By implementing a pre-sales team, the company reduces lead response time, optimizes prospecting and improves the qualification
When you analyze your sales team, how many times have you thought it could be more efficient?
A sales team is usually expensive for a company. But it can be even more expensive when it doesn’t sell as much as it could.
In many companies, it is common for the salesperson to have different processes to perform their work, such as prospecting their Leads, demonstrating the solution and designing a project until negotiating. But if you think your salespeople should be spending more time on demos and closing, you’re right. The role of the seller is to sell!
In this context, to make sales more efficient and allow the seller to focus on the negotiation itself, the pre-sales area, also called Sales Development or Business Development, appears.
In this article, you will learn everything about this area that is gaining more and more space in companies: what it is, what it is for, what are the advantages and what type of company it is suitable for.
What is pre-sales?
Pre-sales is an area within the company, which is responsible for making the first contact with potential customers. During the conversation, the pre-sales professional, also called SDR, asks strategic questions to understand if that contact is qualified or not to become a client of the company. If so, the contact is forwarded to the sales area.
The pre-sales area solves a common problem among commercial teams, which is the division of salespeople’s focus into several tasks, leaving little time to sell.
According to Aaron Ross, sales specialist and author of the book Predictable Revenue, when your sales team is spending more than 20% on a secondary task, separate that task from the process and create a new role within the area to develop it.
This rule is precisely for the seller to focus their time on actually selling and not on other processes, such as prospecting, for example. A salesperson likes to sell and, probably, any task that is outside this objective he will not perform well or will devote less time than he should for his result to be efficient.
When this issue of focus and quality of execution arises, the result is often a drop inefficiency. In this context, the division of the process in two and having a pre-sales area appeared and has been one of the most discussed topics in the world in the sales area.
What does the pre-sales professional do?
Having a pre-sales team is something strategic for the business, because, through qualification, a kind of quality control of Leads is carried out, which will provide more efficiency and reduce friction in the sales process.
The SDR also gathers information about the company, either through surveys or the conversation itself, passing on those most relevant to the seller. In addition, it acts as a specialist in the company’s products and services, allowing the contact to get to know your business.
Advantages of having a pre-sales area
The sales team gains more efficiency by implementing a pre-sales team for a few reasons. Check which ones they are!
1. Reduction of lead response time
Research like Inside Sales shows that calling a Lead in less than 5 minutes increases your chance of conversion by 400 times compared to 10 minutes. Cold Lead is Bad Lead, that is, the longer your company takes to meet the Leads generated by marketing, the lower your chances of turning them into sales.
The best, therefore, is to reduce the lead response time. Calling fast means you’ll talk to your potential customer while they’re still thinking about your business, service, or product. Or, even, it will be “fresh” in his mind why he filled out your contact form.
This helps the conversation to be more interesting, as it allows you to create a connection with his problem and, consequently, the chances of him moving forward in the process are much greater.
Harvard did a survey that showed similar data on service time and also showed that, despite evidence showing that the sooner you call, the better, 63% of companies call after only one hour.
It is possible to see that there is a good opportunity for your company to gain efficiency and service volume compared to the competition!
However, in most companies, by the time the salesperson receives the Leads to a prospect, he is concerned about selling, serving a client, preparing a proposal, and so on. As a result, salespeople usually only pay attention to new Leads when they need to fill their pipeline.
One of the roles of the pre-sales team is to make this first contact with the Lead quickly, increasing the company’s conversion rate in this first stage and ensuring that salespeople will receive constant opportunities throughout the month.
2. Optimization of prospecting
The last point mentioned above is extremely important and is directly connected to the optimization of the sales prospecting stage.
Constantly receiving opportunities avoids the “accordion effect” in the salespeople pipeline. This effect is visible when a salesperson has few Leads to work with, an empty pipeline in the final steps, and starts to focus their prospecting efforts to fill their sales funnel.
When he manages to reach a good number, he stops doing this process to work on closing with his generated opportunities, because after all he has a goal and a deadline (end of month or quarter). After he has sold to everyone or almost everyone, a new sales period begins and he finds his pipeline empty again.
This effect is detrimental to both the seller and the manager.
- For the salesperson because it creates stress and anxiety every time he realizes he has a hole in his funnel and needs to quickly fix it to secure his goal. And it often ends up being too late when you realize it.
- For the manager, it hinders the predictability of how many accounts will close in the period. In the beginning it looks like it’s going to be a disaster, in the middle it looks like it’s going to be less serious but it’s still far from the goal and in the end it’s almost lucky if the goal is reached.
Taking the stage of prospecting for sellers, in addition to ensuring consistency of delivery, ensures a higher rate of conversion of Leads as well. Not only is it enough to call quickly to ensure a good conversion rate, but also the frequency of contact attempts and follow-up is very important.
