Is Presales a Good Career Opportunity in IT?
Most of the industry folks think, every new deal/project won by any organization is result of their smart sales team. However, there are multiple teams who contribute behind the scene to bring in new projects/deals for your organization. Presales is one of those team who contribute significantly to win any deal. Here, I will describe presales basics and its online training courses so you can have a better understanding about this domain.
What is Presales in IT?
Pre-sales team work hard to accomplish the client requirement which includes Solutioning, Costing, Resourcing, Presentation etc. There are dedicated, passionate and Technical Presales resources behind every deal won by any organization.
These days Presales has been providing very fascinating and promising career prospects in IT/ITes. Maximum beginners are not aware of this career option. It’s not mandate to be an MBA for starting your career as presales consultant but it’s always an added advantage.
Presales resources are individual contributor and work closely with sales teams. The focus of Presales job profile is essentially in gathering requirement, running feasibility checks, design and build solutions.
Effective career as pre-sales consultant is a blend of technology and finance, as an Individual contributor this team is part of CoE (Center of excellence) in many organization.The basic job of pre-sales folks is to understand client requirement from a business standpoint is significant and then leveraging your writing, presenting and designing skills to stich the solution into a proposal.
The nature of the job is so dynamic that every Request for Information (RFI), Request for proposal (RFP) comes with new challenges and set of prerequisite, so need humans to analyze and manage the client requirement. Hence the presales job cannot be automated or done by robots but there is always a scope of automation that can be done at process or task level.
Presales Job Responsibilities
The benefits Pre-Sales resources get in front of client is that they can show actual expertise on the products or solutions they sell. Below are the list of responsibilities an organization expects from a Presales resource:
- Main responsibilities of Pre-Sales executives are to design a cost effective and competent solution that captures client requirement. Showcase your company achievements, experience and position in providing best quality service.
- A Presales consultant need to present customer finest solution which covers their need and future aspects considering market trend and forecast.
- Sales executives generally don’t have the forte in solution, hence Presales Team needs to be vigilant in designing solution which fulfill client requirement as well as be cost effective and bring profit to their organization. It’s not just about winning deal it’s more about increasing company revenue.
- Presales consultant mostly need to be assertive for a constructive conflict with sales and delivery team both, and at times in some exceptional cases with the customer as well.
- The Pre-Sales must have good content writing skills.
- Presales accountability should be taken very serious as final scope of work(SOW) gets documented by Presales guys that becomes Bible for delivery and customer teams.
Read below article If you are preparing for a Presales Job Interview.
Understanding Terminology used in Pre-Sales
Request for Information (RFI)
This is the first stage of any deal. Many Organization release RFI to understand their vendor eligibility to fulfill their project/deal/job requirement. In RFI documents client/customer may ask any of the following information to decide the eligibility criteria:
- Technical expertise
- Financial history
- Overall User base
- Technical Questionnaire
- Regional constraints
- Best possible Recommendation based on client requirement
It’s Presales Team who respond to RFI’s and make your organization eligible to bid for RFP’s. RFI’s response need to be crisp and to the point so that customer shortlist your company for next stage of bidding which is called Request for proposal (RFP)
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Once client will shortlist your organization during RFI process, you will be qualified for this stage known as Request for Proposal (RFP). Any company who wishes to hire/outsource/contract any piece of job/activity/project leveraging different vendors in market release their requirement in the form of RFP. The RFP contain all information related to client requirement such as:
- Eligibility criteria for vendors
- Submission dates
- Client Requirements
- Selection procedure
- Confidentiality, Legal Terms and Conditions
- Regional constraint
- Quotations request details
- Presentation request
- Submission doc type in word document or Powerpoint presentation
Post successful bidding client will declare the deal Winner and as a final stage of process SOW needs to be signed between the customer and the successful Vendor who had won the deal.
