What Is a Pre-sales Process? (With Tips for Effectiveness)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 26, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many businesses rely on specific processes to help them satisfy their customers. An effective pre-sales process is crucial to increase profits and ensure product longevity in the market. Understanding this process can help you apply it in your work and thrive in your sales career. In this article, we discuss the pre-sales process, explore its benefits, identify the steps involved and provide tips for using it effectively.

What is a pre-sales process?

The pre-sales process is everything involved in preparing a product for the market. It also includes the methods used before acquiring new customers. It allows you to understand the customer's needs and develop solutions for them. Pre-sales typically include product and market research, data analysis, preparation of call scripts, identifying areas of dissatisfaction and designing workable solutions. While sales and pre-sales often overlap, the pre-sales team focuses on identifying and developing market opportunities for a product. It's the sales team's job to maximize those opportunities.

Benefits of an effective pre-sales process

Here are some benefits a business can gain from an effective pre-sales process:

Higher customer conversion rates

Effective pre-sales help you convert leads into customers. During the pre-sales process, you educate customers about your products and the company, making them more likely to buy from you. Additionally, the market insights you gain during the pre-sales process help make your products more marketable, leading to increased sales.

Related: How to Calculate Conversion Rate (With Example and Benefits)

Valuable market insight

An effective pre-sales process grants you valuable insight into customer behavioural patterns and market factors. Through the discovery stage, the pre-sales team can communicate with customers and understand their needs. These insights can be beneficial to subsequent sales and marketing efforts. They can also help your business build a stronger relationship with its customers.

Related: Customer Insight Analyst Skills (Definition and Examples)

Improved customer satisfaction

The pre-sales process focuses on identifying what customers need in a product. With this information, you can modify your product to satisfy your customers' needs. You can also use the pre-sales process to test your product in the market and determine the challenges customers may experience when using it.

Increased product popularity

An effective pre-sales process can serve some marketing purposes. During the pre-sales process, you can educate customers about your products and create anticipation about their release. Additionally, customers participating in a pre-sales process will likely refer other shoppers if they're impressed with the product. This can help promote your product before its market release.

Related: 10 Effective Strategies for Generating Leads in Marketing

Access to more capital

Pre-sales are an effective way to raise extra capital for your business. While it's risky, you can use the additional profits to develop your products further. You can offer customers a discounted price to encourage them to participate in the pre-sales process. Ensure your approach is thorough so your products meet market expectations when you release them.

5 pre-sales process steps

Here are the essential steps to an effective pre-sales process:

1. Conduct research

You need to research the demand for your product, the market where you intend to sell it, and its size. Product research involves testing the effectiveness of a product and its likelihood of selling. This gives you a better understanding of the components of your product and makes it easier to sell. This process involves competitor analysis, product pricing, legal and ethical research, and packaging. In-depth research forms the basis for your pre-sales process.

Related: Research Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Analyze leads and potential customers

While many customers can signify interest in your product, their interest doesn't necessarily translate to sales. The job of the pre-sales team is to analyze potential customers and determine those likely to buy a product or service. To understand customer behavioural patterns, you need to use consumer records, sales technology and data analysis tools. This allows you to design a profile of your ideal clients and identify valuable marketing opportunities. This part of the pre-sales process is crucial and serves to direct the subsequent efforts of the sales and marketing teams.

Related: What Is Quantitative Analysis?

3. Establish contact with customers

The next step is establishing contact with customers likely to buy from you. This process develops an accurate understanding of the needs of the customers. It also helps you determine potential challenges customers can encounter with a product.

Usually, the information you get helps the sales and product design teams make necessary adjustments before the product gets to the market. For example, an effective pre-sales team needs members who are knowledgeable about customer behaviour. Similarly, when the company offers products to another business, the pre-sales team needs members familiar with the business needs.

Related: Customer Service Skills: Definition and Examples

4. Design your plan and seek approval

Once you have information on your customers' needs and areas of dissatisfaction, you can design a plan to optimize the product and prepare it for the market. This stage involves consolidating market information from the customer analysis and discovery stages. It involves the sales team and sometimes the marketing team.

For instance, the pre-sales team must accurately communicate the customer's position. Then, you collaborate with the sales and marketing team to sell your product as the ideal solution to the customer's needs. Use visualization tools to make your plan more understandable for your company's executives.

5. Implement and monitor your plan

Even after the pre-sale, the work of the pre-sales team continues. You need to collaborate with the sales and marketing teams to ensure they implement your proposal accordingly. You can also offer valuable insight into customer behaviour during the sales process. More importantly, the pre-sales team needs to monitor the plan's implementation to gain more insight into customer behaviour. This can help to design more effective strategies for future sales processes.

Tips for an effective pre-sales process

An effective pre-sales process gives a business valuable market insight and positions them for greater sales output. Here are some tips to help you develop an effective pre-sales process:

Ensure you have a clear pre-sales plan

The most essential component of your pre-sales process is your plan. An effective pre-sales plan clearly defines the processes involved and includes timelines for their completion. In addition, creating a clear strategy makes it easier for the pre-sales team and other concerned departments to play their roles. It also makes it easier to spot potential problems and revise the plan when necessary.

Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) is also essential to an effective pre-sales plan. KPIs are results you can use to measure your performance over a specific period. In addition, KPIs make it easier to detect problems with your plan.

Related: The 4 Sales Funnel Stages (Definition and Benefits)

Set definite roles and responsibilities

Defining the roles and responsibilities of every member of the pre-sales team can help prevent conflict. Team members are less likely to infringe on the responsibilities of others or abandon their duties. Defining roles also makes it easier for you to monitor the performance of team members and promote accountability. This can make it easier to identify the source of any problem with implementing your plan. Deciding on the roles of each team member is an essential process that requires some strategy.

You can start by highlighting the skills of each team member and then assigning them tasks that are best suited to their abilities. It would help if you also considered factors like each team member's availability, interests, and temperaments. It also helps to consult team members directly and develop an accurate idea of their interests.

Related: A Guide to Managing Sales (With Tips for Sales Managers)

Collaborate with other departments

The work of the pre-sales team is to make sales more effective. Collaborating with the sales team allows for a more effective transfer of information. This can inform subsequent sales processes and improve the company's profits. For instance, the pre-sales team can supply the marketing team with insights into customer behaviour. They can also monitor sales results to evaluate the effectiveness of their pre-sales process and develop more effective strategies. Information such as customer tastes and complaints can help the marketing team develop more effective campaigns.

Related: Tips to Help You Succeed When Collaborating on Projects

Use existing customers

Engaging your customer base is an essential part of customer relationship management and is an effective strategy for developing customer loyalty. You can first reach out to existing customers about pre-sales offers or reserve access to the pre-sales for your most loyal customers. This shows you value your customer base, which can help you build a stronger relationship with them. Loyal customers are great for testing new products. As they already have a good image of your brand through your brand marketing and reputation, they're likely to be constructive with their criticism and take the time to give you detailed reviews.

Market your sales process

Marketing your pre-sales is important for both pre-sales and subsequent sales efforts. Through effective marketing, you can educate potential customers about using your product and its unique benefits. Presales marketing can also be an opportunity to test the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. You can market through various channels, including social media, emails, traditional media, or customer referrals. Focus on production and ensure your products meet the standards you promised to encourage repeat business.

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