Technical Pre-sales

Historically it wasn’t always clear who supports the sales team with technical knowledge in the phase before a Customer Solution Team assigns themselves a customer. This is usually important when potential customers ask technical questions that our sales team can’t answer, when dealing with very new or future products, or more complex solutions, or when we need to better understand what challenges the customer wants solved.

In a weekly meeting, we use the collective intelligence of the engineers from our teams to find out what would best fit the requirements of a potential customer or project and what information we’re still missing.

In addition, engineers from all teams reserve some time each week to answer sales technical questions and participate in meetings or pre-sales workshops with the customer.

All of this, we believe, results in a small but very focused effort by the engineers to deliver solutions that better fit the needs of the customer, better fit the strategic and technological direction of VSHN, and that have been designed by engineers from the teams that will eventually build and operate the solution once it’s sold.

Key responsibilities

Weekly meeting
  • Understand requirements in potential deals presented by sales, asking clarifying questions.

  • Discuss options what we want to offer.

  • Discuss whether we want to offer anything in the first place, or for example refer to partners.

  • Review already created offers before they’re sent.

  • Focusing on technology and customer alignment towards our beliefs and goals.

  • Define next steps in unclear cases, for example: Do a workshop with the customer, to find what it’s really about and how we can help.

  • Decide what the reserved slots (see blow) are used for.

Support for sales
  • Teams are available with 2 slots per week, for:

    • Technical per-sales calls or remote meetings with the potential customer

    • Short workshops with the potential customer to learn more, on how we can help.

Dependencies

  • Every Solution Team sends one Senior Engineer into the weekly meeting.

  • Product Management sends one representative into the weekly meeting.

  • Sales organizes and moderates the weekly meeting.

  • Two weeks in advance, every Solution Team announces one 1h and one 2h time slots per week, where a Senior Engineer is available to help.

Risks

  • The engineers helping sales might implicitly become responsible for the customer or project. We’ve to actively avoid this by keeping ownership with sales, until a team takes the customer.

  • Customers have to wait up two 1 week to get technical answers - we belief this is a benefit actually:

    • It brings consistency and stability into the process, no rushed decisions and collective intelligence over individuals deciding

    • The customer gets the best possible ideas for a solution, not just the opinion of someone.

Evaluation Criteria

Seen as a Solution Team
  • Team is involved in defining what’s sold.

Seen as Sales
  • Have the needed information to make offers to potential customers.

  • Are able to answer technical questions of potential customers.

Seen as the Organization

This is a sub-domain of Customer Solutions and is tracked and reviewed as VIP-68.