Over the past year at Stytch, we saw a meaningful acceleration in paid customers and revenue. Contracted $ARR quadrupled, win rates doubled, and ACV increased by 150%. Several leading indicators contributed here, including product maturity, a better understanding of our customers and competition, and better coordination across sales and marketing. Each helped, but one “secret” weapon accelerated revenue and customers at an outsized rate: our highly technical Solutions Engineering team. Here’s how Stytch’s SE team unblocked revenue hurdles across our go-to market at Stytch and how this team could be a secret weapon for your revenue teams.
I partnered with Basia Sudol, who joined Stytch as its first Solutions Engineer and now leads the SE team at Stytch. We’ll discuss her experience building Stytch’s SE organization from 0-1, the areas of most significant impact, and share some of her practical tips and learnings from the past year at Stytch.
Frequently, Solutions Engineers operate “behind the scenes” without directly linking to revenue in the same way as quota-carrying sales representatives. Don’t discount their impact on driving new business, expanding customers post-sale, and coordinating efforts between go-to-market and product teams. Here are the areas of greatest impact SEs have made at Stytch:
1. Establish credibility early, decrease trial length
When selling to technical buyers, the ability to “speak developer” is an advantage over competitors. Our SEs don’t just understand tech jargon; they have a first-hand understanding of developer experiences and can speak to Stytch’s value proposition in a way that resonates deeply with buyers. By embedding this into our sales teams, we’ve built significantly more credibility throughout our sales process. The result? Over six months, we saw a 3x increase in opportunities that moved to live testing and a 25% decrease in opportunity length.
One example: Stytch SEs tend to avoid UI-heavy, generic visuals and instead crack open Postman and cURL to show our APIs during customer interactions. In later sales stages, our SEs build tailored demo environments for web and mobile to demo how our SDKs and APIs can power the exact auth experiences our customer is looking for. This approach is well worth the time investment as it not only highlights our solution’s technical capability and flexibility but it also instills confidence in the minds of potential clients.
2. Going deeper into technical discovery
SEs have a broad mandate at Stytch. Along with owning presales technical validation, they also own customer implementations and must consider how best to design for scale, anticipate challenges, and seamlessly integrate a solution. The best way to uncover the context needed is to involve SEs early in our sales process so that they can more actively participate in technical discovery. For our SEs, these discovery skills are acquired through technical acumen paired with firsthand experience in guiding our customers through Stytch integrations.
By developing a deep understanding of customers’ applications, architecture, and migration & implementation needs, SEs pave the way for more informed solution proposals. Given our product’s flexible and API-first nature, this has an outsized positive impact on our sales process.
An example on our team:
- A common pitfall for SEs is to approach solution design to fit the customer’s current practices into your APIs. Our SE team focuses on comprehending the rationale behind the client’s existing authentication system and their future UX and security objectives. This empowers us to suggest diverse authentication strategies while still adhering to technical limitations and minimizing refactoring and migration efforts.
- By understanding the rationale behind a client’s authentication choices, we can offer suggestions that might diverge from their usual practices. For instance, advocating for specific customers to adopt passwordless authentication as part of their transition to Stytch has proven immensely beneficial. Although this strategy often comes with code refactoring and user change management, it typically accelerates the adoption of Stytch and yields substantial dividends for our clients.
3. Improving the feedback loop between customer-facing and technical teams
SEs have a unique vantage point. Their technical expertise and customer-facing focus enable them to serve as the conduit between our sales efforts and engineering, product, and design teams. SEs can provide feedback on how our products are perceived pre-sale as well as real developer experiences in implementation, acting as a hub of knowledge for our customers’ experiences throughout the life cycle. This feedback helps guide our roadmap, refines our product offerings, and helps foster an obsession with developer experience that allows us to stay ahead of the curve.
How we do this at Stytch:
- Solutions engineers at Stytch have brought on two new initiatives to regularly enrich the feedback loop between go-to-market and EPD organizations at Stytch:
- Weekly Deal Review is an all-company stand-up where two deals are scrutinized from both business and technical perspectives. During the review, SEs present the technical intricacies of the deals, shedding light on potential hurdles and proposing viable technical solutions. This forum facilitates real time feedback from technical and non technical stakeholders, and cultivates a shared understanding of our customers’ experiences with Stytch.
- Our Customer Pain Points Standup brings together Product, Support, and Solutions Engineering teams to review gaps systematically. The focus is not only on identifying pain points but also on collaboratively formulating interim solutions, raising follow-up discovery questions, and discussing sentiment for how feature-based solutions might fit into our roadmap. The standup accelerates the resolution of immediate issues and establishes a proactive framework for anticipating and addressing customer needs. Fostering collaboration and open communication exemplifies Stytch’s commitment to continuous improvement and customer-centricity.
Keys to a healthy Sales & Solutions Engineering partnership
Having worked closely with the sales organization at Stytch, I can attest to the impact our deep collaboration creates. This synergy doesn’t just happen – it must be deliberately cultivated, nurtured, and fine-tuned. If you’re an Account Executive looking to maximize the partnership with your SE, here are three actionable pieces of advice:
1. Pre-call Coordination and Preparation
Our collective success hinges on thorough preparation. Before any client interaction, take the time to align with your SE. Discuss what key unknowns need to be uncovered, what value propositions need to be reinforced, and what the overall goals of the call are. Your SE should be equipped with a general understanding of what key questions should be asked and what technical talk tracks or demos will likely be covered so they can prepare a tailored version for each customer. In my experience, this always pays off!
2. Collaborate on Account Strategies
Fold your SE into your development and execution of account strategies. SEs can provide valuable insights into technical feasibility, implementation challenges, and true value drivers. At the same time, account executives can offer market and client-specific knowledge, such as navigating the internal buying process and mapping out key decision-makers. By regularly collaborating on account plans (for example, weekly over Slack or a quick huddle), you can strategize which solutions to pitch and address potential roadblocks early on. Ask your SE regularly for their opinions on your accounts’ biggest drivers and risks! This even applies to understanding what might be the most compelling technical outbound topics for prospects you’re looking to connect with.
3. Amplify, Don’t Overlap
There’s a nuanced skill in amplifying your partner without overshadowing their input. When harmonized, our voices can be incredibly persuasive. This means actively listening to each other, endorsing each other’s points, and presenting a combined front greater than the sum of its parts. This could look like having an AE tack on a relevant customer success story to a feature or integration recommendation made by the SE to reinforce and add tangible examples of the technical information.
In the realm of sales, where stakes are high, and margins are often thin, the integration of Technical Solutions Engineers into our strategy has proven to be a game-changer for Stytch. By recognizing their value, investing in their growth, and fostering teamwork between our SEs and AEs, we’ve created a sales machinery that’s effective and continually evolving. Here’s to many more wins together!
About the Authors
Basia Sudol joined Stytch as its first Solutions Engineer and now leads the Solutions Engineering team at Stytch. Previously, she was on the Solutions Engineering teams at Wise Systems (Series C autonomous routing and dispatch startup) and Bugsnag (a SmartBear company). She has experience in both pre-sales and implementations, working directly with clients to identify technical and business challenges and accommodate those via SaaS solutions and product customizations, data pipelines and custom integrations.
Pete Prowitt is currently the Head of Revenue at Stytch. For the past 12+ years Pete sold and led teams at software companies like Box, Loom, and Intercom. Pete’s sales thought leadership on sales hiring and building PLG sales teams has been featured in various blogs and newsletters, among them the Hubspot, Intercom, and Openview blogs.