Presales and sales engineering professionals are critical to sales. Yet, for decades they have had to work with tools like spreadsheets and customer relationship management (CRM) systems that are inadequate to support presales work in today’s remote sales era. Now more than ever, presales professionals need their productivity platform and commercial presales tool that will make them more productive and, in turn, help them drive more revenue.

Here are six guiding principles to help you justify the expense rather than hacking internal tools, customizing a CRM, or retrofitting general-purpose productivity tools because none of these are specifically designed to support the presales workflow.

  • Focus. Find a vendor who is exclusively focused and dedicated to supporting the workflow and operational needs of the presales individual contributor, presales management, subject matter experts, and supporting cast. The vendor of choice should be explicitly focused on solving your particular pain points.
  • Responsive. Your vendor of choice must genuinely act as a partner and be highly responsive to your needs. They must respond quickly to new feature requests, fix bugs fast, and be available to help with your success 24/7.
  • Innovative. Vendors who focus solely on a persona and key set of problems, such as those experienced by presales professionals, tend to innovate faster because they harness the collective intelligence of industry peers and the professional community. Make sure that your provider shows you the art of the possible and delivers new features that yield greater flexibility, control, and power to make your work life substantially better.
  • Value. Look for a vendor that truly understands your challenges, empathizes where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow, and helps you quantify and qualify the value you can provide within your team and to your C-suite. The vendor should help you build a value proposition that reflects your needs and has the greatest positive impact on your business.
  • Knowledge. Ideally, your vendor is recognized as an industry thought leader because that way, you’ll learn from them. They should also be trusted and respected within your presales community. A vendor who can provide knowledge on utilizing their commercial presales tool best will help you maximize your ability to deliver value.
  • Scale. Select a vendor who can help with your current problems and future demands. Switching solutions downstream can be costly and disruptive, so working with a presales vendor who will scale and evolve with you is highly preferable.

Presales have reached a point where they realize they need their commercial presales tool to solve specific problems and are now evaluating commercial vendors. As they do so, they need to do more than just review the tool. They also need to look for knowledgeable, capable vendors with whom they can establish a long-term partnership.