What Is Presales? Definition, Roles and Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Presales refers to sales activities carried out before customer acquisition that have a significant impact on the company's bottom line and performance. Using effective sales strategies, companies convert customers, enhance their customer experience and improve their client relationship. As many jobs use the presales process, learning more about the presales and job roles related to this sector can help you decide if a career in presales is a viable option for you.

In this article, we answer what presales is, explore its importance, discover different presales roles, skills required for a successful presales job and steps to use a presales process.

Related: What Is Inside Sales (Including Advantages and Disadvantages)

What is presales?

Presales is a set of sales-related activities that occur before or during the sales cycle. These activities can include any process that you perform to convert a lead or prospect into a paying customer. It includes customer research, data analysis, lead qualification and sales prospecting. Presales can help companies streamline their sales processes and improve relationships with prospective and existing customers. Usually, a presale professional works with customers or clients and helps a business identify their requirements to devise sales strategies and increase the probability of converting a prospect into a lead.

Also, these professionals can analyse the customer need and change their products or services to meet the customer's requirements. While any company can use the presales process, technology and B2B companies use this process to customise and tailor products based on customer requirements.

Importance of presales

Presales is an essential step in the sales cycle because it helps customers move down the sales process. This process helps a customer understand how a particular product or service would solve their business problem. As the process primarily focuses on qualifying leads and gathering client information, sales professionals have more time to close a deal and build a long-lasting relationship with a customer. Typically, presales occur at the beginning of the sales process and this ensures that businesses have all the information they need to create strategies.

What is a presales role?

Some common presales roles are:

Presales engineers

Presales engineers or technical engineers are professionals who are technically skilled members of an IT sales team. They understand and draw up a customer requirement and recommend the right products or services to their customers. These professionals analyse the existing product or services and help a company develop solutions that resonate with the audience's requirements. Managers often rely on presales engineers to provide accurate customer information and requirements during a sales meeting.

As this role requires a professional to think analytically to develop viable solutions, employers prefer presales engineers with excellent technical and analytical thinking. Some common job responsibilities of a presales engineer are:

  • pitch solutions to a customer and explain all the features and benefits of a particular product or service

  • prepare cost estimates and technical proposals such that it meets client's requirement

  • help sales executives during the technical presentations

  • respond to a request for information (RFIs) or request for proposals (RFPs) from customers

  • determine the technical requirement to meet customer goals

Presales consultants

Presales consultants analyse the market, run different focus groups and create pitches for sales consultants based on the information at hand. While the job-specific duties of a sales consultant may vary from company to company, they act as sales support throughout the sales process. Some typical job responsibilities for this job role are:

  • create sales pitches for the sales team

  • assist the sales team in qualifying potential customers

  • analyse market potential before launching any product or service

  • provide knowledge support to the entire sales team

Skills of presales professionals

Presales professionals are an important asset for the sales team and a business. These professionals require hard and soft skills to excel in their careers. Some common skills to master for a successful career are:

Communication skills

The ability to take complicated products and services and present them easily to customers is an essential skill required to become a successful presale professional. They require written and communication skills to create sales presentations and verbal communication skills to present ideas and speak confidently. Having excellent communication skills is essential to find solutions and collaborate with others.

Analytical skills

These professionals require strong analytical skills to evaluate markets and understand customer requirements. They use their analytical skills to align a customer problem with its offering to build a suitable technical solution. This ensures that presales professionals can offer a suitable solution to a customer.

Teamwork skills

Presales professionals work closely with the sales team to build relationships with customers. These professionals usually work in a team and never operate in silos. Also, as they have deep knowledge of a company's products or services, they create RFPs and RFIs. This can help other professionals close business deals.

Problem-solving skills

A presales expert actively listens to their customer's problems before suggesting a viable solution to solve their problem. Listening to your customers and finding a problem from their conversation is essential for this job role. Employers prefer candidates who can recommend immediate solutions because it increases customer trust and significantly affects the bottom line.

Strategic thinking skills

Presales professionals craft compelling sales pitches and viable solutions using their strategic thinking skills. They use this skill set when discussing the marketing strategy with sales and marketing teams. Also, the ability to tailor solutions based on a customer's problem requires excellent strategic thinking.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)

How to use the presales process

Follow these steps to use the presales process:

1. Find prospective customers

The first step in using this process is shortlisting leads who can convert to potential customers. Often, presales professionals use sales software and digital technologies to generate more leads. Conducting market analysis and scrutinising the data can also help them determine whether a lead would convert to a potential customer.

2. Contact customers

After determining your prospective customer, the next step is contacting them. A presales professional uncovers the customer requirement and develops solutions based on it. The information they gather from their conversation with a customer can help a sales team create an interesting and personalised value proposition.

3. Prepare a customer proposal

After identifying and confirming a lead, presales professionals draft a proposal outlining the customer's priorities and solutions that the sales team developed. It is the phase where a customer moves to the next stage of the sales process. This step aims for the presales and sales professionals to collaborate and position the product or service as a suitable solution.

4. Provide transactional support

While a presale professional focuses only on moving the potential lead to the bottom of the sales process, they can help in customer retention. These professionals may continue to work with their sales team to ensure customer satisfaction. In this step, a presales professional can follow up with customers and manage their feedback to build a long-lasting business relationship.

Is presales a good career?

Yes, presales is a good and promising career choice because it offers a great learning experience and lucrative remuneration. The average salary of a presales engineer is ₹8,00,000 per year and the average salary of a presales consultant is ₹12,00,000 per year. As you generate new business for a company, you may interact and build relationships with existing and prospective clients. It is a good and dynamic career choice for someone who prefers to interact and communicate with new people.

What is the difference between presales and sales?

Presales refers to the sales process carried out before closing a business deal. Sales refer to the activities that result in the selling of products and services. This may include qualifying a prospect, making discovery calls, performing product or service demos, qualifying leads and creating business proposals. Typically, the process in presales occurs toward the top of the sales process. This may include connecting with a client, qualifying and setting goals, demonstrating value and closing the deal. It is the process that occurs just after the presales process.

Related: What Is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

What is the difference between presales and post-sales?

Presales involve analysing the marketing and understanding the needs and requirements of a customer to provide solutions before a company creates a formal contract. Post-sales is the process that occurs after a customer signs a contract and makes a purchase. It involves evaluating the experience of a customer that follows after-sales. Companies use these experiences to assess the performance of their products and recommend their products to the customer's network. It may involve providing maintenance and customer support services to ensure customer satisfaction.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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