The Rapid Rise of Digital PreSales: The 5 Factors Causing the Change

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Nov 28, 2022

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There's been an eruption in the PreSales industry. 

I say “eruption,” because this is the culmination of multiple forces putting pressure on the industry all at once — causing a disruption in the market. And just like an actual eruption, this rapid change to PreSales is going to cause disruption as the previous ways of doing things no longer work.    

While some may be resistant to change, embracing these changes rather than fighting against them will have an amazing impact on your personal career, with the added benefit to your organization of increased productivity and revenue.

1. B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Expectations Are Changing B2B (Business-to-Business)

B2C buying expectations were changed by online retailers like Amazon, Tesla, and Apple: one-click purchases, fast delivery, thousands of reviews on every product. The ease of buying led many other organizations to either adapt or lose business.  

B2C buying expectations have bled over into the B2B world. Stakeholders want to buy on their own faster with less hassle, based on independent research. They’re demanding on-demand digital interactions they can consume while navigating different channels simultaneously. And they expect a seamless experience throughout. 

Research from Gartner uncovered the top three types of content buyers want:

  1. Product demonstrations
  2. Case studies
  3. Value assessment tools

But even though demos top the list, most buyers have to wait up to a week to see one from a potential vendor — and more than 20% have to wait two weeks or more. Imagine if you wanted to buy something from Amazon and it took a week to see photos or a detailed description of the product? That would be beyond frustrating. 

Incorporating B2C buying expectations into your B2B experience will go a long way in creating the experience your customers are looking for. There are six types of demos you can deliver with one click for prospects to view on demand. This doesn’t bring every convenience to the B2B experience, but it’s a step in the right direction. 

2. Millennials Become Management-Level Buyers

Today, about 35% of the total workforce is made up of millennials, with research suggesting that number will increase to 75% by 2025. Over a quarter (28%) of the current millennial workforce is made up of managers, with 48% of those managers being director level or higher. This means that millennials' preferences are starting to drive buying behavior and decisions. 

As you read the general millennial preferences below, ask yourself how they might influence your B2B selling motion.

  • Millennial buyers prefer no sales rep interaction.
  • Millennials value experiences over objects, meaning they’re expecting a great buying experience from the vendors they work with.
  • Millennial managers favor remote work.
  • Millennials believe successful businesses allow for flexibility.
  • Millennials want to partner with vendors that have a similar working style as they do.
  • Millennials switch jobs more often (an estimated 43% will switch jobs within the next two years).

Remember, millennials aren’t even the youngest demographic in the workforce anymore. Research shows that following generations will require even more flexibility — so now is the time for digital PreSales to adapt.

3. Ballooning Buying Groups

Another massive pressure causing the eruption of digital PreSales is the size of the B2B buying group, sometimes called the buying committee. 

In 2013, the average buying group was made up of 5.4 members, which increased to 6.8 in 2018, and has more than doubled to 13 or 14 stakeholders in 2022, according to Gartner. 

Why does this matter? The size of the buying group directly affects the likelihood of closing a deal. In fact, research by Gartner shows that just one additional person drives the likelihood to purchase down more than thirty percentage points.

Think about the last time you tried to decide where to eat with a big group. Did you find a place everyone actually liked, or did you simply opt for a place that no one actively disliked? (This is analogous to the deal being lost to the “no purchase” status quo, due to a focus on not making waves rather than leading change.)

The same happens in deals. The larger the buying group, the less likely they are to make any decision, let alone one that meets everyone’s needs. 

4. Pressures from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major force that impacted most industries, including PreSales. Typically a traveling-heavy profession, Sales Engineers (SEs) had to quickly figure out how to fulfill their PreSales work without going on site.

Even when businesses reopened their offices, not everyone rushed back to work in person. Post-pandemic, 70 to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service, according to McKinsey and Company. Again, it’s the customer that’s driving the push towards digital interactions, so it seems unlikely we’ll ever go back to the old ways of doing things. 

5. Increased Demand for PreSales

Lastly, there’s been an increase in demand for Presale across the whole buying experience. Sales Engineers are now being pulled into buying engagements early, during, and even after a purchase. The Consensus 2022 Sales Engineering Workload Report showed that less than 2% of SEs support sales exclusively, and less than 60% of their time is spent on sales activities. With so many stakeholders getting involved, SEs struggle to keep up as their resources get pulled in different directions.

