Salesforce Solution Engineer

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The role of a Salesforce Solution Engineer

Solution engineering is one of the most demanded jobs today, and for good reasons too. Solution engineers are responsible for identifying customer needs and designing specialized solutions for them. Not only should Solution Engineers have good product sense, but also need to have strong business acumen so they can tie product development to business relevance. Most importantly, they must possess good persuasion skills so they can sell products to the end customer. 

At Salesforce, Solution Engineers assist sales teams and act as a trusted advisors to the client. To be able to assist the client in the best way possible, they must have immense knowledge ranging from technical skills to business intelligence.

Interview Guide

The Salesforce Solution Engineering interview consists of 5 rounds.

The first round is the Recruiter Phone Screen, which is then followed by an interview with the Hiring Manager. The third round consists of interviews with other team members. The fourth round is the demo and panel presentation, in which you will role-play as a solution engineer and pitch your product to an executive panel acting as customers. The final interview round will be with a senior team member, and will primarily be a salary negotiation and introduction to the role. 

Recruiter Phone Screen

Overview

This is an introductory call with the HR Manager. You will be asked to introduce yourself, why you chose Salesforce, and why the Solution Engineering role is a good fit for you. A discussion of the job description may also take place. It will typically be 20-30 minutes long. 

As you move forward in the interview process, the HR manager will be in constant touch with you. They will check in regularly to ensure that the process is going smoothly, and you can check in with them if you have any questions at any point.

Hiring Manager Interview

Overview

In this interview, you will be talking to the hiring manager. The manager will ask you to discuss your experiences and may ask questions that dig into your skillset. This interview will assess whether you are fit for the role. You might also be given an opportunity by the hiring manager to meet and interact with the team in person.

Interview with Team Member(s)

Overview

This interview is an interaction with the team members, where you discuss your background and talk about the role. You will be asked about various technicalities associated with the job, as well as your experiences regarding the same.

Tips

  • Talk about experiences relevant to the job and your role. Focus on those which demonstrate your skills in the most relevant ways.
  • It is important to know the SalesForce product that you will demonstrate during the presentation. You will not be able to convince the customer to buy the product unless you know everything about it.
  • Prepare scenario-based questions about Integration patterns.
  • Prepare questions based on pricing policy since these are likely to come up in this round.

Some sample questions for the above three rounds are -

Technical Questions - 

  • What are API Integration advantages over SOA?
  • Give some information about the MuleSoft product and API.
  • Describe some quoting tools of Salesforce. 
  • Using applications such as Oracle Databases, design an integration solution for Salesforce.
  • What is the difference between a SOAP and a restful service?

Behavioral Questions - 

  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
  • Describe a situation when you experienced conflict at work.
  • Discuss a time when you lead a team. How was the experience and what did you learn from it?
  • Tell me about a time when working with client things did not go as planned. How did you handle it?
  • How do you handle objections in meetings?
  • Tell me a time about a project you messed up and how you handle it
  • Describe a situation when you disagreed with your line of management.

General Questions - 

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work at Salesforce?
  • What has been your experience with Salesforce?
  • What do you know about our culture?
  • Why are you interested in the role?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Why do you think you would be a good fit?
  • What are your Salesforce Certifications?
  • Why do you want to adjust your career path (if you are switching careers)?
  • Name one brand which you think Salesforce can help. Why did you choose them and how can Salesforce help them?
  • What is Solution Engineering?
  • Tell us about a project that got you your current job.
  • Discuss any one instance where Salesforce has added value to a particular client?
  • What challenges do you think you will face at Salesforce?
  • What do you think you can contribute to the company?
  • How does your work experience fit into the role?
  • How would you explain the functioning of Salesforce to a new user?
  • Describe your current role (if you are switching fields).
  • Describe areas of product improvement (for a particular SF product).
  • Why does the Salesforce product stand out?
  • How do you organize your work?
  • What are the professional achievements from the past that you’re most proud of?
  • Choose any one product that Salesforce offers. Give a 2-minute sales pitch to us right now.
  • Why are you considering Salesforce now? (in case you have more than 3-4 years of experience)
  • Name a few competitors of Salesforce.
  • Describe how you handle competing responsibilities. 
  • What would be your approach in working with a new employee?
  • How would you be able to adapt to the big company environment? (In case you previously worked at a startup)
  • Why would someone buy Salesforce? 
  • How would you handle our competitors?
  • How would you handle customer objections during a presentation?

