Focusing on Outcomes Over Effort in Solutions

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On Wednesday, Vivun VP of PreSales Brett Crane sat down with Oliver Oursin, Elastic’s EMEA Head of Solutions Architecture, for a conversation on delivering powerful outcomes as a data-driven PreSales leader. This blog post sums up some of Brett and Oliver’s thoughts on why an outcomes-based approach to PreSales management is so critical for success. 

You get a sense of which results matter most, and how to achieve them

Most PreSales leaders have the experience and intuition to understand generally what problems their team is facing, but having the data to back those claims up significantly raises the strategic profile of the team. 

However, the first place people tend to look is at how much time the PreSales team is spending on activities rather than what outcomes are being achieved. Gathering data on the latter is much more powerful because it lets you determine whether or not the team is doing the right things.

Ask questions like: 

Each of the answers to those questions reveals whether the thing being done (i.e. POCs, solution design, post-sales handoffs) has a significant and positive impact on your team’s success. 

Time is ultimately a secondary measure here. Understanding that the PreSales team spent X number of hours attached to deals or doing POCs is helpful for gauging the level of effort required to perform certain work, but doesn’t necessarily indicate whether it’s making a difference. 

If you want to secure the technical win in a deal, mapping out a sample of the various outcomes and activities required to get there might look something like this:

Outcomes and deliverables describe results, and how impactful they might be. Activities show how much effort is required to get there. 

You’re able to think outside the box of your existing problems

“The most damaging phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way!'”

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

It’s something that happens all the time when trying to sell to prospects. Many potential customers simply do nothing about the pain that they’re facing or resort to workarounds, convinced that there isn’t any better option. 

Brett and Oliver both stressed that you shouldn’t take what you do today and try to make it better by simply putting it into a new system or platform. If a new technology solution is being implemented, you can use the rollout as an opportunity to introduce and scale process changes  based on the ideal end state. 

It’s easier to secure buy-in and resources when you focus on outcomes

Everyone knows that a solid business case helps secure the budget needed to get deals done. Describing what your team needs in purely technological terms isn’t a good way to convince people that what you want is valuable. 

As Oliver explained, it was absolutely critical that conversations with Elastic’s leadership (in Product and Customer Success) about the value of a PreSales platform centered around the outcomes for each of them: 

  • Sales wished to identify how the go-to-market team could sell more successfully across various regions, segments, and business areas. 
  • Product was keen to better understand the commercial impact of requested product enhancements and how to prioritize them.  
  • Customer Success wanted a more comprehensive look at what the Solutions Architecture team worked on with customers during evaluations, so as to successfully build upon those efforts.

Showing the kinds of answers that they could get resulted in broader agreement that a PreSales platform was a great thing for the company to have. Focusing on the outcomes other departments can expect from your team helps build consensus across the organization. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how Elastic’s PreSales team uses Hero by Vivun® to create transformational outcomes across multiple departments, read the full story here

Aaron Sun Avatar photo March 28, 2022