They are your sales team’s secret weapon. They’re the power behind your sales reps: they do the research, know the product, give the demos, and write the proposals. If anyone has a question, they are the go-to. It’s because of their expertise that deals are closed.
They are presales
But who exactly works on the presales team, and why are they so valuable to the sales process? This article will explain who they are and what they do.
What is presales?
Presales, also called Sales Engineering, is a technical sales role most often associated with B2B sales and the software and IT industries in general. Presales evolved to serve these markets because they have complex offerings and also because their buying cycles can be complex, and sales reps can’t necessarily do it all. The presales team handles key selling activities so the sales reps, or account executives, can focus on selling.
Although the name “presales” implies that presales engineers handle the earliest stages of the sales process, that’s not necessarily true. Their responsibilities are spread throughout the sales process, and they provide key support to the sales team and the customers.
Presales is tasked with:
- Identifying and qualifying leads
- Making discovery calls
- Understanding the needs and requirements of the clients
- Project demos
- Writing proposals
- Renewing contracts
Leads aren’t passed over to sales until presales has determined which leads are ready to buy. They are also the product expert; when a customer has questions about how a product can solve a problem, it’s presales who obtains the answers.
What roles are involved in presales?
Because sales teams are structured differently, there are a wide range of presales job titles. Some organizations may incorporate these titles into sales operation teams while others may fold them into their larger sales team:
- Sales Engineer
- Solutions Engineer
- Sales Consultant
- Solutions Consultant
- Solution Architect
- Value Engineer
- Product Consultant
- Application Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Technical Salesperson
- Implementation Specialist
In the past, presales was a more passive role, but now presales builds relationships with clients just like a sales rep or account executive does; they are often the first to reach out to new clients, and they are often in touch with buyers throughout the sales process.
Why does your organization need presales?
Because presales serve as the bridge between R&D and the sales team, they are highly valued members of the sales organization. According to The Harvard Business Review, companies with a strong presales process are consistently successful, achieving win rates of 40–50% in new business as well as rates of 80–90% in renewal business.
The reason? A good presales team can smooth the bumps in the sales process by anticipating customer questions and needs, and providing expertise on those issues. Sales engineers are also important touchstones for customers; they have deep knowledge of the product, and are able to act as trusted advisors for buyers.
It’s no surprise that the field is growing. This year, Martech Zone reported that presales teams were growing by 300%, and companies have been battling it out to find and keep highly-qualified presales talent, According to The Presales Collective, there were more than 13,000 open presales roles in North America last year, and tenure in those roles was less than three years. The same year, there were 14,000 job changes among presales professionals.
How can you support presales?
Your presales team is important to your sales process, but if you want to keep your talent, it’s important to make sure you’re supporting them.
For example, presales engineers handle a lot of tasks for your team. Offering them smart tools that help keep them organized is a good way to ensure they are not wasting time searching for data in multiple databases or documents. By using a central library of information, like Ombud’s platform, you can make it simpler for them to gather sales content exactly when they need it and collaborate with SMEs and stakeholders throughout your company.