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Onsite Demo and Panel Presentation

Overview

This round consists of two parts - A Demo round and the Panel Presentation. As the name suggests, the Demo will be a mock of the final panel presentation. The presentation is a kind of role-play, wherein you’ll play the Solution Engineer and the panel of executives will be the customer.

You will be given a large case study (of a fictitious client) about 2 weeks before the final presentation day, and you will have to prepare a demo on that technology. A 20-30 minute discovery call may also take place, where someone from Salesforce will act as a representative of the company so that you can gain knowledge about the company. The Hiring Manager will pair you up with a “Panel buddy”, who will help you throughout the process. You can discuss anything and everything with them - your case study, any scope of improvement, questions you might have. 

For both the demo and presentation, you will be given a timeline to stick to - Introduction, presentation, Q/A. For the first 15-20 minutes, you will give your introduction - why you should be hired, why you chose Salesforce, why now, etc. The next 30-45 minutes would be the case study presentation/demo, following which, there will be a question-answer round with the panel. The panel will consist of executives, including multiple solution engineers, who will simulate different roles in the fictitious company. The HR, Hiring Manager will provide plenty of guidance and resources to assist you through the entire process.

What the interviewer will assess

  • Your consultative selling skills. The customer must feel like the king of the room, so the needs of the customer should be the focus, rather than purely selling your product.
  • Your business acumen, and how you handle any objections raised and challenging questions from your customer.
  • Your communication skills - how you can convey relevant information succinctly, and how well you understand and solve the queries of the customer. 
  • The objective of the presentation is to test your presentation skills and content more than the technology, so the focus should be on the former. 

Tips

  • Use the help of your panel coach (buddy) as much as you can. They have been assigned to you to assist you, and the more guidance and feedback you get, the better your final presentation will be, hence increasing your chances of getting the job.
  • Strictly follow the timeline given to you for the presentation. Time management is key.
  • The case study will be quite large, so narrow down the information to the key elements and build a presentation around that. Ensure that you do not omit the vital details. 
  • Focus more on the needs of the customer rather than simply selling your product. 
  • Do a couple of dry runs of your presentation so that you are fully comfortable with the flow of the presentation and are also able to handle the questions asked by the panel easily.
  • Stay in character during the entire process. The presentation is a reflection of how you will handle future demos as an employee of Salesforce, so make sure to prove yourself worthy of the position.
  • Remember that the panel is nothing but a simulation of how the customer is. So treat the panel exactly how you’ll treat a customer; do not expect them to go easy on you just because it is an act.

Interview questions for Salesforce Solution Engineering Demo round: 

  • Is the cost of this technology optimal? If not, what would you modify in its pricing?
  • How does Einstein forecasting work? (or any other technology that you’re using)
  • How will Salesforce generate value for the customer’s organization? 
  • Why should we choose cloud hosting over an on-premises deployment? 
  • Why should the customer choose Salesforce over competitors? 

Interview questions for Salesforce Solution Engineering Presentation round: 

  • What are the benefits of moving to a cloud-based solution?
  • How does salesforce enforce security for users? Is it configurable?
  • How difficult is it to build a report?
  • How did you prepare for this demo?
  • How much time did you spend on the presentation?
  • Is the sales process configurable?
  • How would you implement/roll out Salesforce?

Below is an informative video by Salesforce executives that can help you prepare for your Demo presentation -

Interview with Senior Management

Overview

This is the final round of interviews, wherein you will be talking to someone from the senior management, typically the director, VP, or a senior team member. Here you will likely have discussions about your salary, the role you’ll be fulfilling at Salesforce, their expectations from you, and your career goals. 

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