At a time when CEOs are in a constant quest for growth, there is a promising but often overlooked opportunity available close to home: presales. Presales provides a specific set of activities that lead to qualifying, bidding on, winning, and renewing a deal. Companies with strong presales capabilities consistently achieve win rates of 40-50% in new business and 80-90% in renewal business. Presales requires a dedicated team of experts split into roughly two-thirds for technical activities and one-third for commercial activities. Souping up the presales engine can yield a 6–13% improvement in revenue and a 10–20% improvement in the speed of moving prospects through the sales process. Despite this level of potential impact, presales don’t get much airtime in the C-suite—even though it gets a significant chunk of company resources, typically accounting for 30–50% of the overall commercial headcount.
If you’d like to take better advantage of presales, here are some key approaches on how to do it.
Identifying Leads. Today’s best-practice organizations rely on advanced analytics to identify opportunities early in the sales cycle and prioritize the most desirable ones. They use techniques such as propensity-to-buy modeling, micro-market targeting, account-level opportunity assessment,and churn prediction to separate the high-probability opportunities from the rest.
Submitting Bids. Develop a staffing approach that will give an at-a-glance picture of the skillsets of presales staff a quarter out. It simplifies its bid review and approval process and institutes a mechanism that allows key account managers to provide recommendations to the presales team immediately following a bid submission. This helps companies anticipate 30 percent more “must-win” deals.
Closing Deals. The key to closing deals is presales’ ability to shape conversations with the client. This approach is about investing the time to have a deep understanding of the client’s needs and highlighting those elements of the solution that can address them.
Renewing Deals. The best companies have presales teams that are active after the sale as well. They can accelerate sales by anticipating what will trigger a renewal and standardizing tools to ensure best practices across the sales team. Top-notch presales teams can help advance from anticipating customer needs to predicting them with greater precision, recommending what the sales force should sell to specific customers.
Miraworks helps IT teams streamline presales process by automating IT infrastructure estimation, design, and proposals generation leading to a 35% run-rate and 9% revenue growth.
When it comes to driving sales growth, quality trumps quantity. And that requires companies to improve the quality of their presales engine.