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Investing in Presales - George Bara

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The role of Presales in any technical and software organization has become more important over the last decade. Often called the “hidden half of the sale” or the “credible side of the sale”, a correctly set-up Presales group can significantly and positively increase your company’s revenue. Learn what Presales is, understand how it can help your organization and what you need in order to become a trusted Solution Consultant in the software industry.

Published in: Technology

Investing in Presales - George Bara

  1. 1. 1 INVESTING IN From SMEs to Solution Consultants
  2. 2. 2 ABOUT MEAND WHY I’M TELLING YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT PRESALES GEORGE BARA
  3. 3. 3 GEORGE BARA THE GUY STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU 11 1 6 300+ Years in Software Technical book published Years in Presales Customer engagements Solutions Director, Government Intelligence EMEA at I live and work in Cluj-Napoca
  4. 4. 4 PRESALES ENGINEER PRESALES CONSULTANT SOLUTIONS CONSULTANT “TECHIE” SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT WHAT DOES ACTUALLY “PRESALES” MEAN? SO WE HAVE A PROPER START SPECIFIC TO TECHOLOGY AND SOFTWARE SALES PROCESS. ACTIVITIES PERFORMED BEFORE A CUSTOMER IS AQUIRED. “THE TRUSTED SIDE OF SALES”
  5. 5. 5 THE SOFTWARE SALE AN OBVIOUSLY OVERSIMPLIFIED VIEW
  6. 6. 6 New Product Introduction - Market definition - Market campaign - Preliminary qualification by telemarketing - Further qualification by Sales Lead Qualification RFP - Optional - Try to avoid unsolicited RFPs - Discovery or Needs Analysis - Learn about the customer Customer Engagement Post Sales Support - Implementing the solution - Further developing the relationship - Up-sell opportunity THE SOFTWARE SALES CYCLE IT’S NOT LIKE SELLING CARPETS - Working with Procurement - Financial and legal terms Negotiate and Close Present, Demonstrate, Propose - Solution presentation and demonstration - Optional PoC - Solution design
  7. 7. 7 Marketing Technical Sales = PreSalesSales RFP Discovery & Engagement Presentation Demonstration Proposal Evaluation WHERE DOES THE “PRESALES” COME IN KEY TASKS FOR TECHNICAL SALES Negotiation: close or lose Post-sales support Up-selling Marketing Campaigns Attend tradeshows, establish relationships with partners Answer hundreds of technical questions Conduct business analysis and background reading Synthesize the analysis into a presentation of your business value Demonstrate the solution that delivers your value proposition Develop a written proposal to be used as part of a financial proposal Prepare, define, monitor and work with the customer on the PoC This is Sales’ territory Handover to the delivery team; maintain customer relationship Sell add-on products
  8. 8. 8 Technical The job of the Presales/Solutions Consultant. A key set of processes specific to Software Sales, where technical knowledge is required. Commercial The job of the Sales Representative or Business Development Manager. This is what has been known traditionally as “Sales”. 50% 50% A SOFTWARE SALE IS BOTH COMMERCIAL AND TECHNICAL PRESALES’ JOB IS TO CLOSE THE TECHNICAL SALE Commercial Sale Technical Sale +
  9. 9. 9 Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust Zig Ziglar
  10. 10. 10     The Purchase The group with the actual solution requirements. The users, sponsors and enemies sit in this group. Business Oversees the process and makes sure acquired solutions are inline with the strategy and future plans. Executive The contract owners, with powers over legal and financial terms. Procurement IT, IT standards or IT security, the so-called “Gate keepers”. They can only be sold “technically” IT WHY IS PRESALES CALLED “TRUSTED SIDE of SALES”? SEE THE SALES FROM THE CUSTOMER’S EYES
  11. 11. 11 “I don’t want to be sold” The customer wants to feel like he makes the buying decision, based on his terms. She doesn’t want to be “sold”. “Sales only wants to sell” It is really difficult for Sales to establish an immediate trust relation with the customer. “I need a trusted advisor” Previous experience, industry knowledge and the technical approach makes presales a trusted representative of the Sales party. “Technical ≠ Sales” A technical expert – although working in sales – is not regarded as a “sales rep” by the customer WHY DO CUSTOMERS TRUST PRESALES? WHAT’S IN THE MIND OF THE CUSTOMER
  12. 12. 12 THE PRESALES PROFILE YOUR SMEs AND HOW TO MAKE THEM GREAT
  13. 13. 13 Solution Expert Know your software products and solutions in-and-out Communicator And also excellent presenter, networker and hi-scorer in all soft skills Project Manager Manage multiple PoCs in parallel, spanning from weeks to months Sales Oriented Good negotiator and influencer with the aim to close the deal. Industry Expert Know the industry, standards, competitors, trends and software in general Self Aware He is the face of the company, so need to build a strong persona and professional brand Team Player Work harmoniously with peers from sales, support, product and engineering GyShiDo Master 70% of the time is all about fire-fighting. THE IDEAL PRESALES PROFILE AS ILUSIVE AS THE MYTHICAL SASQUATCH