Buyers put a large amount of trust into interactions with Sales Engineers because SEs are knowledgeable, are consultative, and tell it like it is. One of our customers described the Solution Consulting profession this way: “PreSales is the last defense of the truth.” That access to “real stuff” is what buyers want throughout the entire process, and they want it as soon as they can get it without having to wait endlessly to be forced into an outdated selling motion.

PreSales teams are stretched very thin to accommodate the increase in demand. If you can’t provide this level of engagement as soon as buyers want it, they won’t necessarily drop you, but they will have time to scope out your competitors who do. 

Conclusion 

The digital PreSales eruption has happened and is continuing. This shift is here to stay. 

You can take advantage of and adapt to this disruption if you understand why these changes happened in the first place. In fact, there are PreSales organizations already using digital PreSales eruption as an opportunity and cutting buying cycles by more than half. Not only are they meeting the needs of buyers more effectively, but support from PreSales technology — such as demo automation — is helping them exponentially scale PreSales in a way they can meet that increased demand without increasing headcount.

Our next blog covers exactly how you can take advantage of this next stage of PreSales' evolution so you don’t get left behind.  

 

Powered By:

About Consensus

Consensus is intelligent demo automation software that helps you scale PreSales. Using Consensus, your sales engineering team builds a library of reusable interactive video demos that Sales sends out on-demand. Consensus automatically personalizes the experience and tracks engagement, bringing prospects to live demos better educated and ready to talk specifics. This not only reduces unqualified demos to near zero and can double your SE team’s productivity, it also removes the "demo lag time" for prospects and shortens the sales cycle by as much as 68%.

Author: Garin Hess

Founder and CEO at Consensus

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Collective with global community with 20,000+ professionals
Read this content here ↗

There's been an eruption in the PreSales industry. 

I say “eruption,” because this is the culmination of multiple forces putting pressure on the industry all at once — causing a disruption in the market. And just like an actual eruption, this rapid change to PreSales is going to cause disruption as the previous ways of doing things no longer work.    

While some may be resistant to change, embracing these changes rather than fighting against them will have an amazing impact on your personal career, with the added benefit to your organization of increased productivity and revenue.

1. B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Expectations Are Changing B2B (Business-to-Business)

B2C buying expectations were changed by online retailers like Amazon, Tesla, and Apple: one-click purchases, fast delivery, thousands of reviews on every product. The ease of buying led many other organizations to either adapt or lose business.  

B2C buying expectations have bled over into the B2B world. Stakeholders want to buy on their own faster with less hassle, based on independent research. They’re demanding on-demand digital interactions they can consume while navigating different channels simultaneously. And they expect a seamless experience throughout. 

Research from Gartner uncovered the top three types of content buyers want:

  1. Product demonstrations
  2. Case studies
  3. Value assessment tools

But even though demos top the list, most buyers have to wait up to a week to see one from a potential vendor — and more than 20% have to wait two weeks or more. Imagine if you wanted to buy something from Amazon and it took a week to see photos or a detailed description of the product? That would be beyond frustrating. 

Incorporating B2C buying expectations into your B2B experience will go a long way in creating the experience your customers are looking for. There are six types of demos you can deliver with one click for prospects to view on demand. This doesn’t bring every convenience to the B2B experience, but it’s a step in the right direction. 

2. Millennials Become Management-Level Buyers

Today, about 35% of the total workforce is made up of millennials, with research suggesting that number will increase to 75% by 2025. Over a quarter (28%) of the current millennial workforce is made up of managers, with 48% of those managers being director level or higher. This means that millennials' preferences are starting to drive buying behavior and decisions. 

As you read the general millennial preferences below, ask yourself how they might influence your B2B selling motion.

  • Millennial buyers prefer no sales rep interaction.
  • Millennials value experiences over objects, meaning they’re expecting a great buying experience from the vendors they work with.
  • Millennial managers favor remote work.
  • Millennials believe successful businesses allow for flexibility.
  • Millennials want to partner with vendors that have a similar working style as they do.
  • Millennials switch jobs more often (an estimated 43% will switch jobs within the next two years).

Remember, millennials aren’t even the youngest demographic in the workforce anymore. Research shows that following generations will require even more flexibility — so now is the time for digital PreSales to adapt.

3. Ballooning Buying Groups

Another massive pressure causing the eruption of digital PreSales is the size of the B2B buying group, sometimes called the buying committee. 

In 2013, the average buying group was made up of 5.4 members, which increased to 6.8 in 2018, and has more than doubled to 13 or 14 stakeholders in 2022, according to Gartner. 

