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Improving How Sales and Pre-sales Work Together

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 27-Aug-2014 13:41:00

The job of Pre-Sales is to challenge Salespeople


This may come as news to both Pre-Sales and Sales people, at least those who are not already doing a great job. I was speaking to a very successful young Salesman recently and when I asked him why he was so successful he replied, “Because my Pre Sales guys are constantly challenging me with difficult questions”. This reminded me just how important it is for Sales and Pre Sales to work together as a team. And just how often they don’t.


Does any of this sound familiar?

With the increasing level of detail customers demand these days, subject matter presentations are a crucial part of many B2B Sales. But all too often things go wrong. Sales ask Pre Sales to provide a presentation or demonstration without giving sufficient information about the customer needs. The customer is not impressed and feels that his time has been wasted. Sales blames Pre Sales, Pre Sales blames Sales.

They are simply not working as a team and lack a common definition of a good Sales Process and what everyone’s role in the process should be.


How the process should work

Firstly, the Sales person should get a clear understanding of customer needs before they ask Pre Sales to get involved. Pre Sales should listen with care and may need to ask further questions and Sales should welcome those questions as evidence that Pre Sales really wants to understand the customer needs.


The Opportunity Roadmap

If you don’t already use an Opportunity Roadmap in your sales process now is the time to start. I could take a whole blog describing how they work and why they are so valuable, but I will just give you an outline here and it will become clear how they help clarify customer needs for everyone involved.

The first section is an Opportunity Description, broken down into Customer goals, the Sales objective and details about Revenue potential and Budget. Then there is a section on the Buying Center with each individual’s Needs and Decision Criteria followed by the Value Proposition. The Sales Team then summarises the current position and draws up an action plan.

With this document the Pre Sales and Subject matter experts have a clear understanding of the Customer needs and can put together an effective presentation or demonstration.


And how should the people work together?

Building real teamwork is about developing soft skills every bit as much as process. Start with mutual respect, trust and esteem, that should encourage people to help and motivate each other.

Try and avoid one person becoming a Primadonna. The negative effect is that others stay on the sideline and don’t taking responsibility. Then encourage team members to recognize when expertise from others is required and empower pre-sales people to take responsibility for developing the customer relationship.

Then when it comes to the presentation, it won’t be a case of running through a series of features. Instead it will show the customer how the solution will benefit them and meet their specific needs. Result - customer is impressed, Sales and Pre Sales happy.


How to improve teamwork between Sales and Pre-sales

  1. Train Sales and Pre Sales together in understanding the Sales Process

  2. Foster mutual respect

  3. Develop an Opportunity Roadmap for complex sales

  4. Sales to give a proper brief to Pre Sales and welcome challenging questions

  5. Pre Sales to make sure they understand customer needs and use a presentation to show how a solution meets those needs and benefits the customer.


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