There is a huge level of satisfaction and gratification when taking an idea, a simple drawing on a whiteboard in front of a customer and moving it forward to a tangible, business solution critical for an organization’s success when considering a NICE product for their company.
The service I now provide was not common, or widely known, when I started in this industry.
Across telecommunications, indeed across most sales-driven organisations, “Pre-sales” could be perceived as something of a nuisance, a road block which historically got in the way during the highly-pressured race to meet that quarter’s target.
Even in my earlier days of SVL Business Solutions, or “Sinclair’s” as we were then known as, pre-sales was something that had less focus than it does today.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Locked Cupboard
When I started as an apprentice installation engineer, I would arrive at a customer’s site with little more than a job sheet, a one pager that contained the telephone number of some unfortunate individual that had been enlisted to support the “Tape Recorder” that was often placed in a very inconvenient location such as a cupboard.
If you were lucky, you were shown to the client’s “comms” room, a cave that often had similar attributes to the end of an Indiana Jones movie.
Thankfully, the physical infrastructure has changed dramatically in 2018. With cloud-based solutions and highly-efficient on premise server rooms available, the vital role I now enjoy is working with clients to solve their problem. It’s really not simply about selling the latest product, but finding the best solution.
Why pre-sales is crucial
In today’s landscape, pre-sales provides a key part not only in the sales lifecycle, but in ensuring that we genuinely meet customer needs, building long-lasting technical sales relationships with pivotal customer contacts.
This starts an on-going relationship that can be instrumental when helping your organisation retain a new piece of business for years to come. Pre-sales experts become long-term trusted advisors of the client who continue to work in partnership with the sales team to retain that customer.
What skills are required in pre-sales?
Having hung up my Fedora and whip, I’d like to offer some advice to anyone considering a move into pre-sales.
Perhaps you already have (like I did) a strong technical background, but are looking to transition into a role that is enjoyable but challenging, I offer the following
# Understand your customer and their objectives.
The Pre-sales person is not there to sell products. The role is to understand and be cognizant of the issues and business challenges that the customer is facing. Only once this has been fully understood should any solutions or approach be discussed.
# Listen to your customer – REALLY listen.
As simple as it sounds, take a seat and listen intently to your customer’s woes. You can then start to form potential solutions that will positively impact their business and solve any issues or headaches that they have.
# Work closely with the salesperson.
Sales and Pre-sales people need to work in harmony. It’s not a case of “Good Cop: Bad Cop”. You are a joint function whose role is to articulate how you can help existing or potential customers and not to bamboozle them with features and products.
By all means challenge each other, but come to a consensus to present to the client. How well the partnership works makes a REAL DIFFERENCE to the quality of the customer service.
It is the combined effort and combination of the team that results in delivering the best solutions for clients. At SVL Business Solutions we pride ourselves on delivering a first class service throughout the lifecycle of the sale, pre and post.
I’d love to hear from you, if anything in this blog resonates with you in your role.
Please do get in touch to see how I could help fix any nagging business issues you may have or for any solution advice across the NICE portfolio.
Christopher Dardis has worked for SVL Business Solutions for 16 years, transferring from the engineering team to Pre-Sales Solution consultant.
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