Democratizing Trust in PreSales Leadership

We hear all the time about how PreSales is the “trusted advisor” in the buying process. But that trust doesn’t just happen on its own - it needs to be carefully built over time. We had a very informative session at the recent PreSales Leadership Collective Executive Summit on this topic, brought to us by:


Achint Sehgal, Director of Solutions Engineering at OneTrust


Buyers want to be able to trust the organization they’re working with. The vast majority of organizations lose or gain trust based on their experiences, and personal experiences are at the top of the pile. The most credible and trusted spokespeople for organizations are topical and technical industry experts - that’s PreSales!


Trust unlocks deeper relationships with potential buyers. And those relationships have a significant impact on the bottom line of the organization. Research has found that higher levels of trust make buyers:


  • 7x more willing to pay a premium
  • 7x more likely to share their data
  • 6x more loyal
  • 5x more advocacy
  • 4x more consideration in the process
  • 14% more purchasing at the end of the process


PreSales needs to have a strategy to become the embodiment of trust itself for our customers. And here are the most effective ways to do so.


Coaching the Customer-Facing Side


What enables an SE who is interacting with a prospect to become a trusted advisor? There are five key elements at play, and helping your team to hone each of these skills will make them most effective and trusted partners in the sales process.


Making demos a bi-directional conversation. Demos where only one side is doing the talking isn’t effective or enjoyable for anyone. To make the conversation flow both ways:


  • Confirm the agenda and check in that you’re addressing what’s top of mind for the customer.
  • Do organic discovery. Find places to pause in the demo and ask very specific questions: “What tools do you use to manage workflow?” Seasoned SEs and leadership understand this, but making it a tangible practice helps new SEs build this in.
  • Train SEs to connect with the audience quickly, because you might only have one shot with the customer - engage with each participant and address them by name.
  • Ask effective closing questions. “Did we miss anything? “What specific use case would make a trial effective?” And so on.


Replying to questions effectively. This means pausing so the prospect can finish their question, restating the question, and providing a clear and direct response. Give context in your response, don’t stop with yes or no or the conversation will die. Get rid of filler words in questions - SEs come off as more confident and get more excited about demo delivery when that happens.


Handling objections. Begin with curiosity - why does the customer care about this question? Are they impressing a boss, or new to the organization, or what else is behind their question? Then reframe the question so the prospect knows the SE understands what they’re saying and is listening actively. Finally, act with empathy. Validate their question and avoid dismissing it - the question might seem insignificant to you, but it matters to them.


Integrity. SEs can build credibility by sharing customer stories and live examples so prospects know that they understand their business and industry. Leaders can enable individual SEs by building a repository of customer examples. Follow through is the second component - sending follow up notes and collateral when they’re promised. Ensure SEs have access to your knowledge base so they can do this easily. Enable SEs so integrity becomes a natural thing and they become trusted advisors.


Dependability. This area helps SEs land as reliable, professional experts, and it includes time management skills, research, and asking effective questions. Onboarding helps new SEs get up to speed here, as does creating a great demo environment and effective demo scripts. Having a northstar demo shows new SEs what a great demo looks like, as well as a demo prep and shadowing loop, makes everyone successful from the start.


These are all high-level ideas - executing in practice is a whole new ball game. But even marginal gains add up very quickly. Where can you as a leader add small improvements that add up significantly?



Want access to the Executive Summit Event Deck? Click Here!

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The Leadership collective is a group designed for PreSales leaders in a management capacity (Manager+ title) who are looking to network, grow professionally, and actively participate.

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Sorry, this content is available for Leadership Collective Members only!

The Leadership collective is a group designed for PreSales leaders in a management capacity (Manager+ title) who are looking to network, grow professionally, and actively participate.

Join Leadership CollectiveAlready a member? Login →