The new B2B era
Over the past decade, the landscape of product development and go-to-market strategies has undergone a profound transformation. Ten years ago, your product and go-to-market model were characterized by simplicity and straightforwardness. The product roadmap followed a periodic update approach to address the evolving needs of the target audience. Meanwhile, the marketing team worked diligently to articulate unique value propositions and generate leads, and the sales team skillfully qualified these leads, fostering customer loyalty.
Today, however, the buyer has taken center stage in shaping the trajectory of growth strategy. The modern buyer not only seeks a product that meets their needs; they also demand a seamless, hands-on experience that substantiates the value of the product from the start.
So how can companies adapt to this new sales environment? The first – and most critical – step is to take a look at how their sales and product teams are currently operating. Many companies have very disjointed priorities, with these teams often working in silos. The sales team is heads down, focused on closing deals. Product teams are working to ship innovative product updates.
Bridging the gap between sales and product
Organizations that will see the most success in this new era are those that recognize the importance of staying attuned to customer dynamics and are adept at integrating these insights into their product development processes. By fostering a culture of innovation and responsiveness, these organizations can not only meet – but exceed – customer expectations, thereby securing a competitive advantage in an ever-evolving marketplace.
A critical and often underestimated asset is doing this effectively. Your PreSales team, which includes sales engineers (solutions engineers, solutions architects, solutions consultants, systems engineers, customer engineers, pre-sales consultants, technical account managers, applications engineers or field applications engineers) are positioned at the nexus of technical expertise and sales acumen. This team plays a pivotal role in fostering collaboration within the sales team and bringing indispensable technical insights to the broader go-to-market team.
The contribution of the PreSales team extends beyond the confines of the sales department. As the linchpin between sales and product teams, the PreSales team ensures that product features align seamlessly with ever-evolving customer needs. Their unique position allows them to bridge the gap between product offering intricacies and customers’ practical requirements.
In the eyes of your buyers, the PreSales team emerges as an invaluable resource, with Sales Engineers emerging as the preferred conduit for in-depth understanding of your products and services.
Unlocking PreSales’ Superpowers with AI
Today’s PreSales teams have a unique opportunity to expand their roles beyond what they used to be. Buyers want to work with solution experts who understand their business needs, and companies are rapidly growing their PreSales organizations in response. With the right AI-powered tools, PreSales can capture and utilize unique data and insights to drive revenue growth, optimize mundane tasks and encourage companies to align their product roadmaps with the market’s needs.
Tools with AI and machine learning capabilities can efficiently uncover insights into core work-related questions:
Will the deal close? Why/why not? What will improve my closing odds?
- By recommending the best PreSales team members to pursue sales opportunities based on availability, experience and skill set, AI improves resource management and team performance. Further, natural language context provides reasoning for the distribution of resources, and the requestor can further assess an assignee’s skills or ask for alternative recommendations.
Am I focusing on the most appropriate tasks?
- By seamlessly handling routine and time-consuming activities, like data entry, scheduling and document generation, AI empowers technical selling teams to focus on higher-value tasks, including customer interactions, strategy development and solution customization.
What product gaps prevent deals from being closed, and how can we prove that?
- By bundling feature requests, AI analyzes, classifies and creates groupings of product feature requests from prospects and customers to deliver valuable prioritization insights; this supports product teams in delivering a roadmap that’s revenue-centric.
In this era where speed and agility are paramount, the winners are those who invest in PreSales. Sales Engineers provide rapid, precise and tailored technical insights that resonate with customers. It’s time we recognize the pivotal role of PreSales and unleash their potential with new tools purpose-built for this strategic function.
Capturing and aggregating product feedback
In response to the ever-changing sales environment, a new go-to-market strategy will be successful only with insights captured by PreSales. As technical experts with deep knowledge of their market, PreSales teams continually analyze the product-buyer fit. These insights can significantly impact the product roadmap to increase revenues. However, a lack of data means that these requests often go unanswered.
Even in organizations where product-field collaboration prompts customer feedback, the process of doing so can be labor intensive and imperfect. The result? Opportunities are missed due to disorganized, often duplicate, requests from multiple systems and lack of a clear vision of the most important roadmap items.
AI tools, however, enable feedback to be appropriately sorted and presented, and they can uncover trends previously unnoticed.
The bottom line
Today’s buyers expect the buying process to be seamless, and PreSales teams are critical in delivering it. Solutions leaders who can automate everyday tasks and transform data into actionable insights via AI will be able to better manage their teams, align sales and product and get creative in developing best practices that can be duplicated for future sales success.
AI-powered tools can foster this growth, redefine product strategy and positively impact the bottom line.
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