How does technology make a difference for a company? How do you meet problems and objectives with the right solutions? How do you present value to customers? All these questions and more center the life of a Solution Engineer. My work at VMware allows me to talk to customers from various industries and roles, but what centers our conversations is a passion for technology and allowing them to enhance the capabilities provided by their current technical environment.
Read on to learn more about what a typical day looks like for me (spent at the office).
I wake up to my alarm and resist the urge to press the snooze button. My eyes stay shut till I wash my face with ice cold water, which instantly awakens me. I feed my cats and sit down to write my to do list for the day.
Once I have an agenda for the rest of the day, I drive down to my local gym and attend a workout class.
I run back home, usually keeping an eye on my watch at all times with my calendar/agenda in mind. A quick shower, belly filled with breakfast, and I am out the door, headed to VMware’s office in the city.
I arrive at work and usually spend the first twenty minutes greeting others at the office, this allows me to speak and spend some time with people who either I am or am not familiar with and if there are people new to the company then this is a great way to make them feel comfortable and to let them know that, if need be, they can always reach out.
I then get started with my meetings for the day, first couple of meetings usually are set up with my aligned Inside Sales Representatives; Sanjee, Aiden, Ruby and Saurav. VMware Inside Sales Representatives are imperative to the success of an organization and perform a range of tasks, which includes searching for new sales opportunities, researching accounts, maintaining customer relations, etc. I sure am grateful for my Sales Reps!
I take this time to discuss the following:
Apart from this, I take these meetings as a great way to catch up with each Inside Sales Representatives and make sure that they have everything that they need from my side.
It is now time for the first customer meeting of the day, and it is a Discovery Call. A Discovery Call usually means that it is the first time we are talking to the customer since the account was handed to us and it is time for us to discovery what they are all about.
My Sales Representative and I meet ten minutes before the call to exchange notes on the customer, make sure we have researched the company, the industry that they are part of and state our assumptions on what their requirements could be.
During the meeting, we would introduce ourselves, ask them a variety of questions and answer any questions they might have as well, along with sharing a few laughs.
After the meeting, I spend five minutes again with my Sales Representative to go over notes we took during the meeting and define follow ups. Follow ups could be scheduling a secondary meeting for further discovery, a meeting with an aligned VMware Solution Specialist or an email filled with information that the customer has requested.
I might also have similar Discovery calls with my other Representatives during this time.
It is now time for lunch and if food is not delivered at the office for us, where we are usually spoiled with different cuisines, salads, drinks, etc. Otherwise, we head over to a nearby café or restaurant to grab lunch, our go to is either Pasta Pantry, Grilled or Chat Thai.
I usually allocate some time during the day where I can focus on upskilling myself. VMware has an influx of solutions that they offer and because of this my learning and growth never come to a halt, which is something I absolutely love. I will either work on allocated hands-on training, meet up and learn from a specialist, go on an online scavenger hunt because of a specific technical topic that I want to know more about or watch and read training videos/documents. I have a home lab and the Solution Engineering team also has a lab that we can work on, this usually includes VMware’s Solutions and by configuring different components or opening up different sections you can learn a lot.
My manager Will Mansfield recommended early on that I block time in my calendar for personal learning, and it is a serious game changer.
I catch up with one of my mentors during this time. During my graduate year I was allocated a mentor within the Enterprise Team, James and the Commercial Team, Gurkeerat. Both individuals have experience in the Solution Engineering role and always welcome me to have a discussion or ask them questions.
At VMware everyone is open to sharing knowledge and I would highly recommend finding yourself or asking your manager to provide you with a Mentor either within our outside of your role. A Mentor can be the booster you need and provide you with exceptional advice on how to move forward in your career or grow as an individual.
It is now afternoon teatime and usually there are sweets and fruit available at VMware, along with a delicious tea/coffee. I take this time to catch up with my peers and friends in the Professional Services team, see how they are going and what interesting projects that they are working on.
I will now attend any other meetings I may have scheduled for the rest of the day; I am aligned to certain Australian territories that differ in timing from Sydney, so the afternoon works well for the customers. If it is a secondary/follow up call, then I would have prepared solution decks or whiteboards that I would go over with the customer to explain how the solution would achieve their objectives and technically fit in with their current architecture.
I absolutely love whiteboarding and enjoy getting the customer involved in the discussion.
I will end the day by catching up with Mitchell, who is another Commercial Solution Engineer who started at the same time as me. We will go over key accounts and projects that we are working on and take advice from each other on anything that we are puzzled about. Apart from this, I would also catch up with the wider team with our Manager, Will and he will let us know of what is happening in the business, any big news, general discussions and any pending tasks from our side.
Following this, I pack up and either go home or if there is an after-work dinner with other teams that I have been invited to then I will head out those. I enjoy how inclusive VMware’s work environment is, where everyone makes an effort with each other, and you always feel welcomed to celebrations.
At home, I will have dinner, shower and catch up on any emails, additional learning, or tasks that I need to complete as part of the initiatives I am part of, which could be within the Diversity and Inclusion POD. My productivity is not always as great as I hope for it to be, because my cats, Juno and Twinkle always decide they want attention right there and then. They always do succeed, and I then decide to move away from my desk and watch a show that I am hooked on one of the many streaming channels that I am subscribed too or read a book, currently reading a suspense called The Silent Patient.
I am an early bird and by this time my eyes are usually closing, however just before I snooze off, I will look through my phone and answer any messages I have received there or on my socials. It’s funny, I may be tired but always have enough energy for socials.