It is likely that you will need to work your way up to this role, starting out in another sales position in the same industry.
At its most basic level, work in presales involves everything towards a sale up to – but not including – the closing deal. A presales consultant works with potential clients or customers to ensure they have a strong understanding of the services and/or products provided. So, presales consultants are typically employed by companies that are selling something for which a level of technical knowledge is required to get to grips with its uses and benefits. Accordingly, this role is sometimes referred to as a ‘technical presales consultant’.
Typical responsibilities include:
- delivering presentations and demonstrations to prospective and current clients
- liaising with those developing products/services to gain an in-depth knowledge that you can relate to customers – and to let them in on user behaviour and/or any potential changes clients would like
- helping the sales team to reach targets
- conducting research into the industry – including competitor research
- encouraging clients to buy extras, upgrades etc
- potentially considering new markets or clients to contact, based on your knowledge of both the products/services and their users.
Typical employers of presales consultants
Although a presales consultant can be employed by any business looking to make potential clients aware of the full advantages of what it is selling, in reality most vacancies are offered by IT companies. Examples of potential employers are:
- software service providers
- cyber security businesses
- web hosting services.
Qualifications and training
It is likely that you will need to work your way up to this role, starting out in another sales position in the same industry. This will allow you to develop a strong understanding of the products/services on offer. A junior sales engineering role may be a good place to start.
A degree may be required or, if not, may well be desirable. Whether or not this needs to be closely related to the industry is likely to depend on how much technical expertise you need to understand the ins and outs of whatever is being sold. IT and software-related degrees might stand you in good stead for many presales consultant roles.
Skills and qualities required
- leadership and communication skills
- presentation skills
- interest in and understanding of the industry – often a technology-related one
- the ability to research and keep on top of industry developments
- influencing and negotiation skills
- aptitude for time management and organisation
- problem-solving ability.