In between the roles of your Marketing and Sales teams, there is some middle ground that is often the cause of a blame game when leads don’t convert as expected. This middle ground can be covered by the creation of a Pre-Sales team.
What is Pre-sales?
Pre-sales, also known as sales support, is a set of activities that help a business discover a client’s needs and challenges, and then position the products being sold as solutions addressing those needs.
Pre-sales activities include:
1. Market research and persona creation.
2. Lead qualification.
3. Study of the customer’s needs and challenges.
4. Working with Product team to create solutions.
5. Respond to requests for proposals (RFPs).
Importance of lead qualification.
In a recent episode of the ABS podcast, Duncan Foster (Looker Business Intelligence Platform, Google Cloud) said something that most Sales people would rather not dwell on too much - “The biggest red flag is an organization that is not willing to actually work with you on that qualification process and on that qualification information.”
So while lead qualification is mostly about efficient use of your Sales team’s time on leads that will convert, it is also about the customer’s own time. Do they really see any value in your product if they won’t make time for lead qualification?
This is where Pre-Sales can play a significant role, working in tandem with sales to help unlock value in the solutions, understanding what challenges they are looking to solve, and coming up with solutions that bring value. It helps position the product in terms of value rather than price, and requires a clear understanding of (and experience with) the product being sold and the customer’s business.
In this post, we explore all the things that Pre-Sales enquiry management can do to help close more deals with the right customers.
1. Market research and customer personas.
Who is your ideal customer, and what are their characteristics? Their designation, company size, demographics, likes, habits, etc.
We created our customer personas one by one, filling out profiles bit by bit using persona survey forms. But you can automate it using a tool like Make my Persona, a persona creation tool from Hubspot.
2. Cold calling and lead qualification.
The single most important function that a Pre-Sales team can focus on is to convert an outbound calling list or inbound customer query list into sales-qualified leads.
Whether using BANT or some other proprietary list of factors for judging a lead’s propensity to buy, the Pre-Sales team can find out the potential buyer’s lead intent and whether (as mentioned above by Duncan) it even makes sense to have the Sales team chase the lead.
3. Study the customer’s needs and challenges.
Many sales calls end with the buyer laying out some challenge or custom requirement, and asking if the seller is able to provide a solution for it. The typical answer is that “We’ll speak to our team and get back to you.” Pre-Sales members are expected to be able to provide a better answer right away.
4. Work with the Product team to create solutions.
The buyer’s requirements can then be taken up by Pre-Sales with the Product team, leaving the Sales team to focus on sales and follow-ups with other leads.
5. Respond to requests for proposals.
If the buyer then requests a proposal, Pre-Sales can put it together, with pricing, compliance and the documentation required by the client. This is again an activity that will eat up the time of your key Sales people, if Pre-Sales is not able or available to handle RFPs.