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Presales vs. Sales

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It’s clear to all of us: closing a deal is a success. But the deal itself is only part of the process. It’s worth paying attention not only to the deal itself but also to the entire process that leads up to it. 

According to Harvard Business Review, companies that pay special attention to pre-sales procedures achieve a Win Rate (closing deals) of 40-50% when selling to new customers and 80-90% when selling to existing partners.

A quality pre-sales process is like a powerful engine. It drives your sales machine, which in turn generates revenue for you.

From your first contact to the close of the deal, this engine drives your leads down the right path, which in turn increases your overall sales conversion rate.

Let’s take a look at how to get your agency processes right. But first, let’s define what is pre-sales, and what are the specifics of pre-sales vs. sales.

What is pre-sales?

Pre-sale is a set of activities that precede the actual closing of the deal. The main goal of pre-sale is to achieve a deal on favorable conditions for the company and the client. The pre-sale functions consist of:

  • Analysis of the technical potential of the company on condition that the client states clear requirements;
  • Search for an individual solution for each customer that meets their requirements;
  • Optimization of the sales process by establishing contacts between the representatives of the implementing company and the customer;
  • Setting a correct price for the product based on a plan for performing all the necessary work;
  • Closing the deal (the right pre-sale allows the sales manager to close the deal).

It is important to keep in mind that pre-sale is not necessary at all sales process stages. It will be most effective during:

  • Getting to know the product. The specialist has time to get to know the interests of potential customers.
  • Assessing the company’s capabilities. Knowing the customer’s pain points, the manager will be able to find more ways to interact with them.
  • Presentations to the customer. Knowing the preferences and problems of the target audience, the manager will be able to present the product in the most beneficial way.
  • Closing the deal. At this stage, the manager, knowing the qualities of the product and the needs of the client, can offer the customer the most favorable conditions, which most often have no negative consequences for the company.

Why do you need pre-sale activities

The right pre-sale activities can make it much easier to work and ensure optimal performance at a high level, which will benefit sales and marketing departments’ productivity.

That said, your sales team simply may not have the leads they need to generate revenue consistently. And that’s exactly what a well-designed pre-sale process can provide.

Pre-sales vs. sales

Although pre-sales and sales work in tandem, they are completely different.

For example, pre-sale focuses on in-depth research, analysis, and preparation of potential leads. And only after the potential customer becomes a real one, s/he reach the sales department to close the deal. And there s/he becomes part of the sales process.

Simply put, pre-sale is the foundation for sales.

For the most successful sales, the sale and pre-sale teams should be in close contact with each other, and their processes should overlap. That way, they can develop the most promising opportunities and create the most winning offers.

In doing so, creating an integrated sales process becomes important. This is necessary to allocate resources to the right people at the right time. In this way, everyone involved in the process will have all the prerequisites for success.

Pre-sale activities may include:

  • Lead qualification
  • Research and client analysis
  • Developing a buyer persona
  • Discovery calls
  • Creating presentations
  • RFP and proposal development

Sales activities may include:

  • Sales calls and client meetings
  • Follow-ups
  • Contract negotiation
  • Closing
  • Relationship building
  • Lead qualification

Qualifying leads is one of the most important pre-sales activities. Your pre-sales infrastructure can make your work more efficient and successful. Cold calls, research, communication with potential customers through different channels, and other activities at this stage help to quickly determine the prospect of a particular lead and facilitate the work of your sales team.

  • Cold calls

Another important task of the pre-sales team is cold calls. These are initial conversations with potential customers, the purpose of which is to find out how interested they are in purchasing your services or products and what influences their interest. Understanding these things allows you to create the most quality and thoughtful offers possible.

  • Creating presentations

An important point to remember: Your pre-sale team must have someone who can create quality presentations based on the information gathered in the previous two activities. It is important to convey the unique value proposition to your potential customer in the most convincing way possible. And so your presentations should be as accurate, practical, and engaging as possible.

  • RFP and proposal development

Several people on your pre-sale team, if possible, should have an in-depth understanding of the solution and its application. These people end up being a great support for RFP and proposal development, which usually requires a customized approach and detailed technical knowledge.

  • Competitor research

As a support to the sales department, the pre-sales team must supply it with detailed information about your competitors and a comparative analysis of your product or service with theirs. They delve into competitors’ prices, customer base, products and services, performance, and more to develop the best and most compelling offer possible.

  • Client analysis

It’s up to your pre-sales department to make sure that the sales department understands the client and why they are selling to them. Customer analysis is a great way to help with this. It can be done in many different ways: personal chats, surveys, studying their data in open channels, and much more to better understand your potential customer.

  • Developing a buyer persona

With enough information about a potential client, you can assemble a buyer persona.  This is a detailed portrait of your ideal client. Remember the Pareto Principle? The ideal clients are the same 20% of your clients who generate 80% of all profits. If you divide this 20% by five, you can identify a group of 4% of clients who will give more than 60% of the entire company’s profits. This is the elite of your clients. Based on the study of these small groups, client personas are developed. They will then help the sales team develop a quality sales strategy.

Now, let’s find out how sales and pre-sales processes can interact.

Pre-sales processes

Qualifying leads

Having obtained potential clients through marketing activities, the pre-sales team can qualify leads by looking for those who are actually suitable for offering a deal. This can be done either by analyzing their behavior or by making simple calls.

At this stage of the process, you need to find out what the potential customer needs, whether your services or product covers those needs when they want to make the deal, whether they have an adequate budget, etc. 

Proposal preparation and positioning

At this stage, it is necessary to prepare an offer that best covers the potential customer’s needs, as well as meets the brand goals. At this time, it is the job of the pre-sales team to prepare leads for negotiations with the sales team to close the deal.

After the previous stage, the pre-sales team already understands the client’s needs and pain points. Now the deal has every chance for success. At the end of this stage, the sales team steps in to lead the client to close the deal.

Sales processes 

Contract negotiation and closing the deal

Although the sales team collaborates extensively with the pre-sales team at the start of working with the lead, they need to stay in close communication and get all the data about the potential customer and the deal’s status during the whole process. This is the only way the sales team can close the deal.

There are times when, after receiving an offer, there may be a need for additional negotiation. In this case, both teams can work together throughout the phase to develop the most successful solution. At the end of all this work, the sales team can finally close the deal.

Implementation and support

Once all deal terms have been negotiated and agreed upon, the sales and pre-sales teams can continue their collaboration to support the successful implementation of the service or product for the customer. And even more than that: if the customer requires follow-up support for the product, the sales team often becomes the liaison between the customer and the support team.

In addition, throughout these processes, the pre-sales team can research and identify those parts of the product or service that require continuous improvement. In this way, they can optimize the sales funnel for future deals.

In short, the pre-sales procedures are just as important as the actions during the sale. In this case, a correctly identified need can be closed just by a joint effort. If your sales and pre-sales teams work together, supporting each other at various stages of their processes, your agency will succeed and close successful deals.

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