Pre-Sales are a bond between sales team/customer and delivery unit in the organization. A good pre-sales team will make a positive impact in the bottom-line of the organization directly. To be an excellent pre-sales professional one need to have a right blend of technical and soft-skills. Also, one should have an attitude of a scientist to always learn and do research on market trends, technology shifts and eye on competition. Here are top 5 essential skills to be successful in a pre-sales role.
What is the difference between sales and presales?
Pre-sales is not the same as marketing or other business activities that may be precursors to direct sales activity. ... The main difference is that pre-sales is technical, while sales is emotive. Pre-sales determines what is needed and then explains how a product or service can solve a problem.
Excellent soft-skills (Communication, Coordination and Negotiation)
Well, for everyone and every role soft-skill is important. Talking about this role where one has to take the input from sales or customer and pass it on to the other side of the bridge, it needs a commanding level of communication skill. Clear and precise. One has to coordinate with multiple teams or individuals to get the information for a technical solution or get the whole business solution done in-time, with accuracy. This needs super effective coordination skill. Negotiation comes in picture when one has to convince the delivery teams on the winning proposition and changing their estimation techniques or solution design; vice-versa to the sales or customer on the delivery challenges and convince them to change the way they are looking at the solution or commercials, for that matter.
Skill to as ask right questions
When a pre-sales consultant first hears about an opportunity, the immediate next thing to do is to ask right questions, in order to gather more information on the opportunity and current customer situation. Asking some right close ended questions can provide the pre-sales guy to gaze the exact requirement of the customer. These answers will be very effective in building the right solution, with confidence. Additionally, another set of open ended questions can provide a high level vision of the customer and can reveal some implicit requirements. This can help you build a killer proposal, which will not only address the explicit but will also take care of the implicit requirements. In the same manner, while dealing with delivery and center of excellence teams for technical solutions, one has to ask right technical questions, in order to make sure the technical solution is correct and desired level of assumptions have been made, risks are known and called out.
Knowledge on organization offerings and analytic skill
Why did I combine two things in one, knowledge and analytical skill? Because, these two are mutually exclusive. One, without the other skill would not fetch a good solution design. A pre-sales consultant must have very good knowledge on its organizational offerings (solution accelerators, tools, frameworks etc.) and their quantifiable benefits. Once this is known, the consultant can now analyze and then align the customer problem with the organizational offerings to build a good and right technical solution. Well, it is not always true that a customer problem has to be mapped with the offerings or there is definitely a solution available for the customer situation. However, if, one has right knowledge and analytical skill then they can map the offerings to solution or they may even want to discard the offerings for a particular solution. Whatever is done, is done deliberately and not haphazardly .
Time-bound and attention to detail
Almost all the proposals are time-starved. They need so much of detail attention that the allotted time always falls short. Nevertheless, solution has to be designed, proposals have to be submitted in time. Hence, working against the time is the most difficult problem a pre-sales guy has to encounter. Successfully handling this challenge is one of the most important skill one must have. In the proposal, there are so many clauses, disclaimers, annexure, non-disclosure agreements etc. Looking everything in detail and putting an appropriate solution content and raising risks is another work of a herculean caliber. The pre-sales guy also has to be aware of the country specific laws, competition laws to be sure their organization is not getting near to any sort of legal and ethical complications.
Please understand no two solutions are same
Understand, analyze and customize, should be the mantra. Copy and paste work of solutions are probably gone a long back, but we could still see some patcy work in proposals. Pre-sales consultants must understand and realize that no two customer situation are same. If the situations are not same, the solution cannot be same. Hence, understanding the exact requirement and customizing the solution for every customer is the key to the probability of getting success in winning the deal.
As the pre-sales consultants are get first hand information from customer and various delivery units of the organization, they have a responsibility to build a knowledge base. This knowledge base can be very helpful to the organization as a whole.