I believe like any Organization, a typical sales process will involve, Prospecting, Approach, Assessment, Customer Presentation, Sales Close and Follow-up. Before it moves to an account management stage where you work on revenue and retention. Typical sales professional champions the process of Product Knowledge, Prospecting, Customer Presentation and Sales Closer . While he is chasing his targets, he tends to get impatient and overlooks a particular lead too quickly. And we know, once the lead is ignored for a longer than normal it becomes cold and then dead. Which sends crucial marketing dollars down the drain.
What lead to this waste? Is the sales person to be blamed? Is marketing not generating good leads? It is none. You need a Pre-sales guy!
The overall sales process is like a relay. While marketing creates personas, targets audience, generates and nurtures lead the sales puts in the effort to convert those leads into a customer. In between there is CRM who calls the leads and qualifies them before sending it to sales. Now, who does, product knowledge, customer profiling, customizing proposals, deal assessment and sales nurturing. Data shows 81% of the sales happens after 5 or more contacts. 85% sales efforts are only up to the first couple of attempts. And the lead status changes to disqualified.
Here are the jobs that your Pre-sales will do:
- Design the Pre-sales, Sales, and Reward & Recognition structure in coordination with Marketing, CRM and Sales
- Has to take the ownership. Therefore, design the AOP (Annual Operating Plan) with targets
- Arrive at budgetary requirements – Software licenses, Analytical tools, Market research tools, etc.
- Design Go-to-market strategy for the pre-sales team
- Create Knowledge Management System and Repository to get insights and bring efficiency in decision-making
- Use in-house analytics, market research information, and past sales data to segment leads across Hot, Warm and Cold.
- Pre-sales team has access to Marketing Automation and CRM platforms to access available lead personas which help them create customized proposals
- The team ensures that all the interaction between them or sales teams are updated on CRM for future profiling and records.
- Design customized proposal for individual or group of individuals across products
- In case of customized proposal, discuss requirements in detail with the prospect along with sales lead
- Give demo to client and do requirement gathering
- Give feedback to Marketing and CRM teams on the quality of leads, customer interaction, customer requirements
Congratulations!! Now, you got convinced and get your pre-sales guy. I have experiences, where people have done exactly that. But still they failed. Why?
- A person on the bench or trainee was asked to lead the pre-sales team. Pre-sales needs an experienced person who understands business. A person who has done sales, marketing or CRM in his career makes a good pre-sales lead
- Pre-sales person is not assigned the right resources assuming it be an experiment.
- Pre-sales person needs full-time resources. May be, less experienced but professionally trained
- Pre-sales person will need cross-department support. It is not the sales responsibility only
- Lack of clarity in requirement is a common problem. The respective sales manager needs to set up the meeting with client and iron out all issues.
Like any new business function or department. The Pre-sales department needs to be given time and support. And I am sure it will flourish.
Alternatively, if you are not sure where to start, you may always hire a pre-sales consultant to do the job for you. The pre-sales consultant spends time setting up the team, process and reviewing it for few months before they hand over the responsibility to someone in the organization.
List of companies/departments where pre-sales is successful:
- IT and ITES
- Infrastructure and Real Estate
- Oil and Gas
- BFSI and Financial Services
- Heavy Engineering
- Capital Goods
- Consulting Services
- Enterprise Solutions