The Beginner's Guide to Presales

Harshika
Content
7
min read
May 23, 2024

Misunderstood customer needs, technical mismatches, and unprepared sales pitches can ruin promising deals. This is where presales step in, turning confusion into smooth execution. Let's understand everything about it.

What is Presales? 

Presales is the strategic phase before a sale is closed. It involves activities that qualify leads, understand customer needs, and prepare tailored solutions. 

For example, in the software industry, a presales engineer might demo a product to a potential client, showing exactly how it meets their unique requirements, such as improving workflow efficiency or reducing operational costs, then pass on collected insights like the client's specific pain points and preferred solution features to the sales team. This critical step ensures the sales team pursues high-quality leads and increases the chances of closing deals.

what is presales

Presales vs Sales 

Presales and Sales are distinct yet complementary. Presales focuses on preparing and qualifying leads, ensuring they are a good fit before handing them over to Sales. Sales, on the other hand, work on closing the deals. Here’s a clear breakdown:

Aspect Presales Sales
Focus Lead qualification and preparation Closing deals
Activities Demos, technical evaluations, needs analysis Negotiations, final presentations
Stage in Funnel Middle to late (qualification and proposal stage) Late (closing stage)
Skillset Technical knowledge, analytical skills Negotiation, relationship building

What Are The Presales Activities?

Various activities are pivotal in the presales process, ensuring a smooth transition from lead to customer. Each activity is designed to move the prospect closer to a buying decision.

presales activities

Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting involves identifying potential customers who might benefit from the product or service. The presales team uses tools and techniques to find and engage with these prospects, setting the stage for further qualification.

Related Read: 2024’s 13 Best Sales Prospecting Tools [Tried and Tested].

Sales Discovery

Sales discovery is the initial phase in which the presales team collects critical information about the prospect’s needs, challenges, and goals. They ask the right questions and listen carefully to understand the client’s pain points and requirements.

Also Read: 3 Best Discovery Call Scripts & How to Prepare One (with Discovery Call Questions)

Sales Qualification

Sales qualification is the process of determining whether a lead is worth pursuing. Presales evaluates the lead’s budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT) to ensure they are a good fit for the solution offered.

Further Read: How to Use MEDDIC to Qualify Leads in 2024?

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis involves researching and understanding the competitive landscape. The presales team compares the prospect’s current options and highlights the advantages of their solution, addressing any concerns about competitors.

Sales Solution Design

Solution design involves creating a customized solution that addresses the specific needs and challenges identified during the discovery phase. This often includes creating detailed plans, mock-ups, and specifications demonstrating how the solution will work for the prospect.

Must Read: Everything You Should Know about Solution Selling.

Technical Assessments

Technical assessments are in-depth evaluations of the prospect’s current systems and infrastructure. This helps to identify any potential integration issues and ensure that the proposed solution will work seamlessly within the prospect’s environment.

Related Read: The Technical Win Checklist for Sales Engineers.

Sales Proof of Concept (POC)

A Proof of Concept (POC) is a demonstration to show the prospect how the product or service works in their specific context. It’s a critical step to prove the viability and value of the solution, addressing any technical concerns the prospect might have.

Further Insights: POC vs. POV: Detailed Comparison.

ROI Analysis

Return on Investment (ROI) analysis involves calculating the potential financial benefits of the proposed solution. This helps the prospect understand the economic value and justify the investment to internal stakeholders.

Expand Your Knowledge

Sales Proposal

The sales proposal is a detailed document that outlines the solution tailored to the prospect’s needs. It includes pricing, timelines, and the scope of work, providing a clear and compelling case for why the prospect should choose your solution.

Don’t Miss: The 15 Different Sales Collaterals To Use Now (2024 Guide).

Sales Enablement and Training

Sales enablement and training involve equipping the sales team with the necessary knowledge and tools to present the solution effectively. This includes providing detailed product knowledge, demo scripts, and handling objections.

Expand Your Knowledge

Pre-Sales Roles and Responsibilities

Several critical roles in the presales team work together to ensure the seamless progression of potential leads to satisfied customers. Each role carries distinct responsibilities that contribute to the overall success of the sales process.

presales team structure

1) Sales Engineer

Technical experts who bridge the gap between the sales and technical teams. 

Responsibilities:

  • Conduct technical presentations and demonstrations.
  • Collaborate with the sales team to understand customer requirements.
  • Develop customized solutions and proposals.
  • Address technical questions and concerns from prospects.
  • Assist in preparing technical documentation.

Recommended Read: 5 Steps to Become a Sales Engineer in 2024 (Essential Tools).

2) Solution Engineer

Specialists who design tailored solutions based on customer needs.

Responsibilities:

  • Create technical blueprints and mock-ups.
  • Conduct technical assessments and feasibility studies.
  • Provide insights during the proposal stage.
  • Ensure seamless integration of the solution with existing systems.

Explore More: What Does a Solution Engineer Do? Hear From The Experts.

3) Demo Engineer

Experts who develop and deliver customized product demos. 

Responsibilities:

  • Customize demo environments to highlight specific features.
  • Gather feedback from demos to refine product offerings.
  • Support the sales team with technical expertise during the demo process.
  • Train sales team members on demo best practices.

Check Out: Who is a Demo Engineer?

4) Technical Consultant

In-depth technical advisors and consultants.

Responsibilities:

  • Conduct ROI analysis and cost-benefit evaluations.
  • Advise on technical requirements and system integrations.
  • Serve as a technical liaison between the customer and development teams.

