Sales Engineer - SIEM

Case study following successful recruitment of a Sales Engineer, within a Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solutions vendor.

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A US based Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solution vendor. The brief for this Sales Engineering role was taken from the VP for EMEA, having expanded their operations in EMEA, with Germany being a key region. 



The client was looking for a Sales Engineer with experience of working in a similar technical solution, ideally from a competitor. They were also keen to appoint someone who had experience of working in a “start-up” type of environment, the team in Germany was new, supported remotely and reporting into a US management team.

They needed someone who had experience of the DACH region, as this would be a key focus, but who had also worked with clients across Europe and the Middle East. As well as having experience in the same or similar technical solutions, this person had to be comfortable carrying a sales target and working with little to no support in their local region. A true self-starter!

The position of Sales Engineer requires someone who has both technical and commercial competencies. They need to be able to design and, in some cases, configure solutions, while also articulating to customers the commercial benefit in ROI - not to forget, public speaking and presentations!

This was a US company setting up in the European market, so added to all this the cultural fit had to be right. This client had spent several months and interviewed close to 20 candidates already for this position without success. 



We came to the client a few months into the search. As mentioned, they had so far failed to identify the right person after an extensive recruitment process. It was quickly apparent that there had not been a lot of structure in the process. The process had been frustrating and unproductive. Candidates were not accurately matched to the position, for example they might have had some technical capability but not the commercial experience.

This was where we could add value.

After taking the full brief on the expectations of the position from a delivery perspective, we then took the time to understand where the search had gone wrong so far and put in place a plan for how to approach this.

We found out what questions needed to be asked to get beyond the technical suitability, we were then able to comprehensively interview candidates before they even got to the stage of being introduced to the client.

There was not much room for manoeuvre when it came to the competitive landscape, with few organisations in Germany doing the same thing at that time. With a narrow market and therefore shallow candidate pool, the search had to be as accurate as possible. A market map was drawn up and research undertaken on the engineering teams in each of these organisations. A tailored approach was then taken to contact each of these candidates, linkedIn, direct calls and referrals for introductions in our network. 


About the author
Doug Mackay
min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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From the target list of organisations, a shortlist of 3 candidates was presented. The successful candidate came from a direct competitor, an organisation which had been on a similar journey to our client. This competitor organisation had set up a new team in the German region 3 years previous, so this candidate had experience of working with a similar solution under the correct circumstances. They had to find and develop their own customer base, they were the sole representative in the region for the first year with little support in sales, marketing, or engineering. As an added bonus they had also taken on some responsibility in the hiring of new people.

After one year in the position this candidate was promoted to Technical Director and then on to Director for EMEA. This person then also engaged us to help them find people for their team.

We were able to find the right candidate not just for today, but for tomorrow as well – this high potential candidate continued to add value to our client, growing with them into a future leader. 

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