Implementation and Sales Engineer Ratios + Budgeting

Leanna Castello
Leanna Castello Member Posts: 5 Seeker
edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations
Our implementation team is a hybrid Sales Engineer and Implementation role that operates pre and post-sales (responsible for scoping through deployment.) Does anyone have guidance for how to plan and budget for (1) Implementation teams and then (2) for a hybrid role that operates across pre and post-sale?

We're scaling rapidly and planning to increase our sales headcount dramatically over the next few quarters. I need to justify the size of the overall Customer Success team (includes this Implementation role and traditional Customer Success.) I'm looking for benchmarks or comps on how to think about ratios for the Implementation headcount the way I'm familiar with doing for ARR:CSM headcount ratios.


  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
    Photogenic First Anniversary 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper
    edited August 2020
    Hi Leanna, 
    I really like how your team is thinking about this, as I have had really good success with having SE's as part of the implementation team. The reasoning is this-
    when SE's report directly to sales, they are incentivized to push a deal along faster and will hit the easy button for anything challenging. However, when they are part of the implementation team, their direct manager will have oversight into what is being said in the sales conversation, and there will a direct cause and effect relationship if key elements were not raised or scoped in the presales process.  

    Now, for your direct question- a good "solution engineer" that can work in both pre and post-sales will range in the 95-115k per year. However, there are other questions to be asked here-
    1. Does the sales team have SE's as well?
    2. Can your sales team demo the entire product?
    3. How large is the sales team?
    4. Is the sales team split into regions or solutions?
    5. Does your product require complex integrations? 
    6. how long is your average implementation? 
    Happy to answer more here- those are some determining factors.

  • Tiffany Morin
    Tiffany Morin Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited August 2020
    Mimicking @Jeffrey Kushmerek comment, it depends on how complex the product is to implement, how early days the solutions is, etc. 

    For larger enterprise solutions with large ACVs, I take a general rule of thumb of 2-2.5m ARR per CSM. Incorporating an SE/CE was never a perfect science as the budgets were split between sales and customer success. To calculate this, I looked at the potential customers and deals in the pipeline as well as the growth plans for sales to get an idea of CE/SE headcounts. The previous companies I've worked with were bootstrapped start-ups so I had to keep profits in mind when determining headcount. 

    I comped by SE/CE team on revenue or bookings since they were involved in both retention, expansion and new business. The comp structure would be anywhere between 10-20% of base pay depending on the level of seniority.