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Presales is a process or a set of activities/sales normally carried out before a customer is acquired, though sometimes presales also extends into the period the product or service is delivered to the customer. The sale of service or goods before its release date generally has a discount rate greater than 50%, this is done as the producer wants to asses the markets willingness to pay and buy the product due to the risk factor being very high.
Other uses of the term
In Canada and the United States real estate properties that are sold before construction or before construction is completed are referred to as Presales. These properties are known as off plan properties in the UK and Australia.
Presales are done usually due to the business in question who offer goods or services, unsure of the markets willingness to buy the product or service in question. The use of presales gives an educated overview of sales made due to presales and an educated guess of future sales. This marketing technique helps insure a more concentrated number of goods or services needed/wanted so that the company/business does not exhaust resources in goods or services when they are not being utilized, thereby causing waste and loss in profits. Example of this would be presales in video games; games are advertised over many media channels to help promote and increase likability to its target demographic. Presales usually offer extra content or merchandise which would normally be of high price for free, thereby increasing the perceived value of this product. This gives the manufacturer/company of how many units to produce, already knowing the return on releasing the video game.
In a typical sales cycle the stages are:
- Lead / Suspect
- Prospect / Opportunity.
The task of a presales person starts from the initial contact phase and often ends once the customer is acquired i.e. sale is made. In some cases, presales also provide some initial or transitional support post sale.
The responsibilities differ from organization to organization but in general include:
- Solution Preparation/Management Proposal based on Customers Requirements
- Product demonstrations
- Proof of Concept Creation
- Creation of Marketing Documents
- ... and any other activity required to generate business
The Software Industry and IT Services Industry provide a vital and significant role for presales professionals. The role of presales falls right in the middle marrying the customer needs to the (provider) company's services or products. This role is especially crucial in these industries because the products and services are often heavily customizable and also because the requirements of different customers are often unique. The presales professional thus understands what the customer needs, develops an initial view of the solution the customer needs, then tailors the product or service of his company to meet what the customer needs, explains (or helps sell) this solution to the customer, helps close the deal or sale and often stays on to ensure that the delivery team or product specialists that follow him provide the intended solution.
Areas of specialty of Presales include:
- Discovery – a means to uncover details of business problems that the prospect has. The presales person will understand and closely analyse the prospects requirements.
- Preparation – tailoring a prospect specific presentation or software presentation that precisely meets the needs of the prospect.
- Demonstration – A demonstration of the vendor product that specifically addresses the prospects business problems. It will be done in a manner that highlights an easy method to solve those problems using the tools available within the vendors suite of product.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) – presales have a detailed knowledge of the product suite, in addition to its application to business problems. As such, presales are frequently involved in technical details in RFP preparation.
- Marketing assistance – Typically the marketing department and presales department align closely. Given presales is directly in touch with the market, they can share market feedback with the marketing team. Presales will often create the technical detail for use in marketing collateral.
- Product management assistance – Presales are able to provide unparalleled market feedback to product managers that can be used to influence or provide feedback on product roadmap items.
- Proposal assistance – Given presales were involved in the sale since the discovery of the prospect business problems, presales will often complete the business analysis and technical component of a sales proposal.
- "In European Journal of Operational Research 1 May 2016 250(3):1013-1025". Elsevier B.V.
- Xigen, Li (November 2014). "In Telematics and Informatics November 2014 31(4):628-639". In Telematics and Informatics November 2014 31(4):628-639.