Newsletter, Volume 5

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Pre-Sales Performance Excellence Newsletter
News By SEs For SEs
Dear Pre-Sales Colleague:
In a tough economy, perhaps conventional wisdom should be challenged.  Are there more effective ways of utilizing your Pre-Sales Engineering resources beyond direct sales?
In This Issue
Tuning Pre-Sales Into the Channel

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    Tuning Pre-Sales Into the Channel

Tough times are also good times to question everything and challenge the status quo.

More and more, we see reason to question conventional wisdom regarding pre-sales operations.  80% of clients we talk with have Sales Engineers (SEs) that are relegated to "demo daemon" roles.  SEs are perceived as a huge expense, fraught with inefficiency, lack of process, organizational inconsistency, and inaccurate forecasting.  If this strikes a chord with you, note our case study to learn how the situation could be much better.

Now, add a shaky economy.  Resources and budget dedicated to the sales force are being called into question, cuts are looming, pre-sales headcount will be scrutinized.  Sales process and performance initiatives will be the first to be eliminated just when you need them the most.

Interestingly, some companies have broken with conventional pre-sales wisdom and will weather the economic storm quite well.  Consider these cases. 

A premier networking solutions company dedicates 5% of its pre-sales engineers (SEs) to supporting partners who generate 90% of their revenues -- 95% of this company's SEs work in direct sales which only accounts for 5% of their total revenue. 

• A $1.8B software solutions company empowers all 100 of its SEs to make Channels SEs equivalently smart, enabling them to generate 70% of the company's revenue.  Every SE constantly mentors and enables 5 Partner SEs (PSEs).  The company co-funds partners to learn the same best practices and sales processes.  Without this "cloning" approach, other companies this size might require at least double the number of SEs.  

It can be argued that there is a huge economy of scale in allocating pre-sales resources to empower the channel.  Clone your SEs.  Make an army of Partner SEs as smart as your own.  Imagine cloning 10 or more direct partner SEs for every 1 of your own SEs.  The larger the army of Partner SEs, the more your pre-sales workload will be absorbed by your partner and the more revenue they will generate on your behalf.  Focusing your pre-sales to become a channel enablement organization has large business potential. Your Channels SEs advance the channel technical relationship in alignment with the strategy of the Channel Sales Rep.  Channels SEs have these primary responsibilities. 

• First, they technically enable Partner SE organizations and occasionally assist them with their strategic deals.

• Second, they assess gaps and excesses in partner coverage from a technical perspective and then recruit and qualify new partners, again, from a technical perspective.

In some organizations, the Channels SE also occasionally plays a supporting role in direct sales activity. 

You can start to appreciate that training Channels SEs to service Partner SEs is quite specialized.  Our unique SEchannels program leverages several of our SE Skills Performance Program principles.  We show Channels SEs how to project manage advancing the channel technical relationship.  A little process goes a long way toward improving pre-sales efficiency, consistency, and forecast predictability for your organization and your partner's.Companies that break from the status quo and take advantage of leveraging SEs to empower their partners will reap the benefits for their entire virtual sales team.


Watch for our April newsletter --

"Pre-sales performance metrics that drive revenue"
Philip Janus
Founder & CTO