Analyzing client requirement for a deal/job/project/contract to enhance client business so that they can meet market demands, equipped with latest trend & technology. The IT/third party/vendors /outsourcings firms provide optimal, cost effective resolution/ products/services to solve the concerns/hurdles of client. Presales resources analyze client requirements and convert that requirement in to best possible solution. They plan, design and build a layout document or powerpoint presentation to showcase the solution. Solutioning comes under RFP stage.
Every Deal/project/RFP have some budget. As per the type of deal client ask for quotes to deliver project in certain duration. The outsourcing company will provide cost for the job/activity in which the project would be completed. This includes complete budget plus margin to recover company expenses. Costing is part of RFP stage.
Costing includes the following:
- Travel expenses
- Asset procurement
- Software License cost
- Any Trainings
Sizing means number of resources required to finish the project/job/activity. Sizing is the most crucial part of Pre-Sales, you must identify number of FTE (Full Time Employees) needed for respective technology, their tenure, total numbers and their Trainings need to finish the project on deadlines. In some cases, it also includes additional time for KT (Knowledge Transfer) and Reverse KT if needed.
For any deal/project/job there is a need of governance layer, who can manage any client escalation, communication along with entire project delivery management. The Governance layers will always be shared resources as they can manage multiple projects at one time. There could be some dedicated project managers depending upon the deal size and complexity.
Scope of Work (SOW)
Final stage of bidding for any contract/outsourcing/project is signing SOW. SOW is detailed document that clearly defines the following
- Roles and Responsibility between the client and the Vendor
- Details project plan
- Project timelines
- Terms and Condition (Legal)
- Knowledge transfer plan
- Project kick off dates
- Travel plan If any
- Contract signed as mutually agreed between partner and client
Presales Technical Skills Requirement
Person should have very good knowledge about overall IT infrastructure architecture or about your vertical. Apart from this you should have:
- Domain knowledge
- Ability to understand Client Requirement
- Content writing
- Good communication & presentation skills
- Good Knowledge of Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Visio, Excel & word)
Presales Training Courses
We live in Internet age so we have lot of options to learn any technology on Internet. These days you don’t need to buy a physical book to learn anything. You can get lot of study materials available over internet that will be helpful to learn any subject.
Udemy is one of the website that promotes digital learning. They have more than 40000 online video courses that anybody can use to learn as per their interest. I have also found one of the very good Presales course on Udemy. You can click on below link to directly access this course.
Who should join Presales?
Presales is very promising field with lucrative remuneration and appreciation from management. You will help generating new business for your organization which will give you all the attention needed. Considering the above-mentioned facts if you really decided to join presales it’s important to be focus on below mentioned points:
- Passionate about Technology to pursue presales as career
- Good listener and reminisce it
- Can work under pressure as mostly they had to deal with short fused deals
- Can deal and manage communication with diverse workforce
- Decent content writer is essential part of presales
- Continuous Skill development and Sound knowledge of emerging trends and technology is must
- Decent knowledge on Costing and Finances
- An Assertive leader to deal with delivery teams
- Positive Attitude to manage success and failure graciously.
- Virtuous negotiator
Who should NOT join Presales?
Presales job will come with lots of responsibility and challenges. If you don’t like new change every day than you may not like the dynamic presales filed. The nature of this job is high pressure on delivering right solution at right time. It’s very crucial how you deal with win and miss deals. So please consider below facts before thinking of presales as career option:
- Don’t like Dynamic job with multiple skills
- Don’t enjoy working under pressure
- Don’t enjoy Writing & making Powerpoint presentations
- Don’t like sudden change
- Don’t like travel
- Don’t enjoy long hours calls
- Casual Attitude
Experience needed to become Solution Architect (SA) in IT?
Generally, 5+ years in IT industry which includes domain knowledge of at least 2 years. Multi-skills and good learners’ folks can enjoy this challenging role that will give you lucrative salary and Bonus along with recognition among all teams and higher management. You can consider Presales as your career option if you have all above mentioned skills and qualities.