Technical Sales by Hub
What Do Sales Engineering and Solution Architects Want From a Presales Productivity Platform?
Quotes from leaders and individual contributors on the ideal technical sales platform
Throughout the last couple of decades, technical sellers — commonly referred to as sales engineers, presales, solution architects, solution consultants, and system engineers —have had to make do with general-purpose productivity tools to perform their daily managerial and individual contributor work. These unsung heroes of technology sales are just now beginning to gain recognition from the C-suite and vendors. However, bombarding these presales engineers with various offerings will result in tool exhaustion and the loss of C-suite budget appetite to invest in various point products.
As we built Hub, we did not want to contribute to this tool fatigue. Despite having a lot of experience in the industry, we approached the market with a tremendous amount of humility and curiosity to understand what presales leaders and individual contributors need to perform their daily jobs better, especially in an era where remote digital selling is so important.
When we asked the question, “What is the art of the possible and what characteristics should a presales productivity platform have?” We got some great responses from both leaders and individual contributors. Here’s what they said:
“I want to have a system that I use every day because I want to, not because I am told to do so.”
– Principal Solution Consultant of Large Cap
“Our team is burned out from using email, spreadsheets, and CRMs. There’s too much noise and not enough signal in these tools. We need a system that can provide just-in-time context and is specifically designed to help with our internal and external collaboration.”
– VP of Solution Consultant at Large Cap
“If I ask my sales engineers to fill out time cards so I can track how they work remotely, I will have a major revolt on my hands. Stuff like this needs to be automated.”
– VP of Sales Engineering at Mid Cap
“My daily workflow consists of using productivity tools like email, Excel, Word, and Slack. I also need to spend hours entering data into a CRM system, which breaks my workflow, but I need to do it for my management. I want a system that can connect to all those tools and abstract them away into a single destination where I can come to work.”
– Senior Sales Consulting Engineer Large Cap
“I instinctively know who my top performers are, and my CRM data gives me some sense of what is normally going on with my business, but I lack detailed metrics to know more. I need a system that can give me more detailed data on my business.”
– VP of Solution Architect Mid Cap
“While a CRM is the single source of truth for sales, it does not capture the presales business. I cannot afford to have a presales system that is highly dependent on a CRM system, requires customization of 50 or more objects, and takes months to roll out. I need a presales system that can inform and be informed by CRM but gives me rapid time to market so I can be more productive ASAP.”
– VP of Presales of Large Cap
“I had to wait 2 years to get 6 custom fields added to our CRM system just so I can track some very basic sales engineering tasks. I use this information to track a tiny portion of my activities. I need a system that will let me make the changes in minutes, not years.”
– SVP of Sales Engineering of Mid Cap
“Our business is growing by 45%+ year over year. Our sales teams are growing and so is our presales organization. I need a system that can help me onboard my team more effectively, track how everyone is performing, and utilize playbooks that we know win business.”
– VP of Presales at SMB
“I can no longer afford to use a CRM or spreadsheets to manage my presales business and wrangle data in Power BI to report key metrics. I also don’t want a system just built for managers or a small function of the work we perform daily, like POCs. I need a system that can comprehensively meet our needs today but also evolved to meet the needs of how we will sell tomorrow.”
– VP of System Engineering at Mid Cap
“I expect a sales engineering system to be super easy to use. The user interface should require no manuals and it should complement my daily workflows.”
– SVP of Sales Engineering at Large Cap
Presales tool solutions are gaining traction in the marketplace, which is great for the community, but presales buyers must be diligent and make sure they find what is right for them. There is nothing wrong with sourcing point product solutions that can optimize and automate one area of the job, such as demos. However, if you are looking for a presales productivity platform that can be much more comprehensive on all the jobs both individual contributors and managers have to perform daily in a scalable way, consider what your peers have shared with us.
Any vendor who truly internalizes wisdom from presales engineers that practice their craft will truly serve the community. At Hub, we hope to be that vendor. But judge for yourself. See a demo. Tell us what you think.