Four ways companies can improve presales performance

Sales engineers, most commonly referred to as presales, play a key role in landing new business with prospects. But they also are instrumental for those looking to expand business with existing customers.

Sales engineers perform jobs like technical discovery, presentation, demos, developing solutions and managing proof of concept (POC) / proof of value (POV) engagement where the prospect, or in some cases the customer, must trial the product under purchase consideration. In addition, sales engineers typically partner with account executives (AEs). Some AEs are “hunters” who look for new business opportunities, while others are “farmers” who ensure renewals and identify ways to either upsell or cross-sell existing customers. Lastly, sales engineers are integral to collaborating with customer success (CS) managers to onboard both new and existing products recently purchased.

Land and Expand Business

As companies review how to more effectively leverage sales engineers to grow more top line, here are four things to consider.

  • Presales People. Sales engineers possess various sales and technical skills that may make them highly effective in becoming the trusted technical advisor and optimizing middle-of-the-funnel sales activities. As you build your roster of sales engineering talent, it is important to have a broad understanding of all the skills and knowledge represented in the whole team to determine how to best utilize your sales engineers and align them with the right opportunities accordingly. This can make the difference between winning or losing the business.
  • Presales Tools. A brute force approach to growing the business often entails investing in more sales engineering talent without investing in the right tooling. In contrast, when you give sales engineers a suite of productivity tools specifically built for their workflow and jobs they perform on a daily basis, you enable sales engineers to maximize the time they spend on land and expand business opportunities.
  • Presales Process. To ensure your organization follows best practices and never overlooks key steps, it’s wise to codify a prescriptive checklist that is situationally aware and applicable to the opportunity the sales engineer is working on. Essentially, by utilizing presales playbooks unique to land and expand business use cases, you can vastly increase your chances that all your sales engineers can perform like your best sales engineer.
  • Presales Data. To make informed decisions on the sales engineering business, it is essential to track and monitor sales engineering activities related to both land and expand business opportunities by using reliable data that is easily collected without burdening individual contributors from doing their jobs. When you invest in the right processes and tools that can ensure your organization collects reliable and relevant data of activities performed by sales engineers, you’ll gain a real-time understanding of your sales engineering business.

The era of sales engineers seen solely as demo jockeys or people that handle tasks dictated by sales is coming to an end. Sales engineers who play vital roles in trying to land and expand business are uniquely qualified to manage middle-of-the-funnel presales activities. Understanding how sales engineers play a role in your business is critical. But even more important is making the right investments in people, processes and tools specifically designed to help sales engineers become more effective at winning business.