Ultimately the job of technology solution providers is to leverage technology for business outcomes. It might surprise many solution providers that an adequate presales process plays such a vital role in implementing those solutions. Without a solid quote process that leads to a detailed proposal and accurate scope of work (SOW), it’s incredibly difficult to ensure the solution is configured correctly to what the customer needs.
Here are three ways inadequate presales process leads to misconfigured solutions
1. Something Is Omitted
Without a documented presales process that streamlines communication from the prospect to the account
manager (AM) to the sales engineer, it makes it very easy to leave vital parts of the proposal out. Let’s say a customer solution includes 200 workstations. Most of the team and the customer will notice if the proposal only includes 100 workstations. But the supporting infrastructure may be omitted if it wasn’t addressed during the qualification process or communicated to the sales engineer completing the proposal. The key to avoiding this is to have good sales architecture software that has rules to automate items like network infrastructure that supports corresponding phones that will prevent costly omissions in 30 seconds.
2. They Don’t Specify What Is and Is NOT Included in the Solution
The solutions we can offer today are much more sophisticated, but that also means they’re much more complicated. Technologies are highly integrated with one another, and many times you must use multiple manufacturers to achieve the desired outcomes. What’s more, many times customers will get confused about what is and is not included in the solution. Failing to address items that are specifically not included can cause issues starting with implementation. Then the implementation team comes back to the AM who points fingers at the sales engineers. Meanwhile either your customer satisfaction or your profit margin is dwindling fast. The bottom line: these important pieces of the SOW and proposal should not be included as an in-the-moment decision. They should be part of an automated process that is predetermined to ensure every vital piece of the solution is addressed.
3. It Relies on Memory
Because sales engineers are working on many proposals at once, it’s impossible for them to remember everything about every proposal. In addition, many revisions made by the customer or AM often cause a cascade of changes that can get messy, especially when you are several revisions in on a proposal (that is one of many you’re working on). And don’t forget that little variable called human error. We’ve even seen cases where the customer chose one solution and the AM accidentally documented a different solution. This is another reason that a documented and automated presales process is so important: it creates a system of checks and balances to ensure that the solution the customer gets will derive the outcome they need, regardless of how many revisions it goes through.
The key takeaway here is this: the configuration is tied to the proposal. You need an automated and consistent way to address the interdependencies and revisions which will also ensure the proposal leads to a solution that provides the desired outcome.
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