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5 key ingredients to becoming a successful presales engineer

5 key ingredients to becoming a successful presales engineer

Presales are an integral part of the Sales team. With the rise of digital transformation and SaaS, the role of Presales has become pivotal to business. Presales are SMEs who add value to the business (both to the customer as well as the organization) by providing expert technical advice throughout the Sales Process, thereupon influencing Sales.

In our previous blog, I have discussed the importance of presales. In this one, I would like to share the five key ingredients to become a successful Presales Engineer.

Understand the product from Customer’s perspective

There has been a tremendous shift in buyer’s behavior in recent years due to tighter budgets, increased competition, mobile habits, social media influence, unknown natural disasters and pandemics, and so on. To combat these, you need to understand why your customers buy what you sell, the value the product is going to provide, and how they make buying decisions.

So, understand your customer’s business and their respective industry trend. Assume, you are interacting with an E-commerce company, it is imperative to provide examples from their industry to establish rapport and then offer them the proof of concept on how your product could help their business.

Analyze the business with a ‘Why’.

Personally, I start any interaction with a Why?  I attribute this behavior of mine to Simon Sinek. I believe that if the WHY question is addressed, then it is easy to get to the core of their business structure and requirement. 

Analyze “Why” your customer needs a product like yours. This would help you to understand their requirements better and achieve the goal sooner. Having addressed this, you should be in a better position to pitch how well it will solve the challenges faced by their business.

Plan the roadmap

You have got the opportunity to get to the core of their problem by answering the WHY. Now, it is time to set the agenda right and plan the route.

Before the meeting, prepare an agenda to set the expectations right with your customer. This will help you to gather the information you will need during the business. Start working on a flowchart or mind map. This will help you, deep-dive, into your solution and keep you aligned with their customer business.

Converse with your customer

I love this great article by Sanjeev – Ban Product Demo’s

In today’s world, it is not possible to ban product demos. Customers have reached out to you to know more about the product and your organization. They want to see what the product offers. But, it doesn’t mean you have to spend the next hour or so boasting what your product can offer.

Break the ice with pep talks and try to find a common ground where you both get comfortable. This helps your customer to get into their comfort zone. Now, make demos successful by addressing the use case that was talked the most during the discovery phase. Show what is critical for their business instead of showing all features. 

Winning demos begin with the most valuable part instead of building up to it.

Create your customer playbook

After the demonstration, every customer will have the question on “What next?”.  Surprise them with “The Playbook”

A well-developed “Playbook” empowers and engages customers at every step of the buying journey and increases the likelihood of them reaching that winning moment. It prescribes corresponding workflows and sequences that have the highest likelihood of driving positive responses and business outcomes.

The sales playbook is a vital resource to help maximize sales efficiency. 

In studying companies internationally, HBR came to this conclusion: Companies who were determined to have strong presales strategies consistently gained win rates of 40 to 50 percent in new business and 80 to 90 percent in renewals — significantly higher than average rates.

When you have presales with the above skills, you build a strong platform for the organization and helps the business grow.

If you want to discuss more on this topic, you can drop your comments. We will definitely get back to you.

Importance of Presales

Importance of Presales

Importance of Presales

In today’s customer success-driven industry, business is in a constant quest for growth. But, they often overlook a promising opportunity within their organization: Presales. An integral part of the sales team, Presales plays a crucial role in not only acquiring new business but also lay the foundation to retain customers for a lifetime.

Presales operations kickstart when the potential customer has been identified. They carry out a specific set of activities that lead to qualifying, present product demonstration and help sales win deals as well as to renew.

More specifically, it refers to the technical side of the sales; responsible to demonstrate technical aspect and business value of the product.

As mentioned in my previous blog, I have dwelled into the details of the responsibilities and importance of presales in an organization.

Who is a presales engineer?

A presales engineer is a person who works alongside a salesperson to discover a customer’s business challenges and creates a unique solution to present back to their decision-makers.  They help prospects visualize the value and benefits through an engaging story. When executed well it equates to a sale for the business, ROI for the customer and long term relationship.

Break down of responsibilities

Two-thirds of Presale’s efforts involve technical activities (crafting solutions to customers’ problems) and the remaining one-third is for commercial activities (manage deal qualification, bid RFP).

  • Qualify leads by tagging with salespeople during visits or calls with prospects and clients.
  • Deliver a kickass demonstration or presentation exhibiting in-depth knowledge in their industry.
  • Keep the POC moving by contacting prospects pro-actively and answer any technical questions related to their product.
  • Gather product feedback or feature request from clients and liaise with Product Managers
  • Collaborate with sales and marketing for Sales Enablement.
  • Respond to RFP’s when the tender is out and help sales to manage the bidding process.

Importance of Presales

It’s the first “proper interaction the customer has with the product/solution so the pre-sales group sets the standard and tone for the technical support and engagement they will receive” throughout their lifecycle. They invest their time to have a deep understanding of the client’s needs. Presales have the ability to predict customer needs with greater precision and provide expertise before the purchase is made.

A well-run presales organization will have a lasting impact on the customer’s perception and attitude toward your business. Oftentimes, they have a significant influence on the customer during the renewal period.  

In conclusion, Presales is not about delivering technical closure for a sales opportunity.  The primary focus of presales is always to deliver far more value to the customer during every stage of their sales journey. The value should contribute to the achievement of the customer’s strategic goals. The likelihood of customer renewing or expanding depends on identifying these value-based outcomes for the customer.

The Customer Success journey begins with Presales

The Customer Success journey begins with Presales

A salesperson is the first point of contact for a Prospect, who sets the right platform for futuristic business for both the organization and the Prospect. But, the actual business conversation starts with the Presales. They set the tone right for the Prospect for continual business and a long-lasting relationship.

Trusted advisor

Presales are just not about delivering a technical closure for a sales opportunity. It is the first step to providing a greater customer experience. The presales team has to invest their time and resources to have a deep understanding of the Prospect’s needs and competitive analysis.

They have the ability to shape up a fruitful conversation that dwells on addressing their needs as well as positioning the product/service above the competitor scenario.

Accelerate the Sales Cycle

The primary focus of Presales is to deliver an experience to the Prospect during every stage of their business journey. This experience, in turn, relates and contributes to achieving the customer’s strategic goals. They help in accelerating the revenue and guide customers/prospects to make the right investment

Expansion of Value

A well-knit Presales team leaves a long-lasting impact on the prospect/customer and business. This top-notch team of the organization should predict the Prospect’s requirements with greater precision and provide technical expertise and show Sales acumen before the purchase is done. The likelihood of renewals or up-sell hugely depends on this experience. This paves way for future expansion of the business.

“Companies with strong presales capabilities consistently achieve win rates of 40–50% in new business and 80–90% in renewal business” – McKinsey

A Presales Engineer is more trusted and respected by the Customers. They are a valuable asset in the sales arsenal and a trusted guide for the customer. Revenue, Customer Satisfaction, future growth, and market presence all begins with this Presales journey. To win and retain lifelong customers, I believe the organization needs to leverage and improve its pre-sales capabilities. They will be a clear differentiator from your competitors.

It needs a special mention in my blogs, as I have had the opportunity to work and lead a team of Presales Engineers in the organizations(Zoho and Freshworks) that I have worked so far. Stay tuned to my blogs for the next couple of weeks to gain deep insights into the Presales Activities, Roles and Responsibilities, and the Importance of Presales.