5) Presales manager

Leaders who oversee the presales team and align with sales strategies.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement presales processes and best practices.
  • Monitor team performance and provide coaching.
  • Coordinate with other departments to ensure smooth operations.
  • Manage resource allocation and project timelines

Must-Have Presales Skills

Now you know the responsibilities of presales professionals, but what makes them capable of meeting these responsibilities? The answer is “Skills.” Let’s take a look at the most relevant skills for presales.

Skill Definition Importance
Technical Expertise A deep understanding of the products or services you're selling. Essential to explain complex features and benefits to potential customers.
Communication Skills The ability to convey information clearly and effectively. Translates technical jargon into simple terms that clients can understand.
Presentation Skills The ability to deliver engaging and informative presentations. Crucial to demonstrate product value and capabilities compellingly.
Problem-Solving Skills The ability to identify and resolve customer issues. Help understand customer pain points and provide tailored solutions.
Customer Needs Analysis Understanding what customers require and how to meet those needs. Ensures the solutions provided are relevant and practical.
Competitive Analysis Knowledge of the competitive landscape. Helps position your product or service as the best option.
ROI Analysis Calculating the return on investment for potential solutions. Provides clients with a clear understanding of the financial benefits of your solution.
Technical Assessments Evaluating the technical requirements and compatibility of solutions. Ensures that the proposed solutions can be implemented successfully within the client's environment.
Negotiation Skills The ability to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Essential for closing deals and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Organizational Skills Managing multiple tasks and information efficiently. Helps keep track of customer data, product information, and other critical details.

Pre-Sales Tools & Technology

The right presales tools and technology can turn the tide of a sales engagement. They streamline processes, enhance productivity, and ensure every prospect interaction is as impactful as possible. Each type of tool serves a distinct purpose in the presales workflow, aiding professionals in various critical tasks.

1) Demo Platforms

They enable presales teams to create and deliver interactive, tailored product demonstrations that resonate with prospects. These tools help showcase product capabilities effectively, collect feedback, and track user engagement. Top demo platforms include Storylane, Navattic, and Reprise.

Do Read: Our Selection of 2024's Top 11 Interactive Demo Software.

2) Proposal Software

They streamline sales document creation, management, and tracking, enabling presales teams to generate customized proposals quickly. This efficiency enhances professionalism and speeds up the sales cycle. Leading examples are Proposify, PandaDoc, and Qwilr.

3) Lead Qualification Tools

They identify and prioritize high-potential prospects by analyzing data points and scoring leads. This ensures presales teams focus on the most promising opportunities. Notable tools include HubSpot, Marketo, and Pipedrive.

4) Sales Enablement Platforms

They provide comprehensive tools to equip presales teams with content management, training, and analytics to improve performance. These platforms ensure teams are always prepared and knowledgeable. Key platforms include Highspot, Seismic, and Showpad.

You Should Check: 12 Best Sales Enablement Tools in 2024.

5) Call Intelligence Tools

They analyze sales interactions to predict outcomes and suggest actions. These tools help presales teams optimize their approach and enhance engagement. Prominent examples are Gong, and Clari.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Have a Presales Team?

A presales team steps in after initial lead generation, evaluating and nurturing leads before they reach the sales team. Their expertise lies in profoundly understanding customer needs, crafting personalized solutions, and ensuring that only the most promising leads are passed on.

This sharpens the sales team's focus on prospects more likely to convert. With a dedicated presales team, creating an impactful software buying experience could be more accessible, and many potential opportunities would slip through the cracks due to misalignment and lack of proper qualification. 

How do presales contribute to customer retention?

Presales ensure that customers receive solutions that meet their needs from the outset. By providing technical expertise during sales, presales professionals help set realistic expectations and deliver on promises. This technical validation and tailored approach lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, ongoing support and feedback mechanisms facilitated by presales teams ensure that customers continue to see value in the product, which is crucial for renewals and upselling opportunities.

How can presales professionals improve their demo presentations?

To improve demo presentations, presales professionals must understand their audience's needs, tailor the demo to address specific pain points, and use interactive elements to engage the audience. They should also focus on storytelling to make the product's value clear and relatable. Utilizing demo platforms that allow customization and real-time feedback can enhance the presentation. They should practice delivery and seek feedback from peers and customers to refine demos' effectiveness further.

How do presales support post-sales activities?

Presales professionals support post-sales activities by ensuring a smooth transition from sales to implementation. They provide technical documentation, assist in setting up the product, and may offer training to the client’s team. This support helps minimize implementation issues and ensures the client can fully utilize the product. Effective post-sales support by presales teams can lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased chances of customer referrals. 

How can presales professionals stay updated with industry trends?

Presales professionals can stay updated with industry trends by reading relevant blogs and participating in continuous learning opportunities such as webinars, conferences, and training programs. Engaging with professional communities, reading industry publications, and subscribing to relevant newsletters also help. Networking with peers and attending workshops hosted by industry leaders provide valuable insights into emerging technologies and best practices. Staying updated ensures that presales professionals can offer their prospects the most current and relevant solutions.

What are the key metrics to measure presales performance?

Key metrics to measure presales performance include the number of qualified leads generated, conversion rates from lead to opportunity, time taken to close deals, and customer satisfaction scores. Additionally, metrics such as the success rate of demos and proof-of-concept (POC) projects and the impact of presales activities on overall revenue are crucial. These metrics help assess the effectiveness of presales efforts and identify areas for improvement​.

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT
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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

Stay ahead of the sandbox curve with a superior demo environment
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