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.
From SMEs to Solution Consultants
ABOUT MEAND WHY I’M TELLING YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT PRESALES
THE GUY STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU
Years in Software
Years in Presales
Solutions Director, Government Intelligence EMEA at
I live and work in Cluj-Napoca
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”
AN OBVIOUSLY OVERSIMPLIFIED VIEW
- Market definition
- Market campaign
- Further qualification
- Try to avoid
- Discovery or Needs
- Learn about the
- Implementing the
- Further developing
- Up-sell opportunity
THE SOFTWARE SALES CYCLE
IT’S NOT LIKE SELLING CARPETS
- Working with
- Financial and legal
- Optional PoC
- Solution design
Marketing Technical Sales = PreSalesSales
Discovery & Engagement
WHERE DOES THE “PRESALES” COME IN
KEY TASKS FOR TECHNICAL SALES
Negotiation: close or lose
Attend tradeshows, establish
relationships with partners
Answer hundreds of technical
Conduct business analysis and
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
The job of the Presales/Solutions Consultant.
A key set of processes specific to Software Sales, where technical knowledge is required.
The job of the Sales Representative or Business Development Manager.
This is what has been known traditionally as “Sales”.
A SOFTWARE SALE IS BOTH COMMERCIAL AND TECHNICAL
PRESALES’ JOB IS TO CLOSE THE TECHNICAL SALE
Every sale has
desire, and no
The group with the actual solution
requirements. The users, sponsors
and enemies sit in this group.
Oversees the process and makes
sure acquired solutions are inline
with the strategy and future plans.
The contract owners, with powers
over legal and financial terms.
IT, IT standards or IT security, the
so-called “Gate keepers”. They can
only be sold “technically”
WHY IS PRESALES CALLED “TRUSTED SIDE of SALES”?
SEE THE SALES FROM THE CUSTOMER’S EYES
“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
“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
YOUR SMEs AND HOW TO MAKE THEM GREAT
Know your software products and
And also excellent presenter, networker
and hi-scorer in all soft skills
Manage multiple PoCs in parallel,
spanning from weeks to months
Good negotiator and influencer with the
aim to close the deal.
Know the industry, standards,
competitors, trends and software in
He is the face of the company, so need
to build a strong persona and
Work harmoniously with peers from
sales, support, product and engineering
70% of the time is all about fire-fighting.
THE IDEAL PRESALES PROFILE
AS ILUSIVE AS THE MYTHICAL SASQUATCH
Your solution architect or
product specialist that has
presales potential (soft
Comfortable in front of the
customer, with an interest in
the product lifecycle.
Managing demo instances.
Setting up customized
RFP work with Engineering
Attends company events and
A solution architect turned sales
Works on multiple products and
designs complex software
solutions based on extensive
customer qualification and
Works with product marketing
and product management.
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
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
You can’t be a presales unless you are willing to
travel frequently to customers; about 50% of the
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
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.
Presales is part of Sales, so you get commission out
of every sale you help close. Likely a 60/40
WHAT YOU NEED TO REALLY KNOW ABOUT YOUR JOB
AND WHY IT’S GREAT AND IT ISN’T AT THE SAME TIME
The presales “bible”
• Not just a “handbook”, but the most
comprehensive book on technical
• 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.
THAT’S WORTH READING!
SOFTWARE SALES GREATNESS, HERE WE COME!
the best and
E P S #
“Please join a call
“Please do a
with this 400
Who is available and
WHAT IS PRESALES CHAOS
WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE PRESALES
No shared, organizational, consistent practices for
No defined roles, no consistency in roles or activities.
A PRESALES ROADMAP
FIND YOUR ORGANIZATION IN THESE LEVELS
An operational process that drives Presales activity
Presales own Technical Sales closure and is
accountant for technical decisions.
Management acknowledges Presales a being
Sales process adopted, but does not drive Presales
activity and behavior.
Mostly technical support, with some organizational
Documented, operational, enterprise-wide,
repeatable, measurable, managed, self-improving
The Presales role is well-defined and accepted by
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.
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
IT’S A SPECIFIC ROLE, WITH SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
THREE KEY POINTS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER
AND THAT’S ABOUT IT
CONTACT MEI ACTUALLY REPLY TO MESSAGES AND EMAILS (SOMETIMES)
I work in the SDL Cluj-Napoca office,
Constanta street no. 24
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
ABOUT PRESALES, LIFE AND POLITICS