Unlocking the Full Potential of PreSales Teams: More Than Just Demos

Jarod Greene Avatar photo

Assumptions can be costly, especially when they concern your most valuable asset: your people. PreSales teams often fall victim to the misconception that their sole purpose is to perform product demonstrations. While demos are a key component of the role, it oversimplifies the role of Sales Engineers in the broader go-to-market strategy.

Demos naturally occur during sales meetings, and their frequency is tied to meeting volume. This implies that when sales meetings decrease, so does the demand for Sales Engineers. 

When the number of Sales Engineers is pegged to the number of Sales Representatives, reducing the number of Sales Reps means scaling down their Sales Engineers.

Regrettably, many executive leaders make these difficult decisions without fully grasping the multifaceted role of PreSales teams. Armed with little more than a standard ratio and a spreadsheet, they may not realize that the best PreSales Teams worldwide do much more than demos.

Imagine if tech executive leaders understood that buyers prefer engaging with Sales Engineers to learn about products and services. In response, they might reallocate marketing and sales investments to generate more opportunities and expand their pipeline.

Consider, too, if they recognized that a substantial portion of the sales process involves validating technology, with PreSales teams supporting deliverables throughout. This might prompt them to consider hybrid or blended roles that enhance technical win rates and accelerate sales cycles.

Furthermore, what if they knew that Product, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams rely on PreSales to convey the unique value of their products on demand? This awareness could drive efforts to amplify their influence within the organization.

To help tech executive leaders appreciate the value and impact of Sales Engineers, Gartner published a report titled “Tech CEOs Must Leverage Sales Engineers to Improve Sales Effectiveness.” This research emphasized the critical role of the PreSales function, cautioning that neglecting it could put tech CEOs at a significant disadvantage in the market competition. 

While Gartner’s report was insightful, it overlooked two vital responsibilities of PreSales teams:

1. **Sales Forecasting:** PreSales teams play a pivotal role in determining the technical win during the sales process. When the Account Executive forecasts a date and an amount, but key technical steps remain incomplete or unexecuted, Sales Engineers must speak up. Alignment here gives Sales Leaders confidence in their forecasts, while misalignment allows for corrective actions that enhance closure probabilities. It also enables the strategic reallocation of Sales Engineering capacity to support faster-winnable opportunities.

2. **Influencing Product Roadmaps:** PreSales teams serve as the technical voice of the field. In competitive markets, it’s crucial for Product Managers to be aware of trends and preferences to make informed decisions about product development and enhancement. Sales Engineers not only identify features that impede opportunities but also those that offer competitive advantages. Armed with these insights, they guide Product teams in making revenue-focused roadmap decisions that lead to higher competitive win rates, usage, adoption, and customer satisfaction.

When PreSales is recognized as a multifaceted role, appropriately funded, and resourced, it empowers companies to achieve unprecedented success and forge enduring customer relationships that extend well beyond the initial demo.

Don’t underestimate the transformative power Sales Engineers hold in shaping your company’s future. 

For more detailed insights, check out our latest E-Book, 11 Things PreSales Does More than Demo.

Jarod Greene Avatar photo September 18, 2023