9 KPIs to Align Sales and Presales for Revenue Success

With shared metrics, Account Executives and Sales Engineers can lock arms to drive more revenue and stop deal slippage.

If you’re selling into a technical market, you know the dilemma. Faced with complex deal cycles, modern revenue teams increasingly rely on sales engineers (SE), overlays, solutions architects, and other product specialists to qualify and progress opportunities. Contributions from these specialized experts can encompass 50-70% of the overall deal activity.

But because this work happens beyond the sales rep or account executive (AE), your CRM often can’t see it. Without clear and consistent metrics, SE culture suffers as a result. Your teams want to understand what's important to prioritize and how they're doing relative to how they're measured; this is especially true for your most ambitious players. How can you get there?

Why sales and presales need shared KPIs

SEs play a vital role throughout the enterprise deal cycle. They’re the “glue” from initial discovery and qualification to technical scoping, implementation, deployment, and beyond. As co-pilots on the deal, SEs support many different stakeholders, and play a deciding factor in whether a deal gets marked closed-won or closed-lost. 

With centralized tracking of SE activity and key performance indicators (KPIs), revenue teams can uncover what’s really driving deal outcomes, which variables influence deal progression, and how to improve conversions throughout the customer journey.

Understand why deals are lost

Separate the technical win from commercial fumbles or losses.

Deploy resources, strategically.

Say “no” to the 30%+ of activity that’s unqualified (e.g. early-stage demos).

Speed up the sales cycle.

Cut your buyer evaluation time to 3x your win rate.

9 key sales engineering metrics to track

KPIs are never one size fits all. Your most important metrics will vary depending on the maturity of your business, the number of SEs and AEs across your organization, how many product segments you serve, and other factors. Still, there are general benchmarks that every revenue team should use to improve their sales-presales alignment. Your teams can work collaboratively to identify an initial few they think will make the biggest impact on the business.

1. Activity volume

SEs get pulled into a wide range of sales activities. There are customer presentations, demos, workshops, on-site visits, even full-blown evaluation events and proof of concepts (POC). Activity volume refers to the overall number of SE team engagements, of any type. By tracking this work, you can begin to understand how frequently and efficiently SEs and AEs are working in tandem throughout the customer journey. You want to keep this number from getting too big, and generally try to lower it without sacrificing revenue.


  • Monthly number of deal support requests
  • Activity workload breakdown by SE
  • Volume of requests by sales stage

2. Attachment rate

Related to your activity volume is the number of deals your team is actively covering. The percentage of opportunities that engage an SE is known as your attachment rate. And if you’re efficient in how you manage activities, you can increase your attach rate with the same capacity – helping to drive more high-value deals forward. This number helps you build a case for how vital SEs are to closing deals. You might look to prioritize attach rates for upmarket sales, while automating support for mid-market and smaller opportunities where you need to avoid breaking your margin. 


  • Globally, the median AE:SE ratio is roughly 4:1
  • 100% SE attach rate on opportunities over $1M ARR
  • Attachment on net-new sales vs. existing business

3. Revenue impact

The holy grail of sales reporting is tying work to closed ARR (annual recurring revenue). This is your revenue impact, and while it is a lagging indicator (which can pose difficulties in new markets), you want to track it as best as possible across every SE team deliverable, whether that’s a demo or multi-stage POC. These insights reveal which activities are actually driving results, versus demands on your SEs that are ineffective or a waste of time. Most importantly, this data empowers sales leaders and chief revenue officers to double down on SE tactics that work, so you can drive even greater impact to your bottom line.


  • Closed revenue by SE or activity type
  • Average deal size with vs. without SE resource
  • Technical sales quota filled by individual or team

4. People involved

As markets grow in technical complexity, enterprise selling becomes more of a team sport than ever. In six- and seven-figure deals, AEs and SEs often have to loop in product specialists, solutions architects, engineering, leadership across presales and sales, and beyond. Knowing the people involved, the size and makeup of this deal team, helps you calculate your true cost of sale, by knowing when and how every resource is utilized throughout the sales cycle.


