How to Build Your Case for a PreSales Platform and Get the Check Signed

Jonathan Ross Avatar photo

Sales have Salesforce. Product has Jira. Data Scientists have Tableau. Software Developers have GitHub. The list goes on. 

PreSales goes without a solution despite being one of the most strategic groups in an organization. As a Sales Leader, I speak from experience when I say it pains me to see this critical department left with the scraps of other functions’ systems. Under these conditions PreSales becomes a major blind spot in the business, resources go untapped, and many executive teams have no choice but to see PreSales as a mysterious cost center.

Yet PreSales provides incredible value to their organization. Quantifying that value is fundamental to building a solid business case to get budget for the PreSales-specific software that will take them to the next level and unlock large reservoirs of revenue. When PreSales leaders have PreSales-specific software, they can effectively manage their team; align sales with product; guide buyers through successful evaluations; while measuring and communicating their values. 

How should PreSales leaders approach getting the software and budget they need from their organization? I have created a 4-step strategy for PreSales leaders to successfully present their business case to the C-suite and get the buy-in they need. 

Step 1: Identify the problem/challenge and the opportunity 

Let’s take this example of a problem I come across frequently. PreSales leaders often have several dormant deals and revenue still on the table or lingering in the background with no insight on how to revive them. They don’t know what product gaps they must close and features they must build, and within that problem, an opportunity is presented for a solution to reveal what must be done to revive these deals and unearth revenue.  

An easy way to think of this is to use this formula: I have X problem/challenge which presents Y opportunity. 

Storytelling helps PreSales leaders communicate to executives the problem(s) their PreSales team are facing and the opportunities they present when they can solve those challenges. I like to think of it as there’s the “State of Today” and then there’s the “State of the Future,” and it’s all about how a PreSales leader builds that bridge (or story) to get C-suite buy-in for where their PreSales team needs to be and can be.

Step 2: Build a business case on quantifiable metrics

To get C-Suite buy-in, you must present a business case bolstered by metrics that quantify the impact of solving the problem. 

The bridge from the “State of Today” to the “State of the Future” starts by constructing a solid business case that can be shared not only with the CFO, but even more importantly, with the counterparts on sales leadership like the CRO. It’s crucial for the PreSales leader to be able to effectively communicate to the CRO and then tie the ROI from the PreSales software to the CRO’s growth initiatives. PreSales leaders must be able to quantify the impacts that the PreSales team can make by running leaner, driving more deals, and increasing attainment. 

I suggest pairing a problem with at least one of the five impact areas described below. Once PreSales leaders identify one or two of the impact areas that will help solve their problem, then they’re on their way to being ready to present their business case to C-suite stakeholders. 

At Vivun, we use a ROI model to help prospects and customers understand the value of investing in PreSales software and what it will bring to their teams. PreSales leaders can use this same exercise with the C-suite executives at their company. Our ROI model focuses on five impact areas that each have their own quantifiable metrics. 

The 5 impact areas cover:

Improving Product-Buyer Fit

Definition: Improved product-buyer fit means the PreSales team gets to work a greater number of qualified deals, and that customers will buy more.

Quantifiable metrics: Opportunities qualified out, contract size, and discounting, increase in ASP, % increase in PreSales Overall Win Rate

Unlocking dormant revenue via deal revivals

Definition: Knowing when product gaps are closed allows you to go back and win back previously lost revenue.

Quantifiable metrics: Number of deals revived per year, deals revivals by closing product gaps

Speeding up sales cycles 

Definition: Insight into what PreSales activities lead to success and overall time savings means SEs can spend more time on revenue-generating activity, closing more deals in the same period of time.

Quantifiable metric: Additional deals closed by year, attainment 

Increasing PreSales IC productivity

Definition: Time savings makes PreSales individual contributors more efficient with their time

Quantifiable metrics: Hours saved per week, per PreSales individual contributor 

Optimizing PreSales support ratios

Definition: Maximize team efficiency and optimize support ratio by territory or segment

Quantifiable metrics: Headcount added or reallocated (+/-) via ratio optimization

Similar to the example in Step 1, an Enterprise customer I recently worked with knew opportunities were going dormant, and he needed a way to revive him. When he approached his CRO, he paired his problem with the unlocking dormant revenue via deal revivals impact area and used metrics on the number of deals that would be revived per year for the next three years when using our PreSales platform, Hero by Vivun to build a business case. Now, with Hero’s Deal Revival feature alerts letting our customer know when a deal is ready to be sold into again based on newly released features, he has rescued dormant opportunities and uncovered millions in revenue.

Once PreSales leaders determine what quantifiable metrics make the most sense for illustrating and conveying their business case to their CRO and/or other C-suite executives, they can put forth their best foot forward in their presentation to stakeholders to get a budget for PreSales-specific software. Showing how these metrics perform over the next three years lets you show what having PreSales-specific software can do to affect and transform your bottom line.

Step 3: Illustrate how a PreSales-specific solution will align with C-suite initiatives 

Whereas building a business case is the most nuanced step, aligning with C-suite initiatives is perhaps the most critical to securing budget and buy-in.  

If a connection to a C-Suite initiative, especially one to growth, can’t be made then it will be a challenge to have a compelling business case and win over the minds of the C-suite. From my experience, the best business cases are built when PreSales leaders own the ROI framework laid out above.

When PreSales leaders are presenting the problems(s) their teams are facing, they must match that with quantifiable PreSales metrics in one or more of the impact areas that will ultimately tie back to the growth initiatives of the CRO and other stakeholders. If a C-suite initiative is to see 2x revenue in the coming year, a PreSales leader will need to illustrate a business case like such: The problem is the PreSales team is spending too much time on non-revenue generating activities. This leaves the opportunity for the sales cycles to increase in speed. With the PreSales software the PreSales leader desires, one of its capabilities will help close more deals in the same period of time. When the leader quantifies the number of deals he will be able to close, he can then align that revenue and show how it will factor into the 2x revenue goal of the C-suite. 

Overall, the ROI impact presented to the C-suite must be based on potential additional revenue gained as well as costs saved through efficiency.

Step 4: Get the C-suite sign-off and ensure the software fits use cases

When a PreSales leader presents their business case for budget for PreSales software, like tying the business case to C-suite initiatives, they need to show the value case with all the critical capabilities that support it. Focusing on key business case outcomes like being able to nail the technical forecast by providing companies a new PreSales dataset with the Hero Score; influencing the roadmap when teams can capture product gaps and integrate with systems like Jira for quick action by Product; getting team insights with metrics that matter like win rates, support ratios, and efficiency. 

As a PreSales leader, ask for a test drive of the software. This will only help build a case for budget as the team can experience the purported use cases first hand and report back to the C-Suite. This time is also a great opportunity to ask the vendor for other customer proof points and feedback. Perhaps, get in contact with customers with similar use cases and on similar trajectories. Consider asking the vendor to partner you with an even larger organization to see how the product works for an expanding company. 

PreSales software now within reach

Following these four steps will get PreSales leaders in closer reach of the tools they need to lead their teams to unlock revenue and affect their company’s bottom line.

  1. Identify the problem/challenge and the opportunity 
  2. Build a business case on quantifiable metrics
  3. Illustrate how a PreSales-specific solution will align with C-suite initiatives 
  4. Get the C-suite sign off and ensure the software fits use cases

As the PreSales profession continues to grow exponentially and prove its value to organizations, the need for PreSales-specific software will only become more important and critical to managing expanding teams and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to tell your team’s story to the C-suite and get what you needed yesterday.  

Get ahead and sign up for a demo today!  

Jonathan Ross Avatar photo December 8, 2021