10 key soft skills for every cybersecurity sales engineer

As a young Infosec Engineer, I always wondered how my colleagues in the sales team would close huge deals spanning millions of dollars, despite having only foundational cybersecurity knowledge. I got curious and decided to tag along to sales meetings. Thankfully, my boss admired my curiosity and gave me wiggle room to attend sales meetings.

After my first sales meeting, I quickly realized that while the sales team had limited InfoSec knowledge, they possessed so many other business skills that made winning big deals possible. At this point, it dawned on me that it wasn’t their job to be fully adept at technical jargons. Sales engineers have one job – to sell the services of the technical team to the customer. To do this excellently, they rely on peculiar soft skills.

In the article, we’ll explore the soft skills that drives sales engineers to excel at their job.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these skills

  • Self-Confidence
    Having self-confidence is essential for sales professionals. Sales confidence is the ability to enter a room and sell your product or service to anyone with ease. You probably know someone with this type of confidence. Such people speak about a subject matter with such passion and conviction, they turn everyone around them into believers. Looking to become a cybersecurity sales engineer? Focus should on building this muscle till it becomes your biggest superpower.
  • Storytelling
    Storytelling is a powerful sales technique that involves creating a narrative that resonates with the customer’s needs and concerns. Storytelling can help you hit your sales quotas much faster because people love hearing about characters who face and overcome challenges. It’s what makes a TED Talk go viral. Sales professionals can use storytelling to make a connection with potential customers and demonstrate how their product or service can address the customer’s specific security challenges.
  • Relationship Building
    Building strong relationships with customers is critical for sales professionals in the cybersecurity industry. This is necessary to establish trust and credibility with potential customers to win their business. Relationship building in sales occurs in two categories:
  1. Personal connection
  2. Business value

    Building personal connections through constant communication with your customer lays the foundation for trust in others to establish your business value.
  • Active Listening
    This involves listening to your prospects and customers with rapt attention and intent to understand what they say, what their pain points are, what problem they are looking to solve, etc. and then respond appropriately. As a sales professional, you need to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns to provide effective solutions that serves the business use case.
  • Critical Thinking
    Critical thinking describes a thought process where you do not accept information at face value. Instead, you are discerning about sources, question underlying arguments, challenge assumptions, and work to understand conclusions. Sales professionals are known to think on their feet. This means you need to be able to think critically to identify potential cybersecurity sales opportunities and propose effective solutions.
  • Problem Solving
    Being a problem solver in the eyes of your prospective buyer will help you enable buying. Your prospective buyer likely won’t enjoy being “sold” on something – and may very well see through the act.
    Adept sales engineers can brainstorm, think creatively, and come up with solutions. These sales professionals take a big picture view of the sales process. They look long-range, see problems that might arise, and figure out ways around them before becoming an issue.
  • Business Acumen
    At its core, business acumen is the ability to combine experience, knowledge, perspective, and awareness to make sound business decisions. The development of this ability leads to better judgment and allows you to view organizational needs in a holistic, long-term way.

    As a Sales professionals, having a strong business acumen makes it easy to effectively sell cybersecurity solutions.
  • Negotiation
    Sales engineers with excellent negotiation skills are an asset for any business organization.

    Negotiation skills are critical for sales engineers to create win-win scenarios. The goal of sales negotiation is not always to ‘beat’ the other party. The most successful negotiators are the ones who can produce an outcome everyone is happy with. No customer likes to feel like they got swindled.
  • Effective Communication
    Effective communication is the link between your skills and knowledge and closing a deal. Think of your know-how as the theoretical part of being a salesperson, and communication, the practical part of it. Sadly, you can’t have one without the other.

    Sales engineers must be adept at communicating technical concepts to non-technical audiences, such as potential customers, in a clear and concise manner.
  • Decision Making
    Decision-making skills aid your ability to choose solutions to challenges. With these skills, you can make informed decisions once you’re done collecting all the relevant information and data and considering multiple viewpoints.

    Decision-making is a critical skill for sales professionals in the cybersecurity industry. Sales engineers leverage decision-making to arrive at informed decisions based on customer needs, industry trends, and financial factors to win business and drive revenue.

If you’re interested in building a career in cybersecurity sales, focus on developing these skills and you’ll be excellent at your job.

At the end of next month, three lucky individuals will get access to paid cybersecurity sales internship, which will commence in April 2023.



Don’t forget to check back next week for part three.

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