OPTAM was founded by a group of practicing field SEs who thought that we should all have a way of demonstrating our credibility to peers, managers, and potential employers with a rigorous (and thus, valuable) SE-specific certification. Two years in the making, we are proud to have finally delivered on that goal.
The Organization for Professional Technical Account Management (OPTAM)® was created in 2012 to address the gap in the Sales Engineering/Presales community as it relates to the formal adoption of definitions, standards, and metrics of the profession. Certain lingering questions that drove the initial team included:
- What is a Sales Engineer, Presales Consultant, Solution Architect, etc.? Are there differences between them?
- What does said role typically do and not do?
- How can I become an SE? What training or college major can prepare me for such a role?
- Are there specific industry guidelines and best practices that codify the position?
- How can I demonstrate basic competency of the role? How about mastery?
Five SEs came together (with assistance of many others) to comprise the initial working group on OPTAM with the specific purpose of addressing these questions in a systematic way. 2015 marks the release of the first in a set of deliverables which is the Certified Technical Sales Professional (CTSP)®. Other deliverables such as a Masters® designation and Technical Sales Body of Knowledge (TSBOK) are now in the planning stages.
OPTAM is a member-managed company headquartered in the United States and is pursuing 501(c) non-profit status.
Management consists of a five-person management committee consisting of practicing SEs in the field. Appointment on this committee is expected to grow and rotate as needed as membership from the SE community grows.
Strategic direction and guidance is provided by an Executive Steering Committee primarily consisting of senior sales and presales leadership. This committee is currently accepting applications for involvement.
Once all leadership positions are filled, work on a formal charter will begin.
Though the initial working group consisted of individuals in North America, OPTAM is seeking membership from a globally representative audience. Additionally, the initial certification program was developed with a global audience in mind and should be equally compatible with professional guidelines from Latin American, European and Asian regions–even if marketing efforts are not evenly distributed.
Finally, it is expected that as membership grows, subcommittees will be established in each major region to ensure the council is well informed on international matters.