The Things PreSales Does (and Doesn’t Do) Besides Demo

Sara Vondohren Avatar photo

With their deep technical knowledge and ability to understand customer needs, PreSales professionals are instrumental in driving revenue growth and ensuring customer satisfaction—responsibilities that far exceed their stereotypical role of “demo jockeys”. 

During our flagship annual event, UNXPCTD, we asked leaders to rate which of those roles they felt strongest in and where they needed improvement—here’s what they had to say. 

Crafting Tailored Solutions

PreSales leaders at UNXPCTD rated solution architecture as the role they felt strongest in. We’ve consistently heard from PreSales teams over the years that one of the most fulfilling parts of the technical sales cycle is securing the technical win, and connecting customer needs to product capabilities is often a large part of that process. With that in mind, it’s little wonder that PreSales feels most at home when acting as problem solvers and partners to buyers and customers. 

do more than demo activity board
This interactive board was placed on a table during the event. We asked leaders to tie a green string around functions they felt they do well, and a red string around functions they need more improvement on.

Educating Customers and Prospects & Running POCs

As foundational roles of the job, it’s self-explanatory why leaders felt they excel at running POCs and having strong collaboration with clients. The power of storytelling lies in creating connections. By mastering storytelling, sales engineers become creators of compelling narratives, not just conveyors of information. 

While these responsibilities hold tremendous value, SEs have been doing them for years. These skills are foundational to the role and in order to provide new and impactful outcomes to the business, SEs have to look beyond these functions to provide lasting value. 

Custom Product Development, Competitor Analysis, and Business Case Validation

While the majority of PreSales leaders we spoke with felt confident in crafting solutions and educating customers, these responsibilities were most often cited as areas they could see the most improvement in. 

All of these areas require a deep understanding of not just product capabilities and buyer needs, but also those of Product, Sales, and other stakeholder groups — and a willingness to proactively drive broader conversations about the business, rather than wait for the next prospect meeting or demo. Integrating PreSales more effectively into the business is a prerequisite for success. For teams to effectively lead custom product development, they need to have a strong understanding of the roadmap, how they stack up against competitors, and how to seamlessly merge the two with the needs of the clients. 

As teams look to improve these areas, they might also consider developing or improving an effective feedback cycle to communicate product gaps and deal breakers to Product with data—only then will they be set up to provide custom quality solutions for clients.

Business case validation is an essential function and hallmark of a successful sales engineer. According to Gartner, 93% of buyers need a business case for all technical evaluations. For leaders struggling in this area, start with storytelling. SEs who can craft a narrative that revolves around the client’s objectives and tell stories with data will win every time. 

As leaders lean in and consider how they might level up their cross-functional communication strategies and storytelling abilities, VivunOne emerges as a game-changer for the team. As the only platform dedicated to empowering PreSales, it equips teams with the necessary tools to efficiently and effectively perform their functions. Powered by artificial intelligence, it provides techwin coaching and delivers deal summaries with recommended next steps directly to PreSales teams. The result? Improved conversion rates, increased forecast accuracy, and a boost in repeatable wins.

At Vivun, our goal is to redefine PreSales and empower leaders to move beyond traditional demos. The best Sales Engineers bridge innovation, products, clients, and success. It’s about doing better, not just more. Champion the change in your organization, empower your teams, and continue to do more than demo.

Download the full eBook here to read about the 11 functions PreSales has besides orchestrating custom demos.

Sara Vondohren Avatar photo October 25, 2023