Solutions Architects (SA) are the trusted advisors to GitLab prospects and customers during the presales motion, demonstrating how the GitLab application and GitLab Professional Services address common and unique business requirements. SA's add value to GitLab by providing subject matter expertise and industry experience throughout the sales process.
SA's identify and propose comprehensive solutions to complex business problems and workflow scenarios after compiling inputs from customer conversations. Desired inputs include pain points, role-based visibility concerns, opportunities for improved efficiencies, current technologies and tools, corporate initiatives, target outcomes and more. SA's also act as the technical liaison between the sales team and other groups within GitLab, engaging GitLab employees from other teams as needed in order meet the needs of the customer.
In addition to core responsibilities, Solutions Architects may assist in other client-facing activities aligned to Content Marketing or Strategic Marketing such as blogs, videos, webinars, presentations and industry trade show presence. Some examples are listed below:
Solutions Architects are occasionally called on at a moments notice to give a demo or join a call to show a prospect or customer specific GitLab functionality. A best practice for being prepared for these demo requests is to have a minimized browser window with various content preloaded into the browser tabs. Examples of common environments utilized are listed below. Note that accessing some of these links are only enabled for GitLab team-members.
Solutions Architects frequently interact with customers for demos, presentations or Q&A. These calls should enable the customer to clearly experience the value of GitLab without distraction or interruption. The below list of tools was compiled by the GitLab SA team as commonly used solutions. Note, this list does not represent a requirement to use any of these products or an endorsement for these products.
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Enterprise Solutions Architects typically support two sales teams made up of Sales Development Representatives, Strategic Account Leaders and Technical Account Managers. Commercial Sales Solutions Architects support Mid-Market Account Executives and SMB Customer Advocates in a pooled model. When joining a sales team, establishing working agreements is critical to providing optimal service to the customers as well as the GitLab team. A sample template of working agreements is found below to help facilitate conversation and establish these agreements:
Generally, the SA owns all pre-sales technical relationships and activities while a TAM owns growth after an initial sale. However, the SA will still be involved with the customer after an initial sale in several circumstances. Likewise, a TAM will become involved prior to a sale for context and collaboration.
TAM engagement prior to the sale should occur in the following situations:
The TAM owns the account post-sale. SA's remain involved in the following situations:
The SA should either be included in a discovery call or provided with Outcome / Infrastructure / Challenges information uncovered by prior interactions with the account. Occasionally, SA's may support a combination call of discovery and technical demonstration/deep-dive on a single call, but this is suboptimal as the latter approach does not allow the SA time to prepare for and/or tailor the discussion.
The SA is also responsible for any pre-sales technical customer inquiry or audit from associated accounts, including RFI, RFP or security audits. For details on the audit process, proceed to the Security page.
The SA is always responsible for drafting Professional Services SOW's, regardless of the account status (pre- and post-sales).
As a general guideline, no more than 2 Solutions Architects should join any single client-facing call, whether it be assistive for the topic or for learning / shadowing.
When technical staff is required for a marketing event, follow the process outlined on the Marketing Events page. SA managers and others in Customer Success should monitor the Event Staffing Board regularly for new events (although Marketing staff will CC the appropriate managers on issues.)
U.S. Enterprise SA's are aligned regionally with Strategic Account Leaders and aligned in their respective account activities. Each team collaborates according to their own Working Agreements.
When workload exceeds the SA's capacity or when there is a request from other departments, please submit the request for assistance on either of the enterprise triage boards based on region: US EAST Triage Board or US WEST Triage Board. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
SA engagement for customer interactions, RFP's, audits and more can be requested by any EMEA-based sales executive or other GitLab team-member using the appropriate GitLab issue board. The EMEA Triage Board is leveraged by the team in order to ensure coverage for all sales activity. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
SA engagement for customer interactions, RFP's, audits and more can be requested by an SMB or Mid-Market Account Executive or other GitLab team-member using the appropriate GitLab issue board. Commercial boards exist for both the Americas and EMEA. The Americas Commercial Triage Board and the EMEA Commerical Triage Board are leveraged by the team in order to ensure coverage for all sales activity. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
Customer Success Team (SA/TAM) engagement for customer interactions, RFP's, audits and more can be requested by a Strategic Account Leaders, an SMB or Mid-Market Account Executive or other GitLab team-member using the appropriate GitLab issue board. A single APAC Triage board exists that serves both Enterprise and Commerical markets. The APAC Triage Board is leveraged by the team in order to ensure coverage for all sales activity. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
1) Navigate to the correct board for your region. NOTE: All triage boards are located in the SA Triage Boards group in projects broken out by region or engagement model.
2) Create a new issue.
3) Use one of the available templates:
4) To help the SA group ensure success for the client, the following information should be made available prior to SA engagement
5) Add one or more of the following labels as needed (labels listed below).
The SA team associated with each region will monitor the triage board and/or an associated Slack channel for incoming work and will contact the appropriate Customer Success team members via Slack, email or phone depending on required skills, schedules and availability. SLA for activity is 48 hours unless the issue is marked with an 'Expedite' label.
When a prospect or customer have required capabilities that do not map directly to our product offering, Solutions Architect’s first step is to explore solutions or work-arounds that would satisfy their requirements with our current toolset. If the SA is unable to determine an approach that works for the prospect, the next best action is to reach out to the Product Manager. To determine what Product Manager is appropriate, review the Product Categories handbook page.
To be efficient as possible, this is the recommended approach: 1) Document: Document the use-case the prospect is trying to solve in an issue on their Account Management Project. Include the customer business objectives, existing approach, and communication between the prospect (call recordings, emails, etc).
2) Exploration: If applicable, document the solutions or work-arounds that were explored with the customer and why that was not sufficient.
3) Suggestion: Reach out to the Product Manager with a link to the Account Management issue and request an internal review.
4) Communication: Set up a call with the prospect or customer to determine the next best steps.