“How to align your PreSales team with Product”

Aaron Sun Avatar photo

Product and PreSales are two sides of the same coin. If you work in either department for long enough, chances are that you will meet someone who has made the transition from one side to the other. This is because they think alike as technologists who are laser focussed on delivering solutions that meet user needs, and ultimately generate business outcomes. When PreSales and Product work together they naturally help accomplish their own team’s goals.

We’ve all been in demos and meetings with customers that garner insights that can change the technology the company is putting forth and transform their respective industries. But to get the insights funneled back to Product, PreSales and Product teams need to have an open line of communication that enables them to work together and work fast. 

Aligning these two teams is critical because when PreSales has products that meet buyer’s needs, it allows them to demonstrate more value and influence bigger and better deals, increasing revenue for their company. When companies are prepared to address the product gaps surfaced by PreSales, they beat competition and win the market. And lastly, by elevating the PreSales department within a company, the team will become more cross-functional and impactful, changing the very software they sell.

So how do you align PreSales and Product teams? 

At Vivun, this is the 5-step-plan we have created that guarantees quality communication between PreSales and Product, and ultimately, it changes the way products are built based on the feedback PreSales is receiving first hand in demos and meetings. 

To make the most out of Hero by Vivun™ (Hero), striving to achieve all 5-steps will bring PreSales and Product closer together to create game-changing products that deliver value for buyers and drive revenue for companies.

1. Use hard data 

Companies are infamous for using anecdotal stories and gut feelings to back up their demands and claims. 

Executives will often only listen to the loudest customer or salesperson in the room, making decisions based on opinions rather than data, which leads to poor product strategy and the wrong features being built and invested in. 

In a webinar I held with Seismic SVP Brian Cotter and PSC co-founder Yuji Higashi, we discussed the importance of having companies move from using anecdotal stories and opinions to actionable data. We found when the data becomes the truth, and that truth has a point of view and a story to tell, it can influence the roadmap for Product to create amazing solutions. 

To help with prioritization and justification for product investment, Hero provides business metrics for Product Gaps. At your fingertips, you have the frequency, value, and status of the feature requests coming from prospects and customers.

The product gap data is tracked and visualized over time, so the entire team can see what the business needs to close in-process opportunities and drive more revenue.

Nothing can be substituted for hard data.

2. Leverage the right tools and technology

When PreSales is relegated to using clunky spreadsheets and random custom fields in Salesforce, it is extremely difficult for communication to occur within their own team and beyond. 

Hero empowers PreSales to communicate with Product teams and executives using data to uncover clear and actionable insights. You can manage deals on your own terms and know what opportunities need your attention, quickly identifying product gaps that once closed potentially guarantee your product to be a success in the market. 

When you have complete visibility into the product gaps that affect opportunities, PreSales can provide the data Product needs to prioritize the features that drive revenue and make the best product possible. 

With Hero, Product gets the visibility they need aggregated from the field to either validate or challenge Product’s roadmap direction.

3. Power a PreSales-buyer feedback loop

Ultimately, the data collected and inputted into Hero creates a seamless PreSales-buyer feedback loop funneling insights from the field back to Product teams in real-time. 

This helps inform Product teams to prioritize the solutions that meet market, customer, and prospect needs before your competition gets to them first. 

The PreSales-buyer feedback loop is also essential to determining the direction of the product roadmap. PreSales is ideally placed to collect genuine buyer feedback that is unattainable through traditional and biased forms of market research like surveys. An open line of communication augmented by data science and automation allows Product to rapidly iterate based on quality feedback. 

 The PreSales-buyer feedback loop ultimately builds confidence and trust in Product and PreSales’s relationship that allows each team to take their company to the next level. 

4. Build relationships within the Product team

While Data is a strong currency, it’s only the start.

 To achieve further cross-functional alignment, team members should build relationships internally with various stakeholders and hold cross-departmental meetings that make sure everyone is on the same page about process, opportunity gaps, resources, and more. 

Data storytelling is particularly powerful in these meetings to get large buckets of revenue that are associated with specific product themes onto the roadmap. 

If you want to make an impact, your insights must be discussed at every level–in executive reviews, product steering meetings, and informal conversations. When you open a line of communication with your Product allies on a regular cadence, you build the rapport you need to influence leadership. Together, PreSales and Product can build more strategic recommendations framed by data storytelling to align with the visions of your top-level decision makers.

At Seismic, the SVP of Global Sales Engineering Brian Cotter credits his close relationship with Product as one of the main reasons his PreSales teams experience success. He says, “When both departments understand the anatomy of a deal—people, expertise, technology, cost, benefits—the company can get closer to achieving consistent win rates and increasing average order size. These insights can then begin to drive product strategy and fundamentally change and elevate the PreSales role within an organization. ”

If you don’t put in the time to build trust with Product, you’ll experience conflict at the strategy level. Friction isn’t a bad actor, but it ideally gets resolved leading up to the big conversations and pivotal moments with your top leadership. 

 These meetings can also serve to understand which ideas and features need to be prioritized due to finite Product team resources. 

5. Hold each other accountable 

It’s incredibly important to remember that for these feedback loops to be successful and occur at all, the buyer feedback PreSales collects needs to be acknowledged by Product, or else employees will lose the motivation to capture and share it. When PreSales feels heard, it’s easier to stay accountable when it comes to tracking feedback and making it actionable for the Product team.

The act of collecting the data itself also needs to be easy, and Hero embeds this critical process into your team’s existing workflows. When the feedback loop between Product and PreSales is seamless, cross-departmental alignment can be achieved and revenue can be increased.

Transform PreSales and Product teams today

Following this 5-step plan ensures Product and PreSales get closer to achieving their collective goals—creating a winning, impactful product that meets market needs and delivers value for buyers. 

To do this the right technology is needed. Hero is prepared to help your PreSales and Product teams align.

Sign up for a Hero Demo and we’ll show you more!

Aaron Sun Avatar photo June 26, 2021