  14. 14. 14 SME Your solution architect or product specialist that has presales potential (soft skills). Comfortable in front of the customer, with an interest in the product lifecycle. Presales Engineer Managing demo instances. Setting up customized demos. Performing basic qualifications, discoveries and demonstrations. RFP work with Engineering support. Attends company events and hosts webinars. Solutions Consultant A solution architect turned sales consultant. Works on multiple products and designs complex software solutions based on extensive customer qualification and discovery. Works with product marketing and product management. Presales Manager Manages a team of presales consultants and engineers. Oriented on processes, procedures and continuous improvement of the team. Evaluates the team’s performance and maintains a culture of collaboration and gratification. Solution Evangelist Industry renowned specialist, the face of the company. Attends key industry events, host webinars, leads the product strategy group and consults on an executive level. THE LADDER TO GREATNESS THERE IS LIFE BEYOND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING ❶ ❷ ❸ ❹ ❺
  15. 15. 15 1 You can’t be a presales unless you are willing to travel frequently to customers; about 50% of the working time. TRAVEL 2 A sales year is typically split in Sales Quarters, each with a target. Everyone in Sales becomes mental at the end of each quarter. SALES IS TOUGH 3 You will be one of the most visible people in your company, from engineers, support, product, to the executive team. This is both good and bad. VISIBILITY 4 Presales is part of Sales, so you get commission out of every sale you help close. Likely a 60/40 salary/bonus split. BONUSES WHAT YOU NEED TO REALLY KNOW ABOUT YOUR JOB AND WHY IT’S GREAT AND IT ISN’T AT THE SAME TIME
  16. 16. 16 The presales “bible” • Not just a “handbook”, but the most comprehensive book on technical presales. • 3rd edition, up to date with latest trends in the software industry. • The authors – John and Aron - have been in Presales since the 80s, now both accomplished executives. 16 FURTHER READING THAT’S WORTH READING!
  17. 17. 17 ARE YOU PRESALES READY? SOFTWARE SALES GREATNESS, HERE WE COME!
  18. 18. 18 You don’t need presales because your products are the best and they basically sell themselves. Delusional CEO
  19. 19. 19 Sales E P S # Engineering “Please join a call about our encryption techniques” Product “Please do a demo and speak about the roadmap” Support “Please help with this 400 page RFP” Everyone Who is available and willing WHAT IS PRESALES CHAOS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE PRESALES
  20. 20. 20 Level One No process Level Two Adopting process Level Three Operational Level Four Repeatable No shared, organizational, consistent practices for Presales. No defined roles, no consistency in roles or activities. A PRESALES ROADMAP FIND YOUR ORGANIZATION IN THESE LEVELS Continuous Improvement An operational process that drives Presales activity and behavior. Presales own Technical Sales closure and is accountant for technical decisions. Management acknowledges Presales a being strategic. Sales process adopted, but does not drive Presales activity and behavior. Mostly technical support, with some organizational acknowledgement. Documented, operational, enterprise-wide, repeatable, measurable, managed, self-improving Presales process. The Presales role is well-defined and accepted by executive management.
  21. 21. 21 Tech giants like Oracle and Microsoft have based their sales growth since the 80s on developing a strong Presales organization. The emergence of SaaS and Cloud lead to the idea that products can sell themselves. Some can, but most require constant and consistent technical sales approaches. 3 2 1 PRESALES HELP SALES INCREASE It’s a buffer between Sales and everyone else. Sales doesn’t understand what you do in Engineering: releases, tasks, sprints... So they won’t care about your well defined time management scheme. Presales will not only support Sales, but will become a valuable repository of knowledge. PRESALES BRINGS SANITY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION You can’t just give your SME a Presales title and things will just work out. Presales requires specializes hard and soft skills building, specialized processes, tools and success metrics. Once again: it’s not Sales, but it’s not Engineering either. IT’S A SPECIFIC ROLE, WITH SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS THREE KEY POINTS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER AND THAT’S ABOUT IT
  22. 22. 22 CONTACT MEI ACTUALLY REPLY TO MESSAGES AND EMAILS (SOMETIMES)
  23. 23. 23 I work in the SDL Cluj-Napoca office, Constanta street no. 24 gbara@sdl.com SDL EMAIL WANT TO KNOW MORE? ABOUT PRESALES, LIFE AND POLITICS https://ro.linkedin.com/in/georgebara QA LINKEDIN

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