Returning From Australia: Understanding the Presales Consultant Role

Melbourne Airport
Melbourne Airport

Quick Note On Travel In Australia

Well, finally back in the states, but not yet home…my flight from Melbourne to Sydney was delayed, causing me to miss my flight to the US on Monday…Lessons learned:

  • Don’t fly Jetstar when you’ve actually got to be somewhere.  I flew JetStar four times this week, back and forth from Sydney and Melbourne.  Each time, I would sit in the airport listening to announcement after announcement of JefStar delays and cancellations.  While the staff seems nice enough, you just can’t count on them.  I am still wondering if they will compensate me for the extra hotel stay and meals.

So I ended up flying out of Sydney on Tuesday…scheduled to be home on Wednesday evening.

The Importance of Presales Consultants

More importantly, we finished up our training class on Friday in Sydney…this class was directed specifically to presales consultants / presales SEs.  Most companies fail to train their presales consultants.  It’s assumed that sales people can sell when they’re hired, so they rarely receive updated sales training – but the role of the presales technical person is more likely to be ignored.  I guess the assumption is that the sales person will take care of the selling part – but that’s wrong thinking.

Presales consultants have a very important role in the sales process.  Teaching sales and marketing skills to presales consultants is a great investment.  In fact, of the many classes I conduct over the course of a year, these attendees seems to be the most appreciative.  It provides clarity to their role and a process to follow in moving the sale forward.

NOTE: You might consider sending your presales people to my upcoming online security sales workshop

In class, I encourage sales people to position their presales technical people as mentors of the client’s IT group.  Rather than having sales people peer with IT, it is better to set up this mentor relationship with people the IT group will look up to.  IT doesn’t tend to look up to sales people simply because they don’t value the sales process.  They value technical insights which sales rarely has.  When sales people try to peer with IT, it leaves the presales person out – positioning them simply as a supporting role, rather than someone to be respected and looked up to.

When the presales person takes on the trusted adviser role with IT, they are advising them on technology and career direction.  IT needs this kind of input. When done correctly, it is valuable to the IT person – far more so than the sales person will ever be.  But it also frees up the sales person to move up in the organization without causing IT to feel like they are going over their head in the sales process.  Some of the comments I received after class:

  • “This is a great way to explain our role.”
  • “Best training I’ve ever received.”
  • “All the training we’ve received has been product oriented up until now…not very helpful.”
  • “This will allow me to play a much more strategic role in the sales process.”
  • “I think I have a better understanding of how I can work to support the sales people.”
  • “If only my sales counterpart understood this – we could really close some business.”
  • “How can we get more of our presales people to understand this?”

It’s been a great trip – I’m looking forward to seeing my family.  Unfortunately, when I landed at LAX this morning, I found that my connecting flight is delayed until 3:30 – getting me home at 11 tonight.  That would be okay, except I have to fly to Chicago at 7:30 am tomorrow…another character building day with the airlines.

© 2013, David Stelzl



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