According to Aaron Ross, sellers do not like to prospect and therefore do not do this step well. Whether this is the reason or not, the fact is that this is a step that, to ensure that a Lead will receive 14 to 16 contact attempts before being excluded from the process, requires a well-defined process, organization of who will execute it, and, obviously time. As mentioned before, this last point is not always an asset to the sellers.
Therefore, having a team specialized in prospecting and with time to dedicate to fast service and at the right frequency can greatly increase the amount of Leads approached by your company.
Having a team focused on these tasks allows you to create processes and ensure they are met, do A/B tests with different email templates, test different frequencies and times with higher conversions in order to increasingly increase the efficiency of this step!
3. Improvement of qualification
The main objective of the pre-sales area is to deliver qualified Leads for sales, that is, with real chances of becoming a customer. To define what a Qualified Lead is, each company analyzes its customer base and defines the minimum prerequisites that a company/person must have to move forward in the negotiations.
When the seller is, at the same time, responsible for qualifying those who have a profile or not to become a customer, it ends up creating a bias in their process.
This is because he will move up or down the qualification ruler according to his Lead need. That is, if it is full of Leads for those who sell, it will eliminate those who it thinks it will not be so easy to sell.
This can even be good for your salesperson, but for your company, it is terrible, as you are losing a qualified Lead that with a little more effort could buy.
In the opposite situation, it’s bad for both, because the seller in need of Lead will go down the ruler and accept anyone and, in doing so, will waste their time and focus with those who are not likely to buy. And if you actually sell to an unaligned Lead, it can be a problem for your company to generate value for it.
The pre-sales team, like a salesperson, has to be an expert in closing, has to be a 10 in qualification. In a quick 10-minute conversation, you have to be able to generate value, discover accurate information and judge the Lead’s quality.
Training and coaching are totally different for the two areas. The focus is different and often the skills needed too. By implementing a specialized team in pre-sales, you guarantee that the Lead’s first contact with your company will be made with the best quality and added value. Regardless of whether or not he progresses in the process, his impression will be good due to good service!
When does it pay to build a pre-sales team?
At this point in the post, you might be wondering if the cost of having an extra team in your sales area will make up for the increased efficiency. And that’s where the answer is: maybe.
The points raised above are true, regardless of the investment or not: a team that specializes in certain processes will always be better than a generalist team or a team focused mainly on other stages. The point is that having these extra people, added to the increase in sales, will justify expanding your structure.
Cost of your sellers’ hours
Calculate how much time your salespeople are spending on a secondary process and whether the sum of that time is worth hiring someone in pre-sales.
Usually, the cost of this person is lower, as they are usually a more junior person and starting a career in sales.
How much will the increase in sales increase in revenue? If you sell a product/service with a very low average ticket, it probably won’t make up for the increase in your structure.
Remembering that having more people not only impacts your payroll but also your office infrastructure expenses.
fast sales cycle
Generally, low average ticket brings with it a shorter sales cycle as well. Sometimes it’s more worthwhile to improve the efficiency of the operation by automating the first steps than hiring people to do them.
For example, creating automatic leads with Email Marketing and waiting for Leads to respond. Improving Lead Scoring can also avoid Lead accumulation in the first steps of your salesperson and ensure that only those with quality and profile will be approached.
How do I know if pre-sales is the right model for my company?
Having a pre-sales area makes sense especially for companies that make complex sales.
As this type of sales requires a follow-up of the Lead throughout the entire sales process, the model brings good results, as the salesperson can be busy conducting the Lead, while the pre-salesperson supplies the sales funnel with good contacts.
Likewise, pre-sales is very useful for companies that generate a high volume of Leads. Thus, sellers can focus on closing deals, as qualification is up to the pre-seller.
The purpose of this post was to show the advantages of implementing a pre-sales team. There is no rule or right time to implement. Your company needs to identify which bottlenecks are hindering your sales team to deliver more results.
If these bottlenecks identify problems with productivity, accumulation of Leads in early stages or waste of Leads, concertina effect or unnecessary costs with secondary activities, it may be a good idea to think of a team helping.
We always want to deliver more with less, that is, make more sales with fewer people, thus lowering the acquisition cost.
Separating processes may mean an increase in people at first, but in the end, you are not putting more salespeople into the operation to compensate for a bottleneck and putting in a cheaper team, which will do the same but with more quality and efficiency. Ultimately, math has to work for your company.
In addition to having a team focused on selecting the best Leads, there are other strategies you can follow to find your ideal client, the one who can benefit the most from your products and services.
Blue World City has gathered these tips in the kit How to attract and win the ideal customer, focused on those who are looking for long-lasting and solid relationships with their customer base.