Newsletter, Volume 7

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                                                 News by SEs for SEs

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Dear Pre-Sales Colleague:

Even SEnior SEs SEldom know it all.  To win bigger deals faster, SEs have the ability to impact four key pre-sales operational performance metrics:  The # of qualified deals they work on, solution list price, technical win rate, and the time to achieve a technical decision.  

Below we SErmonize over SEven SErried SEnsible SEcrets to SE SErvitude that impact theSE SE metrics.

SEeking SEven Common SEnSE SE SEcrets
1)  Qualify, Qualify, Qualify.  Do not make assumptions like a SEer at a SEance.  SEarch for SEmaphores of an unSErious prospect.  Every minute of every day ask yourSElf, "Do I know what I don't know?".  Is there a lack of quantified business pain or need, a funded project or initiative, or decision timeframe?  SEs have as much a role in determining qualification as the Sales Reps do.  SEcond guess yourSElves if any SEgments of qualification SEssions SEem SEcond rate.  
2)  SEarch for SEvere Business Pain.  "We need to improve performance" IS NOT pain.  SEw What?  Pain is the quantified impact on their business and/or their job.  "Last quarter, poor page SErvice time resulted in 10% fewer web site orders worth $12.5M."  That's Pain!  The more pain you find, the more you can grow the deal by SEeding it with more SErvices, SEats, and products.

3)  Quantified Value.  As a SEgue to #2, if you don't know the quantified business impact, it is impossible to establish value.  If your solution costs $100k, how much pain is your solution addressing?  The larger the gap between your price and their quantified pain, the more likely they will make a decision.  Help SEal the deal by SEnding them SEveral powerful quantified value messages in your customer demos, pitches, emails, voice mails, closing events, etc.
4)  WiSEly SEize Your Time.  SEs who are SErfs or SErvants to their Sales Reps provide little value to the business.  Every minute of every day ask yourSElf, "Is this a good uSE of my time?".  Always prioritize your time.  When SEesaw time conflicts ariSE, don't SEethe, instead perSEvere by asking the reps involved to help you SEt priorities baSEd on revenue potential and up-side.  The only way to SEe SEnSE in the chaos is to SEcure control of your time.
5)  Win Faster.  Every minute of every day ask, "How can I win faster?".  Can you be more efficient?  The answer is almost always "yes".  If you think it's going to take 12 weeks to get a technical decision, can you get it in 10?  8?  Improving the technical decision time 4 weeks gives you 4 weeks to work on other deals.  
Also, apply engineering technique and structure to the pre-sales role such as structured analysis, qualification checklists, stakeholder prioritization models, and collaborative reviews.  Document the deal to share success and failure with your peers and other departments.  Divide-and-conquer the work with your rep.  Regularly practice best practices to avoid backsliding.  As an SE Skills Improvement Program can measurably show, a little process can go a long way toward operational efficiency.
6)  Give Stakeholders What They Need to Make Faster Decisions.  Analyze the stakeholder's personality and risk tolerance.  SElect them into SEparate SEctions of decision making.  For example, an Analytic personality needs facts to make a decision, whereas a Type-A needs results.  A ConSErvative might be scared off by a futures pitch while a Visionary might embrace it.
SEven)  SEll, SEll, SEll.  SElling is Job 1.  Win bigger deals faster.  Impact the four key metrics by letting the above best practiSE SEries SEep into your daily activities -- DemoSE, preSEntations, web SEminars, emailSE, voice mailSE, RFP responSEs, proof-of-conSEpt reports, etc.  
Now, how many "SE"s were in this newsletter?  And "Is that a good use of your time?"
Our sinSEere SEntiment is that a SEquel for SCs, AEs, FEs, FTEs, and TMs would not SEem as SEnile.


Philip Janus
Founder & CTO