Every day, presales professionals seek to understand their buyer’s success criteria so they can determine how to best add value. However, when these very same presales professionals evaluate tools that would support their own daily needs, they often find it challenging to quantify and qualify their own success criteria. It’s the classic tale of the “shoemaker’s children” who go barefoot because the shoemaker is too busy taking care of other people’s needs. 

Success Criteria: What You Need to Know

To assist the sales engineering community, here is a simple process using the following success criteria for presales tooling.

success criteria graph

Step 1: Start with Your Personas 

Prospect and/or Customer

Whether you are pursuing new prospects or upselling to an existing customer, presales professionals should explore more optimal ways to meet the needs of these personas. Trends like remote selling and self-educated buyers have changed how technical buyers purchase from vendors and how they want to engage with presales. New presales tools that can support this new technical sales engagement model should be closely examined. For instance, imagine if your prospects and customers had on-demand means to access presales subject matter expertise. What could that do for your prospect and/or customer and how could that enhance your presales capacity and technical sales motion? 

Presales Individual Contributor

In a given 50-hour work week, presales individual contributors often struggle to effectively manage their time and tasks. This is especially true when their schedule is subject to the demands of presales leadership, sales representatives, and internal and external constituents. Imagine if an individual contributor could reduce or eliminate 90% of mundane tasks, like CRM data entry. How much time could be reclaimed to focus on high-value activities, like selling?   

Presales Leadership and Management

Presales leadership and mid-management often struggle to wrangle data to measure the impact of their presales team, qualify new feature requests for product management, and get presales individual contributors to follow processes that will help win more business. What if presales leadership could reduce or drastically eliminate data wrangling efforts and instead more effectively operate the presales business with data? Would this help the company’s executive leadership see the value of the presales organization? 

The C-Suite

The CRO (Chief Revenue Officer), CCO (Chief Customer Officer), and COO (Chief Operating Officer) care about particular KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that impact their areas of oversight. For instance, a CRO may want to know at what stage of the sales cycle the company sees the lowest conversion rate and how investing in presales capacity would help improve conversion rates. What if presales could not only answer that question but also do it in real-time with reliable data that reflected the day-to-day activities of their business?

Step 2: Understand your Key Personas’ Challenges

Review the most important challenges your key personas face and explore the art of the possible that could surface from commercial presales tools. Here are some examples.  

Prospect and/or Customer

  • Challenge: Ambiguous Proof of Concept (POC) process that can lead to a miscalibration of mutual expectations. 
  • NEW Possibility From Presales Tools: Provide a step-by-step breakdown of the POC process.
  • Impact: Prospects and customers have a better buying experience.

Presales Individual Contributor

  • Challenge: 10 hours per week spent on mundane CRM data entry tasks. 
  • NEW Possibility From Presales Tools: Reduce CRM data entry by 90%.
  • Impact: Increase personal sales capacity by 9 hours per week.

Presales Leadership and Management

  • Challenge: Poor visibility, about 20%, on the impact of presales on revenue.  
  • NEW Possibility From Presales Tools: Increase visibility by 90% in 2 months.
  • Impact: Make improved data-driven decisions and quantify the impact on revenue.

The C-Suite. In this case, let’s focus on the CRO. 

  • Challenge: Increase yearly growth by 50%  without increasing sales headcount.
  • NEW Possibility From Presales Tools: Improve the middle of the funnel by an extra 10%. 
  • Impact: Deliver 60% yearly growth from a modest investment in presales.

Applying the Success Criteria to Your Business

The presales organization is not simply a service department that performs demos. Presales is instrumental to technical sales and can have a broader impact on the business as a whole. Therefore, when evaluating commercial presales tooling for your presales organization, take a step back and ask yourself where your presales business sits today. Take a moment to better understand your personas as well as their challenges and imagine the art of the possible. Strive to be part of not just a good presales organization but a great presales organization — one that leverages a presales tech stack to uplevel performance and have a greater impact on revenue and the business.