Technical sales play an instrumental role in driving and managing middle–of-funnel business. Check out this prescriptive guide from John Care, author of “The Sales Engineer Manager’s Handbook” for effective business management tips.

Presales and sales engineering managers, as well as individual contributors at technology companies, power millions of dollars of revenue every day. The leaders running these businesses oversee massive investments in people, processes and tools that fuel growth for these technology vendors. And in the era of digital sales and product-led sales motions, the technical sales business and proper business management have risen in importance. John Care, author of “The Sales Engineer Manager’s Handbook,” has trained thousands of technical sales leaders on some guiding principles that effectively help them manage their business. Care, along with Hub, provider of presales and sales engineer productivity platform, presents a prescriptive guide for technical sales leaders on the three guiding principles to consider through business management.

Technical Sales Leadership: Run Your Business

Three simple steps to run a world-class technical sales organization.

Step 1: Run your business as a business.

Presales play an instrumental role in delivering growth and driving millions of revenue for technology companies. Utilize the ROPE (Return On Presales Effort) method to manage revenue, expense and return on investment of the presales team.

  • Knowledge: How is your team performing?
    • Measure key metrics such as skill level proficiency, diversity, and retention rates.
  • Process: What is your team working on?
    • Understand their activities around discovery, presentations, demos, evaluations, etc.
  • Customer: Are you earning their trust?
    • Check their sentiment using measurements like Net Promoter and trust scores.
  • Economics: What is the return on presales effort?
    • Measure the return on investment of your technical sales team based on growth, billings, and recurring revenue.

Step 2: Develop and serve your people.

Use RADAR to find, attract and retain good presales talent. The return on investment of presales talent can be recognized in the millions of dollars.

  • Recruit: How are you building your talent roster?
    • Develop a pipeline of technical sales candidates that you will want to hire.
  • Attract: How do you get them in your organization?
    • Put a plan in place to get them on board.
  • Develop: How do you build on their strengths?
    • Identify existing technical sales and leadership skills that need to be refined.
  • Advance: How do you develop their effectiveness?
    • Develop their hard and soft skills with formal and informal training.
  • Retain: How do you keep your best performers?
    • Reward your top performers and keep them challenged to grow.

Step 3: Manage your business.

Effectively leading the presales organization requires access to reliable data on daily business activities. A dedicated source of record for presales can provide greater analysis, insights, understanding of gaps, visibility on the forecast, improved data-driven investments, and corrective actions.

  • Analysis: Continuously study your business.
    • Get reliable data to track, measure, and learn about your business.
  • Insights: Remain intellectually curious about your business.
    • Drill down on the things you know you don’t know and stay open to new learnings.
  • Gaps: Manage opportunity and growth blockers.
    • Get data from the field to address solutions and product feature gaps that block growth.
  • Forecast: Share your technical sales point of view.
    • Use your own source of record to express the probability of success in opportunities.
  • Investment: Make data-driven decisions.
    • Deliver quantifiable metrics that justify investment in people, processes, and tools.
  • Action: Make corrections based on leading indications.
    • Utilize data from your technical source of record to get opportunities back on track.

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