Imagine if there was no Salesforce for Sales teams, Atlassian for developers, or Marketo for marketing people. That’s essentially what the situation was for PreSales teams just a few years ago: this extraordinarily important, strategic group of people didn’t have a solution designed for them. Instead, they had to cobble their work together using custom solutions and spreadsheets.
Yet this underserved group of people is one of the most important and strategic personas in B2B sales. Often misunderstood as being the demo jockeys, the PreSales team exercises a powerful influence over the sales team’s ability to generate pipeline and close business. They’re the ones whom today’s sales-proof buyers actually trust – the ones with deep product knowledge, who can guide potential customers and help them realize their unique use cases.
And companies can’t hire them fast enough.
The Power of PreSales
A PreSales team delivers powerful advantages to companies such as these, enabling organizations to:
- Create a seamless alignment between research and development (R&D) and sales, ensuring that product gaps articulated by potential buyers are tied to revenue and quickly forwarded to the product team for action
- Deliver expertise throughout the purchasing cycle, providing accountability and transparency
- Enable buyers to understand product capabilities as quickly as possible
- Ensure an uninterrupted transition to post-sales, where value is readily realized by the customer
In many respects, due to their desire to gain quick value and full autonomy in the purchasing process, buyers are far more invested in their relationship with their PreSales team members than their account executive. As a result, it’s PreSales who are the best equipped to deliver an outstanding Buyer Experience.
I ran the PreSales team at Zuora through our multi-billion dollar IPO, and I knew what an untapped resource they were – and how today’s buyers really only trust and respond to the solution expertise that they offer. That’s why I created the industry’s first Buyer Experience (BX) platform, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies meet the demands of the sales-proof buyer from initial interest through evaluation, purchase decision, and ongoing expansion.
Our flagship product, Hero, helps PreSales leaders run their teams as a business with critical data and insights, enhances the sales forecast with an AI-powered Hero Score, and aligns the field and product through insights captured by PreSales in the field.
Our second product, Eval, enables companies to partner with buyers in hands-on evaluations with transparency and trust. Additional products are also on the horizon.
Case Study: Puppet Puts PreSales at the Center of Influence
A terrific example of how PreSales can benefit from a platform built for their needs can be found in one of Vivun’s enterprise customers, Puppet. Puppet is an automation company that delivers, secures, and operates infrastructure and applications via infrastructure-as-code.
Their Worldwide VP of PreSales, Martyn Storey, was seeking a consistent and effective PreSales process across regions, as well as visibility into what was successful so he could effectively use data when coaching the team. He also wanted a quantifiable way to show their perspective in the sales forecast.
Puppet has highly technical products—we needed to raise the strategic profile of our PreSales team members and make their voices heard. We have a technical view of each opportunity that our account executive counterparts don’t have, and that perspective can be enormously influential on the sales commit for the quarter.Martyn Storey, Puppet
And finally, Martyn wanted a way to provide Puppet’s R&D teams with insights on product gaps. Martyn knew that his team was capturing priceless product information at the moment that the prospect gave feedback during the buying process, but he wanted to ensure that his company was having a data-driven way to have a conversation about the product roadmap.
Rather than having product discussions be led by the loudest voice in the room, we wanted to provide better data back to the Product team.Martyn Storey, Puppet
With their team using Vivun, Puppet has seen dramatic results. The automated activity capture in Hero now provides Puppet with a real-time view of PreSales involvement.
We can now clearly see the proof of concepts (POC) and pilots the PreSales team is running, and how much time the team is spending across internal and external meetings. We know what patterns lead to successful outcomes, and I can coach my team accordingly.Martyn Storey, Puppet
In addition, PreSales-specific stages and the Hero score enable Puppet PreSales to bring their technical perspective to the sales forecast.
We discuss Hero Scores from Vivun alongside CRM scores during the forecast to ensure our PreSales team members and account executives are aligned on every deal.Martyn Storey, Puppet
With regards to aligning the field team with the product team, integrations with Salesforce and Jira enable customer feedback to be efficiently circulated across Puppet. Their Product, Engineering, and Customer Success teams are all able to review product gaps logged in Hero – and the revenue impact of product gaps is clearly visible to all those teams.
Martyn is able to put real numbers on having this kind of data.
Before, product feedback was anecdotal and now it’s real. Having regular conversations around the data we’ve gathered in Vivun has been unbelievably helpful for us—it’s brought the sales engineering and R&D teams closer together and yielded an immense amount of actionable insight. Just to give one example: by capturing product gaps with Vivun, we discovered that a single feature request was impacting $1.1M in revenue across three customers. We raised this to our product team, and R&D agreed to close the gap.”Martyn Storey, Puppet
Hearing this kind of ROI from customers is incredibly gratifying for me. It validates the initial vision I had for Vivun, which is to rescue PreSales leaders from the kind of unsupported, unloved environment I often found myself in when I was building and scaling my own global team at Zuora. And with over 130 customers, a recent series C round led by Salesforce Ventures, and a Cool Vendor award from Gartner, I know that Vivun is just beginning our journey to unlock the true strategic potential of PreSales, and empower them to deliver incredible Buyer Experiences.