Whether you’re starting out in the world of presales or you’ve mastered much this life has to offer, it can be difficult to gauge where you stand because actually writing down what good looks like doesn’t happen all that often.
So this is what I’ve done: With the help of industry experts across the world, I’ve documented some helpful pointers that you should follow to understand what’s worthwhile to concentrate on when building your presales prowess.
It’s not an exhaustive list as every company and every industry has their own unique requirements. Instead, it’s designed as a guide to get you started, and something you can be proud to say you’ve accomplished. Aspects of these levels could even form part of your CV as hiring managers love to know you’ve got the bases covered.
To communicate the abilities of the product while delivering the message in a way that relates to buyer needs.
- Deliver a 5 minute, value-based executive summary designed to cover the main topic areas without diving into specific detail, but showing an understanding of the buyer’s industry.
“John Care – which should always end with a question to engage the listener. We say give the elevator pitch the shaft!”
- Deliver a focused, value-based pitch about the main product purpose and in-depth demonstration for the most important areas.
- Present the business benefits of change, how the product supports these, and describe how they relate to the specific goals of the buyer
- Present an end-to-end product/service demo, weaving buyer needs, change benefits and industry trends into a demonstration.
Different from a sales model, Buyer Enablement is a crystal clear focus on the goals of the buyer, disconnected from sales stages and an intentionally and surprisingly helpful approach in all interactions, for all stakeholders.
- Can articulate the 4 main stages and 8 sub-stages that buyers go through as well as identify the distinct activities that happen in each.
- Works with buyers to discover, engage and equip the stakeholder group, identifying their current place in the buying journey.
- Coaches the champion and other stakeholders to help them more smoothly navigate the buying process as it relates to their change project goals.
- Maintains the buyer enablement approach once the deal is done, towards and after go-live so that a continuous relationship fosters expansion, renewal and continued success for the buyer.
Deliver a message supported by industry knowledge and trends which helps buyers see the importance and relevance of both known and new concepts to their change project.
- Relates products and services to known industry trends, and presents reasoned arguments for change.
- Actively participates in an industry network
Research and understand the customer’s unique proposition in their market and their products to create relevance in the message and reasoning.
- Augments the presentation and buyer interactions with well researched connections between the products and services being demonstrated and their customer’s business objectives.
- Preps well and helps buyers prep well in order to ensure the time spent with buyers is used effectively for further discovery, collaboration and sharing in ways to move the change project forward to a delivered, and ongoing success.
- Creates significant and long term relationships with buyers based not just on being friendly and chatty, but really useful for what they need with a genuine desire to see the buyers and the buyers businesses succeed in their change project.
Supports the buying journey and sales success by understanding the competitive landscape, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and how they relate to the project.
- Identifies key competitors and can describe their differences
- Can present the key benefits of the product or service in order to steer the buyer towards or away from certain competitive aspects of the change.
- Can present an advisory to buyers about selecting one product or process over another to buyers in order to support their change process and ultimately support the sale of the product and services.
- Creates or enhances competitive strategies to help colleagues win more deals.
Provides the fundamentals for communicating any message to colleagues or buyers using clear, purposeful language, presentation, and demo skills.
- Present to meeting audiences ranging from 2-3 people to 20 people.
- Augments compelling spoken presentations with storytelling and memorable reasoning with either in-person audience engagement or the use of virtual tools in online meetings.
- Can run workshops of at least 10 people taking them on a learning journey with clear results.
- Uses an authentic, knowledgeable and professional manner to connect and communicate with buyers ranging from front line staff, to CxO/Board members.
- Present to large audiences with 20 people or more with clarity and motivation where audience participation is unlikely, usually as a keynote speaker or auditorium style presentation.
Creates an internal and external presence of authentic authority using a multi-channel approach to being a thought leader.
- Curates a professional presence that is frequently updated, relevant to the buyers needs and shows an active participation in thought leadership activities.
- Augments sales and buyer enablement activities with knowledge and thought leadership from others in the industry as well as the buyer’s industry to enable relevant and inspirational change motivation.
- Raises the collective opinion of the company by being exemplary and professional in all internal and external interactions so that the reputation of the company is enhanced by your participation.
Collaborates with others in the team to improve themselves and others while maintaining a strong focus on supporting the performance of the group.
- Absorbs advice from others and works hard to understand how to adopt best practices to achieve the desired outcomes.
- Supports the open discussion of ideas; helps others grow and helps to create a safe space for innovation to flourish.
- Creates opportunities for others to thrive and promotes the success of group initiatives whilst maintaining an exemplary conduct in both listening, collaboration and leadership.
Understands the connection between actions undertaken and outcomes achieved. The return of presales effort is an important part of the delivery of any consultative process, thus content re-use and standard process structure is too.
Looks to re-use material and create standard content to minimize preparation time and maximize time with customers. Manages time to ensure a high quality of engagement.
- Maintains a healthy balance of eagerness to support vs quality of support. Understands that one may often play off against the other.
- Manages their demand gap in order to allow enough time to complete the required tasks for an engagement, and provide buyers with the information they need, at a time they need it.
- Manages their activity gap by using the content created by others to supplement their own tasks while sharing their specialist knowledge with others in order to support them delivering a high standard of service.
- Provides clear and precise timelines and milestones, and keeps to them. Should any deviation be required it should be reasoned and raised well before, not after any deadline.