  • B2B sales include an average of 10-20 stakeholders per deal
  • Adding 3+ internal seller personas will 3x your win rate

5. Engagement duration

When a rep or AE contacts sales engineering, how long does it take to receive an update and work through that request? Your engagement duration is a helpful gauge of how readily sales needs are being met. Internal teams often use service-level agreements (SLAs) to drive transparency around sales deliverables and expected turnaround. SE teams should strive to deliver on such promises, so that AEs, sales leadership, and other internal stakeholders are confident in the team’s ability to progress complex deals with predictability and confidence.


  • Median duration of activities (in days)
  • SLA hit rate for first response or completion
  • Average # of hours before first response

6. Technical milestones hit

Beyond the high-level sales stages in your CRM are dozens of in-depth technical reviews, actions, test plans, integrations, and other key events. Milestones (or “checkpoints”) are a helpful way to organize this flurry of activity, so you can progress complex deals in a predictable way and track where things are “hit” or “missed.” This granular visibility helps SEs become trusted partners for sales leadership, by surfacing live status and forecast risks in the CRM, where all key stakeholders can get clarity into the deal. Teams can also spot trends across moments in the sales cycle where deals tend to accelerate or slow down. 


  • Deal health score, current milestone, milestone duration, milestones involved

7. Technical win

Is it fair to grade SEs solely on deal win rates and closed revenue? Whether a customer is evaluating your solution through a demo or workshop, or a more in-depth POC, sometimes the SE delivers on all the technical success criteria, but the deal still fails to close – due to commercials or other political factors. In other words, the surgery is a success, but the patient still dies. Tracking your technical wins empowers your SEs to defend the value of their role in the sales cycle, while also revealing broader insights around which activities and SE resources correlate with higher or lower closed-wons. 


  • POC success rate, # of test plans passed, avg % of success criteria hit
  • Evaluations under 90 days win 3x more often
  • Nearly half of POCs fail, despite hefty investments

8. Reasons for outcome

In addition to tracking technical wins and losses, you want to understand the leading causes behind those results. Perhaps it was a core integration, champion support, or security protocol that helped you stand out (or exposed a weakness). These are all potential reasons for the outcomes of an evaluation. By tasking SEs to report on these results, you provide critical visibility to the broader revenue team – as well as product and engineering leadership – about what’s going right and wrong in your most complex deals. 


  • Successful reasons: integrations, champion support, product advantage
  • Unsuccessful reasons: security gap, key stakeholder left, product feature gap

9. SE capacity

With high demand from sales on SEs’ limited time, it’s easy for teams to get burnt out. To make the most of your technical sales experts, you need a live gauge of how intensely SE resources are being utilized. SE capacity tracks the volume of engagement compared to the maximum possible output, whether that’s defined by number of activities and deals, or overall time worked. It helps you see at a glance which SEs are over or underworked, as well as the product lines or geographical regions across your go-to-market program where additional headcount is needed.


  • Activity quota filled by SE individual, team, or region
  •  # of live opportunities being worked by sales stage
  • Annual recurring revenue pipeline per SE
  • Monthly deal support requests by SE

A better way to track technical sales

With so much already on their plates, many SEs and AEs dislike having to log their work, often after the fact, even if they agree that these metrics and KPIs are important. Manual time entry can also lead to poor incentives. You never want activity itself to be an end goal; plus, the tedious work of time-logging detracts from your capacity to tackle urgent revenue-driving tasks.

Rather than relying on manual time entry or activity tracking, there’s a better way. Using a purpose-built team selling platform, SEs and AEs can simplify their complex sales processes and collect revenue insights simply by working together. As teams collaborate, workflow-driven data collection enhances your CRM reporting with the latest, granular sales forecasts and reports on individual and team performance – no additional work or inputs required. 

No revenue team can improve the gaps it can’t see. Establishing your technical sales KPIs is key as more complicated products and advanced solutions enter the marketplace. The most effective approach will find a way to track this pulse of your business without creating an extra burden on your SEs and AEs. You want to empower teams to work and learn at the same time.

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Matthew King