3 Things Every PreSales Leader Can Do to Make Sales More Effective

Aaron Sun Avatar photo

Thriving in the current market conditions requires a solid plan for the PreSales organization to start the year. As we near the end of the calendar year and get ready for the next one, here are three ways PreSales leaders can accelerate revenue and help their Sales teams become more effective.

Measure and analyze PreSales efforts

Many PreSales leaders eventually reach a point where scaling PreSales contributions and finding new efficiencies isn’t possible without the right data. 

For one of Vivun’s users, the solution lay in using Hero to manage the allocation of PreSales resources via Team Member Requests (TMRs) and then comparing that with other information, such as the average number of hours per deal type, or demo requests sorted by product line.

Solutions team demo requests, sorted by product line

Making comparisons this way allowed them to come up with an effort score that informed how PreSales should scale along with the growth of the sales team, or where resources could be re-allocated to better support the needs of the business. Clear visibility into PreSales contributions ensures proper alignment with Sales, and highlights potential efficiencies. 

Align the field with R&D

Connecting product feedback to revenue opportunities is hugely impactful for R&D teams looking to maximize their investments, but PreSales and Sales can also use product insights to drive improvements to the sales process. 

Chris Streit, VP of Solutions Consulting at Domo, employs multiple views showing where product gaps, sorted by Domo’s product areas, influence different portions of their deal lifecycle.

“If one particular product area has a large number of opportunities stuck in the proof-of-concept stage, that’s a sign of adoption friction and needing to prove out what we’ve promised to our customers”, he says.

 “Another example,” he mentioned, “might be if you have product gaps emerging during the later stages of a deal, which is a signal that the product might demo very well, but we need to do a better job of communicating its value to our buyers.” 

Build a strong partnership with Sales

Unfortunately, PreSales is sometimes only seen as the team responsible for doing the demo or answering technology-related questions, but the key to finding solutions for buyers is typically in knowing why they’re looking for a solution, not just how the product works. 

For Kim Heath and her team at Elastic, this transformation from technical expert to business advisor was essential. “As a PreSales organization, we needed to learn how to sell differently,” she explained. “Elastic’s Solutions Architects were predominantly called on for technology-first problems, but we’re now asked to be trusted advisors to the business.”

Elastic began assigning its Solutions Architects (SAs) to co-own territories with Sales, rather than mapping them directly to individual sales reps—this change enabled Elastic’s SAs to be seen as partners who were equally invested in understanding customer needs. 

PreSales team members who are involved in articulating business value help accelerate revenue not just by connecting with buyers on a deeper level—they also free up Sales to spend more time opening conversations with new customers. 

Of course, partnering with Sales isn’t just about successful collaboration on individual deals. If you ask Shawn Rolin, Head of Global Technology and Solution Engineering at Zoom, aligning PreSales incentives with those of the Sales team can have a powerful effect on the motivation, trust, and collaboration of both groups. 

Beyond syncing with one’s counterpart in Sales leadership on things like priority accounts and the go-to-market model within your organization, Shawn also encourages PreSales leaders to structure rewards and recognition such that they mirror those of the Sales team. 

SEs with variable compensation who are recognized and rewarded in ways usually only reserved for top performing reps (President’s Clubs, spiffs, etc.) have shared goals that makes it even more natural for them to work with their partners in Sales. 

“By having that [shared goal],” Shawn reasons, “Sales knows that PreSales is also motivated and incentivized to do what’s in their best interests, which means they trust PreSales more as a business partner. You also ensure that PreSales is properly positioned within the [revenue] org, and the company.”

Aaron Sun Avatar photo December 21, 2022