The Technical Win Checklist for Sales Engineers

Founder & CEO
min read
May 1, 2024

A technical win occurs when your solution technically fulfills your customer’s specific needs, marking a pivotal point in the sales process. This victory is crucial as it serves as the first substantial evidence that your product can address the client's issues and pain points effectively. Typically, sales engineers are tasked with securing these wins by aligning product capabilities with customer requirements.

How to Ensure a Technical Win: Checklist

We've created this checklist for sales engineers looking to re-audit their technical win plan from the ground up. Understand each point thoroughly and evaluate your current sales strategy against these standards to foster improvement.

1. Understand Your Customer's Needs

The cornerstone of any sales engineering strategy is a needs assessment

  • Don’t just list your product’s features. Deeply understand what your customer actually wants from your product. Why? When you align your product's capabilities with your customer's business goals, you demonstrate relevance and value.
  • Engage with key stakeholders such as IT directors and project managers. These individuals provide insights into the technical and operational challenges that your solution needs to address. Their perspectives can highlight critical requirements and potential obstacles, making your proposal more targeted.

After assessing needs, prioritize.

Distinguish between "must-have" features, which are essential for your solution to be viable for your customer, and "nice-to-have" features, which are beneficial but not deal-breakers. For example, a "must-have" might be security features for a finance software solution, whereas "nice-to-have" features might include user interface customization options.

This prioritization helps you demonstrate what truly matters to your customer, ensuring that the technical presentation closely aligns with the customer’s primary objectives. This increases your chances of a technical win, which streamlines the sales process and boosts the likelihood of securing the deal.

Also read: An Ultimate Guide to Creating a Customer Acquisition Funnel Strategy.

2. Technical Evaluation

You need a thorough technical evaluation to ensure your solution not only meets current requirements but is also poised for future challenges. Carefully assess several key areas:

  • Integration compatibility: Evaluate how well your solution integrates with your customer's existing infrastructure to ensure seamless data flow. For example, if your customer uses a common CRM system, your solution should integrate smoothly, avoiding any disruptions in daily sales activities, such as data mismatches or workflow interruptions that could lead to operational delays.
  • Functionality focus: Prioritize features that directly address your customer's most pressing needs. Identify and demonstrate capabilities that solve specific problems or enhance productivity. For example, if your customer needs to automate invoice processing, emphasize how your solution’s automation features can reduce the time and potential errors compared to their current manual processes.
  • Scalability assessment: Assess whether your solution can scale according to your customer's growth projections. Future-proofing their investment is vital as it ensures that your solution remains viable and supportive as the business expands. Also, discuss your solution's ability to handle increasing data volumes or user counts without degrading performance.
  • Security scrutiny: Conduct a thorough evaluation of your solution’s security features, especially concerning data encryption and disaster recovery capabilities. This scrutiny is crucial in sectors like finance and healthcare, where data breaches can have severe consequences. Explain how your solution protects data both at rest and in transit, and provide details about the recovery strategies in place to handle potential security incidents.

Address each of these areas to enhance your solution's appeal and increase the chances of a technical win.

Also read: Top 5 Sales Optimization Strategies To Help Your Sales Team Win More Deals.

3. POC Development

You need to develop a Proof of Concept (POC) to demonstrate to your customers that your solution can meet their specific needs within their operational environment.

  • Define clear success criteria: Establish concrete benchmarks, such as reducing process times by a specific percentage or achieving a certain level of system uptime, to ensure both parties understand what goals need to be achieved for the POC to be considered successful.
  • Mirror your customer's real-world setup in your demo environment: This customization makes your demonstration relevant and allows your customer to visualize how your solution fits into their existing operations. Ensure that your demo environment uses data types and workloads similar to what the customer deals with daily to make the demonstration as realistic and impactful as possible.

There are two ways to do this:

Sandbox Environment:

In this, you isolate the setup from live production systems for safe testing without risking the integrity of actual operational data.

Sandbox environment pros:
  • A high degree of control so you can manage and manipulate the environment to demonstrate specific features without external variables.
  • Ensures that sensitive data is protected during testing.
  • Allows for extensive testing of complex integrations and workflows.
Sandbox environment cons:
  • Time-consuming to replicate a customer’s environment accurately.
  • Requires high technical skills to configure and manage.
  • May hinder collaboration with customer teams involved in the POC.

Clickable Demos:

A straightforward and user-friendly approach. You present interactive simulations of your product that are easy to modify according to the customer’s needs.

Clickable demos pros:
  • Quickly configurable to suit different sales scenarios.
  • Easy for non-technical stakeholders to interact with.
  • Smooth integration and can be adjusted to highlight specific features or workflows.
Clickable demos cons:
  • Is essentially a replica of your native product environment. 
  • Predefined workflows may not allow for the exploration and discovery of features by users.
Also read: How to Create An Awesome Interactive Product Demo? 

Beyond Technical Wins: How to Secure Solution Wins? 

While a technical win is crucial, it's just the first step. As John Care argues in "The Technical Win," a high technical win rate might not always translate to closed deals.

The ultimate goal is a solution win, where your product demonstrably solves the customer's problems and delivers tangible business value. Here's how to bridge the gap:

  • Gathering customer feedback:  This is crucial to understand how well the POC addressed their needs. Feedback can be gathered through surveys, calls, or meetings.
  • Addressing customer concerns:  Any issues identified during the POC are addressed. This might involve technical tweaks or adjustments to the proposed solution.
  • Building a business case:  The sales team creates a compelling case that showcases how your product solves the customer's specific problems and delivers tangible benefits like increased efficiency, cost savings, or revenue growth. This involves shifting the focus from features to value. 
  • Negotiation and closing: Once the customer is convinced of the value of the solution, the focus shifts to negotiating and finalizing the deal.

Fast-Track Solution Wins With Storylane

With Storylane, ditch the blank canvas approach to POC creation. Your SEs can pre-build demos and set up a demo library. These demos showcase core functionalities and address common customer challenges, giving you a head start on every POC. Account Executives can personalize these demos on the fly with dynamic tokens, integrating customer-specific details for targeted presentations.

Storylane doesn't stop there.  By tracking user engagement within demos, you gain data-driven insights into which features resonate most.  This fuels smarter selling, allowing you to tailor your message and highlight functionalities that deliver the most value for each customer. 

Ready to fast-track your sales cycle and close more deals? Start your free Storylane trial today!


1. What are common mistakes to avoid during a technical demo?

Avoid overwhelming your audience with too many technical details. Focus on key features that address the customer's needs. Ensure the demo is well-rehearsed to avoid technical glitches and be prepared to answer questions succinctly. Tailor the demo to show how the solution fits within the customer's existing systems and processes.

2. Is it necessary to achieve a perfect technical evaluation score to secure a technical win?

A perfect score in technical evaluation is not always necessary to secure a technical win. The key is to meet the critical requirements of the customer and demonstrate how the solution addresses their most pressing needs effectively. Flexibility in addressing concerns and offering viable solutions can often outweigh a perfect score.

3. How can I leverage a technical win to negotiate a more favorable contract?

Use the momentum of a technical win to discuss the strategic value of your solution. Highlight how the product meets not just technical needs but also contributes to the customer's business goals. Demonstrating the long-term benefits and cost savings of your solution can help you negotiate favorable terms.

4. How can I ensure a successful POC?

To ensure a successful POC, clearly define the success criteria with the customer beforehand. Ensure the setup mirrors the customer's real-world environment as closely as possible. Regularly collect feedback during the POC period and adjust as necessary to address any concerns. Provide comprehensive support and documentation to facilitate a smooth evaluation process.

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."


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