Presales 101: Why Every SaaS Business Needs a Presales Process

Shreelekha Singh
January 1, 2024
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In an ideal world, every potential customer instantly sees the value in your product. But in reality, SaaS teams struggle to convince prospective buyers how their solution can tackle all pain points.

The gap between a great product and a successful sale often lies in the overlooked stage of 'presales'. This crucial phase is the key to unlocking customer interest and trust. 

Presales isn't just about presenting your product to a potential buyer; it's about deeply understanding customer needs and crafting solutions that resonate with them. We’ll break down the concept in this article and explain why you need to build a presales strategy.

What is presales?

Presales in the SaaS (Software as a Service) context is the process where teams engage with potential customers before a sale is made, focusing on understanding their needs, demonstrating how the software solves specific problems, and building a foundation for a successful long-term customer relationship. 

The presales stage aims to establish the software's value and fit for the customer's unique requirements through:

  • Product demos
  • Tailored presentations
  • Solution-based consultations 

A good presales strategy can shorten your sales cycle and make a seamless transition to sales. You’ll also find various customer insights for your product team and set the stage for a lasting partnership. 

Presales vs. Sales: How these two strategies differ

Understanding the differences between preslaes and sales is crucial to appreciate how both roles, while distinct, complement each other in driving business growth and customer satisfaction. 

Let’s break down the key differences between presales and sales 👇🏻

Scope of interaction

Presales professionals often engage with potential clients in the discovery phase. They delve into understanding the client's challenges and requirements. 

In contrast, sales personnel typically enter the picture when it's time to discuss terms, pricing, and closing the deal. Their interaction is more transactional, focusing on converting interest into a sale.

Technical expertise vs. negotiation skills 

Presales team members are usually more technically inclined. They have a deep understanding of the product's capabilities and how it can be applied to solve specific problems. 

Sales teams, however, excel in negotiation and persuasion. They are adept at navigating pricing discussions, handling objections, and steering conversations toward a sale.

Solution customization vs. deal customization

In presales, the focus is on customizing solutions to fit the client's needs. This might involve tailored demonstrations or specific use-case scenarios. 

Sales, on the other hand, often involves customizing the deal itself – negotiating terms, discounts, and payment plans to suit the client's budget and purchasing process.

Educational vs. persuasive approach

Presales is more about educating the potential client about the product, often involving detailed explanations, product demos, and answering technical queries. 

Sales is inherently more persuasive, focusing on convincing the client of the product's value and the benefits of purchasing it.

Relationship initiation vs. relationship closure

Presales is where the initial relationship with a potential customer is built. It sets the tone for the client’s perception of the product and company. 

Sales activities, in contrast, are geared towards finalizing and closing the relationship in terms of a business transaction.

6 ways why presales matters for every SaaS business

The role of presales in SaaS is like that of a skilled architect who not only designs a building but also ensures it fits perfectly into its future environment. Here are six main reasons why you should build a presales strategy 👇🏻

✌🏻Bridging product and customer needs

Presales is the crucial link that connects what a SaaS product offers with what the customer actually needs. 

A good presales process involves deeply understanding customer problems and translating them into specific software solutions. In this process, the presales team demonstrates how each feature addresses a real-world problem the customer is facing. 

For instance, if a customer is struggling with inefficient workflow management, the presales team illustrates how the product’s workflow automation and integration capabilities can streamline their processes, thereby saving time and reducing errors.

🎁 Customized demonstrations

In SaaS, one size does not fit all. Presales teams craft tailored demos that show how the software addresses the unique challenges of each potential customer. 

This might involve creating scenarios or use-cases that mirror the customer’s daily operations, making the software's benefits tangible and relatable.

This personalized approach in presales demonstrates a commitment to:

  • Understanding and addressing each customer’s unique challenges
  • Enhancing customer confidence in the product
  • Fostering a reliable, trustworthy relationship

For example, if a potential client is a retail business struggling with inventory management, the presales team might create a demo that specifically showcases how the software can optimize inventory levels, track stock in real-time, and predict future inventory needs. 

👨🏻‍💻 Technical expertise and consultation

Presales teams often possess a deep technical understanding of the product. They are adept at answering complex queries, which builds credibility and trust with technically savvy customers. 

This expertise allows them to advise customers not just on the 'what' but also the 'how' of integrating the software into their existing systems.

This technical proficiency also enables presales teams to offer insights into how the software can be integrated and used within the customer's existing tech stack. They can advise on:

  • Implementation best practices
  • Discuss potential integration challenges and solutions
  • Suggest ways to optimize workflows using the product

🚀 Feedback loop to product development 

The insights gathered during presales interactions are gold mines for product development. Understanding the customers' pain points and requests can guide future product updates and innovations.

Using presales feedback for product development creates a loop of continuous improvement. As the product evolves based on customer input, it becomes more attuned to the market's needs, leading to:

  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Better market fit
  • Increased sales

Besides, these customer insights ensure that the product evolves in a way that aligns with the actual market needs and customer expectations. This alignment helps the development team stay ahead of trends and anticipate future requirements rather than developing in a vacuum.

💸 Reducing sales cycle time 

By addressing potential concerns and questions upfront, presales can significantly shorten the sales cycle. This proactive approach in the presales stage ensures that customers are well-informed about the product's capabilities, its fit with their needs, and how it addresses specific challenges they face. 

When these key aspects are clarified early, customers are more equipped to make faster decisions. This acceleration is particularly important when you’re selling in a fast-paced, dynamic market.

What’s more, a thorough presales process can build a foundation of trust and confidence in the product.

Customers who feel that their concerns are understood and addressed are more likely to feel positive about the purchase. This confidence not only speeds up the decision-making process but also increases the likelihood of a successful sale.

🫶🏻 Establishing long-term relationships

Finally, the role of presales in SaaS goes beyond just making a sale. It's about building a foundation for long-term relationships. 

This level of engagement demonstrates a strong commitment to not just selling a product, but to genuinely solving customer problems. 

When customers see that a company is invested in understanding their specific needs and offers solutions tailored to these needs, it fosters a sense of trust and partnership. This is particularly important in the SaaS sector, where customer relationships are ongoing and often involve continuous engagement post-sale for support, updates, and renewals.

Wrapping up

It's clear that presales in SaaS isn't just a preliminary step; it's a game-changer. Think of it as the secret sauce that spices up the entire sales recipe. 

By aligning customer needs with software solutions, presales sets the stage for meaningful relationships and successful deals. It's not just about selling a product; it's about crafting solutions that resonate, build trust, and drive growth. 

So, as we delve into the world of SaaS, let's remember: the real magic begins even before the first sale is made. Here's to mastering the art of presales!