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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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:


Playbooks

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


Processes

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.

Tech Reviews

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