Meet Digital Detective Kelly Smith

“How can a dame like you be a gumshoe?”

I didn’t get that question as much, anymore, but when I did, it was usually by a chauvinistic lunkhead who was going to try to skip out on payments. I resolved to ask for a retainer up front, and to add five dollars to my daily fee. Call it my stupid tax.

I answered, “By being the best at what I do, which is why you’re in my office. You got a case for me? I charge twenty-five a day, three days paid up front.”

“I heard it was twenty dollars.”

I shrugged, “Taxes.”

Okay, so we aren’t really detectives, and our clients are far more civilized. But our sales engineers do excel at what they do, whether it’s explaining a product to a new customer, or going on-location to solve a problem or uncover ways to make the software work even better.

Newscycle: What do you enjoy best about being a sales engineer? I love that there is always something new to learn, something new to do.  I get to travel, but not all the time, so it is generally a good balance.  And I get to play with all the new toys before they are released.

Newscycle: What’s your favorite product to demonstrate? SalesLink is definitely my favorite product to demonstrate.  People really enjoy it, and I get lots of ooh’s and ahh’s.  People love it when I can show all the neat things they can access even from their smartphone…from the Google maps integration for driving directions to your customer meeting, to calling your account with the click of a button. 

Newscycle: What do you enjoy about on-site visits? Whether I am on-site to do what we call an SE visit or with a rep for a sales call, it is almost always somewhere different, which keeps things interesting.  The SE visits are always fun because there really isn’t any way to prep for it ahead of time.  I never know exactly what type of questions I will get, so I just go in there and see where it leads.

Newscycle: What’s the one thing you wish you could change about how people perceive your job? That is a tough one.  I am not really sure how people perceive my job.  I think most people don’t even know what it means when they hear the title.  They aren’t sure if I am a sales rep or a software engineer.  The answer is, none of the above really.  A sales engineer works in the sales department, but I don’t have a territory, or assigned accounts like a rep would.  Really, I am a specialist for my product line.  I understand how the system works and can describe to prospects how the system could help to make their lives easier.  I help make a complex system that touches the entire organization simpler for someone who has never seen it or been trained on it before.

Newscycle: How did you end up being a sales engineer? I used to work for a newspaper who used the Newscycle Advertising system.  I was actually originally from the accounting department, but after finishing my MBA, I asked my bosses for more responsibility. They put me on the project team that was installing what is now called the Newscycle Advertising system.  During the project, I learned the system in and out as a system admin and a user. Due to personnel changes over the course of the project I filled in for many people…someone in finance temporarily left for maternity leave, someone in Advertising left to pursue a totally different career, they needed someone to help set up the online customer self-service…there were a lot of hats that I filled during that time.

Pete Marsh, who now works for Newscycle too, was our consultant at the time and went through the project with us.  About a year after go-live, Pete was at Atex (one of the companies that now makes up Newscycle), and he and another colleague were whiteboarding the skills of the person they wanted for the job.  After they stepped back and looked at what they wanted, he realized, “Hey, I know that person!” So, he sent me a job description and asked if I wanted to come work on the vendor side. The rest is history (12 years of history)!

Newscycle: When you’re not at work solving digital mysteries and demonstrating products, what do you like to do? I live in Lansdale, PA, which is a suburb of Philadelphia.  I live with my daughter who is 10, and my husband.  We are big scuba divers, so whenever we get the chance to go away, we head somewhere warm with clear water and lots of fish!

If you’re a Newscycle customer, learn more about our sales engineers or schedule a consultation with one at http://newscycle.com/digital-detectives/. The consultation is free – and if you want one to come to your site, we only ask that you pay transportation and lodging. No twenty dollars a day, and definitely no stupid tax!