The Technical Win is “The New Sales”

Sam Wortman Avatar photo

Entire deals ride on an SE’s ability to achieve the technical win; however, when we searched for data to offer visibility into this fundamental and critical process, we found little information. So we sought to change this. 

That’s why, in August, we published the 3rd edition of the Vivun PreSales Benchmark Report: The Battle to Secure the Technical Win. We surveyed PreSales leaders at businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies with dozens of questions covering topics including how much time the technical win takes in the opportunity cycle, how much ownership PreSales has over the entire opportunity journey, ramp times for new hires, the average number of PreSales professionals it takes to achieve the technical win, and more. 

From the responses we received, we identified three key insights:

  1. The technical win is “the new sales.”
  2. PreSales is increasingly taking more ownership of the entire opportunity cycle, getting pulled in earlier, while they need ever more time to focus on the technical win. 
  3. Building highly specialized PreSales teams takes significant amounts of time. 

Let’s explore these insights. 

Why is the technical win “the new sales”?

Ultimately, the battle to secure the technical win is the battle to secure the sale. 

The technical win is now the most important segment of the opportunity cycle, as it most closely relates to closing business and attaining revenue targets.

Despite PreSales being responsible for multiple aspects of the opportunity cycle, we found that time spent on achieving the technical win made up the majority of it, or 54%. And achieving it required significant people power and time—about three PreSales professionals over an average of 64 days. 

Proof of Concepts/Value/Managed trials (POCs)—the cornerstone of the technical win—also picked up in velocity, taking, on average, 33 days to complete, nearly half the time it took to achieve the technical win. 

PreSales leaders increasingly understood that POCs were where the buyer gets hands-on with the software, and if they didn’t nail this experience though the PreSales engagement—they simply didn’t get the technical win, and they wasted time and money. 

PreSales is increasingly taking more ownership of the entire opportunity cycle

Data from our survey showed that PreSales increasingly took more ownership of the entire buyer journey to get the technical win, getting pulled in earlier and earlier. And not surprisingly, their expertise was also increasingly leaned on, with 37% reporting that they managed teams in addition to PreSales. 

Part of securing the technical win means becoming adept at a multitude of deliverables such as Security Assessments, RFP Questionnaires, Value Assessments, Demonstrations with Custom Builds, and more. Across the deliverables in the chart below, the majority of PreSales were responsible for owning and championing them. 

These findings ask PreSales leaders to now consider: How likely are these deliverables to detract from high-value activities in the core stages? If PreSales is spending significant amounts of time on post sales could that detract from their ability to influence net new revenue? And ultimately, does the data suggest PreSales should be staffed accordingly to have the right team members who can focus on the technical win versus those who deal with customers post sale? 

As PreSales teams take on more responsibilities, they need to be staffed robustly across the entire customer journey. If the technical win is the most important part of the opportunity cycle, then PreSales should be allowed to make that a primary area of focus. Organizations will only benefit from allowing these technical sales savants to prioritize the deliverables that most closely relate to securing the technical win and accelerating revenue. And if companies want PreSales to champion each stage of the buyer journey, they need to create a support system and platform that allows them to succeed while never taking their eye off the technical win. 

Building and retaining PreSales teams is difficult

Maintaining high technical win rates depended on having PreSales teams ready to meet the challenge (as evidenced by the average number of 3 PreSales professionals it took to achieve the technical win). Though multiple PreSales professionals need to work a single deal, it took, on average, 60+ days from open recruiting to hire, and 50% of PreSales leaders said it took 6+ months to ramp their SEs. And without data were 15% of PreSales leaders who had no insight into their hiring processes. 

Creating repeatable success and securing the technical win is part of ensuring that hiring processes are streamlined and efficient. PreSales leaders need to have qualified SEs ready to deploy on opportunities at any time. By having a fully ramped, robust PreSales team, SEs can become experts not just on the technical win but on other stages of the opportunity cycle like RFP Questionnaires, Value Assessments, and Standard Demonstrations. Without a doubt, PreSales teams need technology and resources to bring new hires up to speed and a platform that allows them to win and tap into collective insights.

What’s next?

It’s time for PreSales to concentrate their skills and expertise on the technical win—since it’s become the beating heart of the modern B2B selling motion. We have no doubt that securing the technical win is where a significant amount of PreSales’ intelligence, expertise, and time should be spent. 
Get all this critical data for yourself in our full benchmark report, which covers many other topics—such as how many touch points does PreSales have on an opportunity before it closes, PreSales attach rates, overall sales win rates, and other key areas.

Sam Wortman Avatar photo September 13, 2021