(a.k.a. Sales Engineering)
PreSales is a sales function that typically exists in B2B technology sales. PreSales Consultants (a.k.a. Sales Engineers) work alongside Sales Representatives (a.k.a. Account Executives) and are responsible for facilitating the technical aspects of the sales process.
So let’s break this down a little further…
In order to facilitate the sale of technology, B2B companies often need product experts on the sales team. Although Account Executives can effectively speak to the product and potentially even demo it, they are responsible for the “Business Win” which is validating that the solution will provide significant ROI to the customer. On the other hand, the role of the Sales Engineer (SE) is to partner with the Account Executive to provide greater product expertise and achieve the “Technical Win.” The technical win is achieved by validating that the solution meets the customer’s technical requirements. Sales Engineers achieve this technical win through the following activities:
Uncover business problems
Find solutions with technology
In other words, PreSales Consultants are problem solvers, innovative thinkers, and technical experts - but you can’t forget that they are also persuasive storytellers and presenters! Unlike other roles that often get labeled as “technical” or “sales” roles, in PreSales, you are a mixture of the two and that’s why the job is so attractive for many folks who are only used to one side of the spectrum.
You might be wondering why you’ve never heard of PreSales before, and that’s probably because PreSales professionals go by many names...
Presales related job titles include:
And many others…
So what else do Sales Engineers do?
Technical Discovery/Scoping: understanding customer challenges and requirements.
To achieve the technical win, it’s important to dive deep into the client’s requirements, needs, and issues. During these conservations, you learn about the client’s existing systems, need for integrations, and other crucial information that may impact how the solution is delivered.
Product Demos: Demonstration of the product or solution you are selling to prospects.
As a PreSales Consultant, you will give a LOT of product demonstrations and have to find creative ways to tailor it to and engage your audience. It’s important to understand who's on the call, what’s their role in the sale, and to find the best way to communicate how your solution can efficiently solve their unique needs.
Technical Validation: Guiding your customer through a pilot or proof-of-concept of the product. Sometimes a demo isn’t enough and a customer may want additional proof before investing in the product. If that’s the case, a PreSales Consultant will often lead or be heavily involved in the proof-of-concept.
Product Feedback: Collaborating with internal Product and Engineering teams to influence product innovation. You will spend your day talking to prospects about the solution, what issues they are trying to solve, and what additional features they want to see in your product. This makes you the perfect candidate to provide feedback to the product and engineering teams as well as give valuable insight to marketing about what might resonate with prospective customers.
PreSales professionals, Sales Engineer, Solutions Consultants (...or whatever else you might call them) are in high demand in technology companies across the globe. Not only is it an engaging career with a wide variety of responsibilities, but the high demand for the unique set of skills required for the role makes it a financially rewarding career too!
Sound like the career for you? Check out the article on How to Land a Job in PreSales.
Mattie Stremic is based out of Nashville, TN. She has her master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from MTSU and previously worked as an HR Program Manager before transitioning careers into PreSales as a Sales Engineer. She most recently graduated from the PreSales Academy's 10-week immersive program and has a passion for helping others make the transition into PreSales. Connect with Mattie on LinkedIn!