and expansion.

A video version of this has also been recorded.

What is an Account Plan?

The Account Plan is an internal document that provides customer context, objectives, risks, and plans for a customer account looking back on the previous quarter and ahead for the next quarter that includes the following information:

Customer Context

  • Contacts: champions, EB, advocate, admin, etc.
  • Use cases
  • How they’re using SG; internal initiatives; value perception
  • Customer health

Objectives and plans

  • Expansion & Growth Opportunities
  • Account Risks & Challenges
  • Product Feedback themes
  • Quarterly Account Objectives

How do I start an Account Plan?

To create a new Account Plan, a CE makes a copy of the Account Plan Template.

Each plan is stored:

  • In the accounts plan folder for central access of all Customer Account Plans
  • A shortcut linked to the account plan from within the customer folder
  • URL reference of the Account Plan on the account object in SFDC in the “Action Plan Link” field

When should I Account Plan?

Account Planning for all accounts occurs one a quarter, but the exact timing depends on the tier of the customer.

For Tier 1 customers, this prior to internal QBRs so that the information can be presented there.

For Tier 2 and Tier 3 customers, this will happen sometime at the beginning of the quarter.

Calendar invites will be sent out indicating the weeks during which each Tier’s account plans should be completed.

Newly signed customers will not have their first account plan created till after their account onboarding has been complete. Untill then, the onboarding plan should be the roadmap for the customer.

What do I do with an Account Plan?

For Tier 1 customers, this account plan will be shared with CE and AE leadership at a 2:2 Review meeting, and shared again to the whole organization at the internal QBR.

For Tier 2 and Tier 3 customers, the account plan will be shared with your CE leader directly during your 1:1.

Regardless of tier, each account plan should include clear next steps that will be added in Salesforce to the Notes / Next Steps field on the account. A link to the account plan should also be included in the Account Plan Link field.

Additional Questions

What is the difference between the Account Plan and the Technical Design Document?

  • The Account Plan is not meant to be a technical document, it is meant to be a single place for someone to look for the business and health information around an account. The Technical Design Document is meant to be the single place for someone to look for technical details around a customer’s implementation of Sourcegraph

How do I find out what tier my customers are?

How do I see when my accounts renew?