IT has transformed beyond recognition over the past few decades and even looking back as recently as five years, the change is significant.
This evolution has seen IT change from servers, LAN and PCs to a sprawling empire of dynamic infrastructure, applications and ubiquitous connectivity. Technology is no longer seen as a vehicle for productivity, but a vital component of the business.
There is a recognition that a connected workforce, better use of data and artificial intelligence can transform existing processes, open up new markets and make employees more productive.
Organisations are at different stages of their digital transformation journey, but several elements can enable it.
As a result, the role of Presales within the IT Provider / MSP world is changing at an alarming rate, and finding/attracting such talent an ever-growing challenge.
Picture the scene. The big presales meeting is all set with the prospect to translate your clients business challenges into a well-defined technology-based solution
The sales guys have warmed the client up and sold the dream.
In the room are the CTO, COO and CFO, who are cautiously reviewing a shortlist of four of your strongest competitors. Then, up steps your pre-sales architect, your MVP. Over the next 40 mins, they wow your client with a proposed solution that makes your tech shine, answers all of your client’s RFI questions and then some, and blows the competition out of the running.
Result: the deal is closed, bonuses awarded and a Champagne celebration ensues.
Of course, enjoying this little vignette of success depends on that excellent presales professional, but it’s getting as hard to find them as it is to close a major deal. We’ll outline the problem, what you can do to hire effectively and how at Perfect People can help.
The reason you’re struggling to find that valuable presales professional is two-fold: they are a rare breed of sales and tech skills and expertise, and naturally, competition for them in this healthy market is fierce.
Compounding the problem is the devastating impact a wrong hire can be. In fact, you can spend two years overcoming the wrong hire, ruining team dynamics and setting back your entire sales pipeline.
What to Look for
Over the years, we’ve realised which blend of the four key ingredients each team or project need. You might not get someone who’s a ninja in all four but at least three, they are:
* Tech knowledge and passion
* Tech / Biz Bridge
* Great communicator
* Thrive on relationships
In essence, what you’re looking for is someone with the heart of
a salesperson and the head of an IT Professional.
Tech Knowledge and Passion
Productive Presales people are passionate about technology; their interest in technology will usually extend beyond their job. They’ll regularly be reading about their industry and keeping abreast of the latest developments. They are curious about their field and associated fields, always looking for links between emerging trends.
The Bridge Between Tech and Business
A passion for technology only gets you so far; true value only comes when benefits for the people and businesses are realised. A great presales person cares about how your clients use the tech solution; they understand the value it brings both at human and commercial level. If your solution saves money or increases revenue/efficiency, they’ll know how to explain that persuasively to both your team and your clients.
Crucially, your presales person must be a great communicator. To excite, persuade and sell complex solutions, they should be masters of these comms skills:
* Adapt and maintain the right level of detail depending on the audience, e.g. able to switch between stories and detail between an SME, CFO, CTO or even a CEO.
* Translate complex solutions into simple and compelling stories.
* Help their clients imagine a world with their solution by drawing on success stories from similar clients.
* Make a presentation interactive, managing the room and engaging all audience members.
* Challenge a client by teaching them something they didn’t know, giving a client a fresh perspective and expanded thinking. E.g. with the advent of SaaS models, you may need to challenge the way clients view investment.
* Carry out the discovery effectively, researching clients and their industries, and drilling down into business problems to develop a strong understanding.
* Encourage an audience to ask questions, handling objections where appropriate without losing the flow of their presentation.
Thrive on Relationships
Capable Presales professional build an extensive network of relationships and have strong relationships with both clients and partners. They also have strong connections within their own company, and are loved by the Sales guys – always being invited to support the sales pitches.
An excellent Presales Engineer draws on his/her network for information, ideas and helps to be effective. They know investing in relationships will give them insights and stories they can share with clients, prospects and co-workers.
The very best Presales professionals have a strong reputation in their sector, so, you’d expect them to have a following and be speaking at events such as Cloud Expo, IP Expo.
This kudos gives them a certain authority and presence when they go to meet your clients. These days, customers will look you up on LinkedIn beforehand, and you want them to be excited to meet you.
At Perfect People, over 50% of our business focuses upon building relationships with Presales professionals working in the IT / Modern Infrastructure Channel.
We are experts at sounding out the traits to define the best presales professionals and also advising those with the correct traits how to make the transition into a presales career.
How does this benefit our clients and candidates:
As we are continually building relationships within this market, we have a vast pipeline of exceptional candidates waiting for the right opportunity to make a move, which enables us to move swiftly in a highly targeted fashion.
The team at Perfect People are experts within Modern Infrastructure – Cloud, Datacentre, Enterprise Networking Collaboration and Mobility across all of the major vendors operating in this space.
Find out how Perfect People can improve your sales with great Presales professionals: