Presales vs. Sales: What’s the Difference?

Every salesperson knows landing a closed-won deal is one of the most important aspects of the job. However, with so much focus on the deal itself, it can be easy to overlook the necessary steps it takes to even reach a successful deal.

When companies place too much emphasis on closing sales without ensuring their teams have the operational support they need, it may hinder their ability to grow in the long run. That’s why having a solid sales operations plan in place is so important for teams looking to bring in more revenue without putting too much pressure on their reps.

For organizations looking to maximize profit in a sustainable way, having a good marketing plan and strong sales reps who are good at closing may not be enough. After all, there are many steps between when a contact engages with a piece of content, and when they sign a finished contract.

In this instance, having a solid presales strategy can make a big difference in your company’s ability to convert customers efficiently.

Presales can be a valuable component of your sales enablement strategy. According to Harvard Business Review, an effective presales strategy can lead to higher conversion rates, 6-13% increase in revenue, and a 10-20% increase in sales velocity.

Essentially, focusing on presales can help your team successfully close more deals in less time.

Key tasks related to presales include:

  • Prospecting
  • Making discovery calls
  • Performing product demos
  • Qualifying leads
  • Drafting proposals

When presales support handles the prospecting and qualifying, ensuring sales closers only work with opportunities who are ready to make the sale, it removes unnecessary friction from the sales pipeline.

Presales Operations

In complex and enterprise organizations, presales activities are typically performed by sales operations and presales support teams, also known as presales operations.

Members of these teams are in constant communication with one another supporting the overall sales process to drive efficiency at the beginning of the sales process.

With this structure, the preseales operations team is tasked with supporting their sales organizations by optimizing processes that identify and position opportunities for conversion.

Once the presales team has taken a deal through the accepted proposal stage, the sales closers then come in to complete the deal that has already been agreed to, and begins the customer on-boarding process to oversee the implementation process and provide any follow-up support needed.

Let’s walk through how presales operations and sales teams work together to land a successful sale.

Presales Processes

Identify Sales Qualified Leads

Once leads have been acquired through marketing, the presales operations team can qualify leads to determine if they are a good fit. They can qualify leads through discovery calls, and/or an analysis of lead behavior.

At this stage in the process, the presales team can determine what the lead is looking for, if the product or service their company is offering is a good fit, when the lead is looking to buy, and if they have the budget and authority to make the purchase. Once this has been determined, they can move to the next stage of the process.

Prepare and Deliver Proposals

Next, the presales team works on delivering a proposal that best suits the prospect’s needs and company goals. At this stage, the presales team is preparing the prospect for their upcoming conversations with the closing sales rep.

By adequately understanding the prospect’s needs, and ensuring the offer truly speaks to what they’re looking for, the deal is in an excellent position for a closed-won result. Once the proposal has been delivered, the closing sales rep enters the process to close out the deal.

Sales Processes

Negotiation and Closing

After the proposal has been delivered, the closing sales rep can prepare to move the process forward. Though they did have an active role earlier in the process, they should have maintained communication with the presales operations team to understand the current state of the deal, and for any pertinent information they need about the prospect to finish closing the sale.

If after the proposal has been delivered there needs to be any additional negotiation or term updates, the sales and presales teams can work together to find the best solution. From there, the sales rep can facilitate final terms and closing.

Implementation and Ongoing Support

When the deal’s terms have been agreed upon, the sales and presales teams can continue working together to support successful implementation of the product for the customer. Additionally, if the customer needs routine maintenance, or follow-up support, the sales team can be point-of-contact.

Throughout the presales and sales processes, the presales team can identify areas of continuous improvement to streamline and simplify the sales funnel for future deals.

With clear communication and an aligned strategy supporting a common goal, presales and sales can work together to benefit a company’s bottom line and continued growth. For more advice on optimizing the efforts of your sales team, check out The Ultimate Guide to Sales Operations.