Why does this matter? The size of the buying group directly affects the likelihood of closing a deal. In fact, research by Gartner shows that just one additional person drives the likelihood to purchase down more than thirty percentage points.

Think about the last time you tried to decide where to eat with a big group. Did you find a place everyone actually liked, or did you simply opt for a place that no one actively disliked? (This is analogous to the deal being lost to the “no purchase” status quo, due to a focus on not making waves rather than leading change.)

The same happens in deals. The larger the buying group, the less likely they are to make any decision, let alone one that meets everyone’s needs. 

4. Pressures from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major force that impacted most industries, including PreSales. Typically a traveling-heavy profession, Sales Engineers (SEs) had to quickly figure out how to fulfill their PreSales work without going on site.

Even when businesses reopened their offices, not everyone rushed back to work in person. Post-pandemic, 70 to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service, according to McKinsey and Company. Again, it’s the customer that’s driving the push towards digital interactions, so it seems unlikely we’ll ever go back to the old ways of doing things. 

5. Increased Demand for PreSales

Lastly, there’s been an increase in demand for Presale across the whole buying experience. Sales Engineers are now being pulled into buying engagements early, during, and even after a purchase. The Consensus 2022 Sales Engineering Workload Report showed that less than 2% of SEs support sales exclusively, and less than 60% of their time is spent on sales activities. With so many stakeholders getting involved, SEs struggle to keep up as their resources get pulled in different directions.

Buyers put a large amount of trust into interactions with Sales Engineers because SEs are knowledgeable, are consultative, and tell it like it is. One of our customers described the Solution Consulting profession this way: “PreSales is the last defense of the truth.” That access to “real stuff” is what buyers want throughout the entire process, and they want it as soon as they can get it without having to wait endlessly to be forced into an outdated selling motion.

PreSales teams are stretched very thin to accommodate the increase in demand. If you can’t provide this level of engagement as soon as buyers want it, they won’t necessarily drop you, but they will have time to scope out your competitors who do. 

Conclusion 

The digital PreSales eruption has happened and is continuing. This shift is here to stay. 

You can take advantage of and adapt to this disruption if you understand why these changes happened in the first place. In fact, there are PreSales organizations already using digital PreSales eruption as an opportunity and cutting buying cycles by more than half. Not only are they meeting the needs of buyers more effectively, but support from PreSales technology — such as demo automation — is helping them exponentially scale PreSales in a way they can meet that increased demand without increasing headcount.

Our next blog covers exactly how you can take advantage of this next stage of PreSales' evolution so you don’t get left behind.  

 

Powered By:

About Consensus

Consensus is intelligent demo automation software that helps you scale PreSales. Using Consensus, your sales engineering team builds a library of reusable interactive video demos that Sales sends out on-demand. Consensus automatically personalizes the experience and tracks engagement, bringing prospects to live demos better educated and ready to talk specifics. This not only reduces unqualified demos to near zero and can double your SE team’s productivity, it also removes the "demo lag time" for prospects and shortens the sales cycle by as much as 68%.

Author: Garin Hess

Founder and CEO at Consensus

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Leadership Collective! An exclusive community dedicated to PreSales leaders.
Read this content here ↗

There's been an eruption in the PreSales industry. 

I say “eruption,” because this is the culmination of multiple forces putting pressure on the industry all at once — causing a disruption in the market. And just like an actual eruption, this rapid change to PreSales is going to cause disruption as the previous ways of doing things no longer work.    

While some may be resistant to change, embracing these changes rather than fighting against them will have an amazing impact on your personal career, with the added benefit to your organization of increased productivity and revenue.

1. B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Expectations Are Changing B2B (Business-to-Business)

B2C buying expectations were changed by online retailers like Amazon, Tesla, and Apple: one-click purchases, fast delivery, thousands of reviews on every product. The ease of buying led many other organizations to either adapt or lose business.  

B2C buying expectations have bled over into the B2B world. Stakeholders want to buy on their own faster with less hassle, based on independent research. They’re demanding on-demand digital interactions they can consume while navigating different channels simultaneously. And they expect a seamless experience throughout. 

Research from Gartner uncovered the top three types of content buyers want:

  1. Product demonstrations
  2. Case studies
  3. Value assessment tools

But even though demos top the list, most buyers have to wait up to a week to see one from a potential vendor — and more than 20% have to wait two weeks or more. Imagine if you wanted to buy something from Amazon and it took a week to see photos or a detailed description of the product? That would be beyond frustrating. 

