PreSales is a pretty hot buzzword in the B2B tech industry right now. Unfortunately, not enough people actually understand what it is, what it does, and why it’s the key to creating a customer experience that keeps your customers coming back over and over again.
Because of the increasing complexity of SaaS products and the larger demand for demos and free trials before a sale is made, PreSales is becoming more vital to a successful sales process.
Read on to find out how PreSales is your true secret weapon in creating a great customer experience.
What is PreSales?
You’ve potentially heard of sales engineers, solutions consultants, solutions architects, or even value consultants before. All of these roles fall into what is known as PreSales. PreSales is the term for experts who partner with your sales professionals to drive deals forward, typically showcasing the value and power of your product or platform.
PreSales professionals are typically hybrids of salespeople and engineers. Many PreSales professionals are taught to execute on the “technical win” of a sale, versus the business win that sales reps earn their paychecks for. Most times, the PreSales team leads prospects or customers through a process to find a way to resolve their problems or improve their efficiency with your product or platform.
Having a strong PreSales team frees up your sellers to focus on stakeholders, deal progression and closing business. PreSales serve as a customer-centric problem solver–whether you need to customize a demo for a potential buyer to demonstrate value, turn customer stories into actionable custom solutions, or create use cases based on deep technical knowledge of your product.
Don’t believe me? Just ask the experts at McKinsey.
Why is the customer journey and experience important?
Everybody’s talking about the customer journey right now, it seems. But it’s more than just a buzzword; it’s critical to gaining and keeping your customers around these days. That’s because there are so many options out there for customers right now, especially in the SaaS world. Keeping your customers happy, engaged, using your product, and buying more is vital to your continued success.
Since the old “sell it and forget it” model doesn’t work for SaaS, company sales motions need to include the entire customer lifecycle for success: A holistic journey that includes landing and expanding, and upselling/upgrading along the way. That said, coming up with a detailed, thoughtful customer journey is a critical part of this process.
With many large organizations rolling out products and features to consolidate tech stacks, customer experience is your key differentiator from the rest of the competition. Providing a customer experience that makes everything easy and effective for your users keeps them around longer, instead of jumping ship to the newest tech on the block when their contract is up.
How the PreSales role is the key to the customer experience
Having a satisfying, seamless customer journey from the very beginning of the relationship onwards comes from a unified approach across all the critical departments in your company. PreSales provides unity to streamline the customer experience.
The PreSales role is the Swiss Army knife in your customer experience toolbox. It unifies departments like sales, product, engineering, success and more. PreSales has a wealth of knowledge across disciplines that bring all the pieces together to make your sales organization more successful.
Great PreSales pros can tell stories that engage your prospects, sell the true value of your products, disarm buyers and help manage resources so everyone is working on what they do best. PreSales takes on the technical details of your product, customizes them to certain customer profiles, and ensures your sales team is selling the right things to the right people.
PreSales also offers insight into the customer experience since they have firsthand knowledge of what customer pain points are and how they actually use your technology.
The future of selling is actually buying
It’s a buyer’s world these days. Your buyers are more important to your success than ever, and they’ve got lots of information on their side. They know how you sell, ways to get discounts from you, and how to partner with analysts to get information. This can be a hard truth for many companies: You just aren’t that important anymore. It’s not about you unless you’re Apple (and there’s only one Apple).
Buyers have changed, but many sales processes, for the most part, haven’t. The sales process still revolves around the priorities of the seller, not the buyer. And the few companies that have made the switch to being buyer-led are thriving, because customers just don’t want to jump through the hoops of your process anymore.
The future of the PreSales role
That buyer-led change is where the PreSales role becomes absolutely vital to your success. As sales change, organizations need to change, too. Our sellers are under more pressure than ever, so turnover is high and tenure is short even among the best sales pros. And if sales reps aren’t moving around, organizations are doing it for them. So how do you maintain that continuity and depth of knowledge with all that movement and change happening? That’s where the PreSales team comes in. They’re the point of established trust and continuity for your customers. They’re also a liaison point between internal departments.
PreSales helps disarm your buyers, who are skeptical and looking for reasons not to commit. (With all the other options out there, who can blame them?) Building trust and breaking down objections is what PreSales does best. That lets your sellers come in and close the deal more effectively.
The PreSales role is important today, but it’s only going to increase in significance. With the rising expectations of buyers, a highly competitive market, and increasingly complex products, your customer experience will suffer without a strong PreSales team in place. Want to learn more about everything PreSales? Check out the resources at the PreSales Collective, a worldwide network of PreSales professionals with the knowledge needed to succeed and thrive.
James Kaikis is the co-founder of the PreSales Collective, the largest global community for PreSales professionals. Kaikis has spent his technology career in a variety of company sizes including startups, scale-ups and enterprise, including Salesforce.com. His experience is in both presale and postsale roles, relentlessly focused on customer centricity through the customer journey. Connect with James on LinkedIn!