RevOps support for Presales
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Let’s talk about pre-sales. Instrumental to the pre-sale motion is the Sales Engineer which I’ll refer to as an SE. The SE combines technical expertise with sales skills to sell complex products or services. They work with customers to understand their needs and then use their technical knowledge to recommend solutions that meet those needs. Sales engineers also provide technical support to customers after the sale.
From personal experience, whenever an SE raises their hand to try to become an AE… let them try. I’ve personally witnessed a decent percentage of successful SE-to-AE transitions.
The specific duties of a sales engineer vary depending on the industry and the products or services they sell. However, some common tasks include:
Providing technical presentations to customers. Sales engineers often give presentations to customers to explain the benefits of their products or services. These presentations can be in person, over the phone, or online.
Working with customers to assess their needs. Sales engineers need to understand the technical challenges that customers are facing in order to recommend the right solutions. They often work with customers to gather information about their current systems and processes.
Designing and implementing solutions. Sales engineers may be responsible for designing and implementing solutions that meet the needs of their customers. This may involve working with engineers, technicians, and other stakeholders.
Providing technical support to customers. After the sale, sales engineers may be responsible for providing technical support to customers. This may involve troubleshooting problems, providing training, or making recommendations for upgrades.
So where does an SE fit into the sales process?
In a prior article we went over a sample sales process. The sales process is owned by the sales rep but as I always like to say, “it takes a village to sell”. Meaning, that successful selling might involve several players including Sales Development Reps, marketing, CSMs, Sales Engineers (the focus of this article), Deal Desk, Pricing analysts, enablement, operations, and managers.
A typical sales process will have the AE lead a Discovery call. That call will quickly identify what the situation is for that individual and their organization. A solid discovery call should be able to accomplish multiple things including:
Build up a champion
Identify what solutions they've already considered
If all goes well, the rep will schedule another call where you'll get a chance to introduce who you are and a brief glimpse into your solution.
It's tempting to go into a demo and try to show everything your solution can do. Here are all the bells. Did you notice all the whistles?
To be honest, this is just spilling your guts and you don't even know if the person on the other side of the table cares.
What I'd prefer to see is a well established agenda to start the call. Earn the right to continue going. From there, a solid recap of the Discovery call should be established. Make sure you're in sync with your prospect.
Last time you did more listening than talking. Now it's time to turn the tables. A few slides introducing who you are and what you do should suffice.
If prospect’s eyes widen and detailed questions arise that's a good sign. Take note of the sticky questions. The easy questions you can swat down on the spot. These questions should be captured in a CRM field that will be flashed over to your SE team for the next call.
The demo is another great filter to determine if the prospect is serious. If they are, they'd be willing to go over a more detailed, maybe even, custom demo. Custom in that the information collected at this stage should be specific enough that the SE can tell a specific narrative catered to positioning your solution as a viable solution for the specific use case.
What can your SE team do today?
Without going too much into detail here are some quick tips to improve the performance of your SE team.
Build strong relationships with Product
Set up your CRM specifically for your SE
Build strong relationships with your AEs
Integrity by following up on action items
Know the sales funnel
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What should go into the CRM?
The process for the SE is a part of the sales process. But it can also be parallel. For example, the SE might tailor the demo environment. This step can be quite technical. If you have the opportunity to work with an engineer then building use case driven demo environments will save a ton of time for the SE. Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to.
In your CRM I recommend the following fields:
SE Next Step
Opportunity Team Member (if you're using Salesforce)
Primary SE (if you're using Hubspot)
Not exactly a field, but I recommend developing a time tracking mechanism. How much time and how many meetings (both external and internal) are you SEs working on this account? You could set up a quick action in Salesforce.
Log an SE Meeting
Doing this allows you to build a capacity model for your SE team.
Defining the Technical Win and the Metrics to Measure SE Success
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