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How to Unlock the True Value of Your Presales/Sales Engineer

How to Unlock the True Value of Your Presales/Sales Engineer - SalesLatitude

How to Unlock the True Value of Presales/Sales Engineers - SalesLatitudeAfter receiving many comments on my post last month, “Why Rushing to Demo is a Deal Killer,” it got me to thinking more about the topic. We already know that rushing to demo can be a huge waste of time for your presales/sales engineer, for your buyer, and for you. So why would you not bring presales into the discovery process? How do you perceive presales’ in terms of the value they provide to the sales process?

Often, sales reps don’t include the presales person or sales engineer until the demo. They think they can do everything on their own. Or they do no preparatory work and expect the sales engineer to “wing” the demo. As a result, many times we show up unprepared, are forced to throw ideas against the wall, and hope something sticks. Not a good use of anyone’s time.

In order to see the situation from different points of view, I am going to put on two hats: one from the perspective of the presales/sales engineer, and the other from the buyer’s point of view. Tell me if any of this resonates with you.

I am the presales/sales engineer

In many cases, I am clueless as to why the sales rep brings me in to meet with the buyers. They only seem to bring me in when they need a demo. Sometimes they will prep me as we are walking into the demo, sometimes not. What a waste of my time and talent since I have a lot to contribute beyond just running the demo. I mean, what do I show in the demo, anyway? Do you want me to show every feature and function of the product in two hours, when I could easily take two days? How can we narrow down the focus to make it meaningful to the buyer? I can help you with this, if you bring me into the process earlier on.

Let’s discuss this early in the process so together, we can truly understand the buyer’s business goals and priorities and use all of our time wisely. For a complex deal, this could take some time since multiple people are involved in the buying decision. I need to know more about what is working/not working and how it impacts these key individuals. I need to better understand what they have tried previously to solve their problem, if anything, and how it worked or did not work for them. Let’s use the demo as a proof point to validate that the buyer believes we can get them to their priority business outcome in the timeframe they’ve promised their management team.

Bottom line: I hate when you ask me to just wing it.

I am the buyer

I would love to share what I am trying to achieve and why. I’m not quite sure why the sales rep is asking me questions about what keeps me up at night. Why do they not bring in their product experts who can share industry trends and/or how others have solved similar problems? I mean, I actually trust presales people. They are not sales reps and are not just talking to me to try to make money. They seem to have a deeper understanding of my industry, my challenges and how the product might be able to help me.

Bottom line: I hate when my time is wasted.

Use presales talents wisely

If you’re a sales rep, then why, why, why would you not bring in your presales/sales engineer to help you gain additional insights on how you can help solve the buyer’s problems? I see 100% upside and no downside.

This post is a shout out to all the amazing presales/sales engineers who help make sales reps so successful. And to sales reps, don’t wait until the demo to bring them in. Use their talents wisely!

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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