Incorporating B2C buying expectations into your B2B experience will go a long way in creating the experience your customers are looking for. There are six types of demos you can deliver with one click for prospects to view on demand. This doesn’t bring every convenience to the B2B experience, but it’s a step in the right direction. 

2. Millennials Become Management-Level Buyers

Today, about 35% of the total workforce is made up of millennials, with research suggesting that number will increase to 75% by 2025. Over a quarter (28%) of the current millennial workforce is made up of managers, with 48% of those managers being director level or higher. This means that millennials' preferences are starting to drive buying behavior and decisions. 

As you read the general millennial preferences below, ask yourself how they might influence your B2B selling motion.

  • Millennial buyers prefer no sales rep interaction.
  • Millennials value experiences over objects, meaning they’re expecting a great buying experience from the vendors they work with.
  • Millennial managers favor remote work.
  • Millennials believe successful businesses allow for flexibility.
  • Millennials want to partner with vendors that have a similar working style as they do.
  • Millennials switch jobs more often (an estimated 43% will switch jobs within the next two years).

Remember, millennials aren’t even the youngest demographic in the workforce anymore. Research shows that following generations will require even more flexibility — so now is the time for digital PreSales to adapt.

3. Ballooning Buying Groups

Another massive pressure causing the eruption of digital PreSales is the size of the B2B buying group, sometimes called the buying committee. 

In 2013, the average buying group was made up of 5.4 members, which increased to 6.8 in 2018, and has more than doubled to 13 or 14 stakeholders in 2022, according to Gartner. 

Why does this matter? The size of the buying group directly affects the likelihood of closing a deal. In fact, research by Gartner shows that just one additional person drives the likelihood to purchase down more than thirty percentage points.

Think about the last time you tried to decide where to eat with a big group. Did you find a place everyone actually liked, or did you simply opt for a place that no one actively disliked? (This is analogous to the deal being lost to the “no purchase” status quo, due to a focus on not making waves rather than leading change.)

The same happens in deals. The larger the buying group, the less likely they are to make any decision, let alone one that meets everyone’s needs. 

4. Pressures from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major force that impacted most industries, including PreSales. Typically a traveling-heavy profession, Sales Engineers (SEs) had to quickly figure out how to fulfill their PreSales work without going on site.

Even when businesses reopened their offices, not everyone rushed back to work in person. Post-pandemic, 70 to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service, according to McKinsey and Company. Again, it’s the customer that’s driving the push towards digital interactions, so it seems unlikely we’ll ever go back to the old ways of doing things. 

5. Increased Demand for PreSales

Lastly, there’s been an increase in demand for Presale across the whole buying experience. Sales Engineers are now being pulled into buying engagements early, during, and even after a purchase. The Consensus 2022 Sales Engineering Workload Report showed that less than 2% of SEs support sales exclusively, and less than 60% of their time is spent on sales activities. With so many stakeholders getting involved, SEs struggle to keep up as their resources get pulled in different directions.

Buyers put a large amount of trust into interactions with Sales Engineers because SEs are knowledgeable, are consultative, and tell it like it is. One of our customers described the Solution Consulting profession this way: “PreSales is the last defense of the truth.” That access to “real stuff” is what buyers want throughout the entire process, and they want it as soon as they can get it without having to wait endlessly to be forced into an outdated selling motion.

PreSales teams are stretched very thin to accommodate the increase in demand. If you can’t provide this level of engagement as soon as buyers want it, they won’t necessarily drop you, but they will have time to scope out your competitors who do. 

Conclusion 

The digital PreSales eruption has happened and is continuing. This shift is here to stay. 

You can take advantage of and adapt to this disruption if you understand why these changes happened in the first place. In fact, there are PreSales organizations already using digital PreSales eruption as an opportunity and cutting buying cycles by more than half. Not only are they meeting the needs of buyers more effectively, but support from PreSales technology — such as demo automation — is helping them exponentially scale PreSales in a way they can meet that increased demand without increasing headcount.

Our next blog covers exactly how you can take advantage of this next stage of PreSales' evolution so you don’t get left behind.  

 

Powered By:

About Consensus

Consensus is intelligent demo automation software that helps you scale PreSales. Using Consensus, your sales engineering team builds a library of reusable interactive video demos that Sales sends out on-demand. Consensus automatically personalizes the experience and tracks engagement, bringing prospects to live demos better educated and ready to talk specifics. This not only reduces unqualified demos to near zero and can double your SE team’s productivity, it also removes the "demo lag time" for prospects and shortens the sales cycle by as much as 68%.

Author: Garin Hess

Founder and CEO at Consensus

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