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3 Ways to Tap SEs Strategically to Accelerate Enterprise Sales Cycles

Unless you’ve discovered cloning, your solution engineers (SEs) and presales professionals are probably stretched too thin — across multiple teams. Few SEs support enterprise sales teams exclusively. While SEs have valuable technical knowledge to share, they’re often overburdened with unnecessary meetings and busywork.

In our new research, The 2023 Presales Landscape Report, we identified three big areas where SEs feel their time is misallocated:

  • Prep work: 38% of SEs spend more than 5 hours per week preparing demos.
  • Maintenance: 71% spend more than an hour per week cleaning/maintaining their demo environment; 21% spend between 3-10 hours. On the high end, that’s a whopping 21 days per year wasted for these high-value employees!
  • Unqualified prospects: The majority of SEs report spending time on unqualified demos (52% spend 1-3 hours; 9% spend 3-10 hours).

Something’s got to give! Striking the right balance with your SEs’ busy schedules could drive major sales efficiency and convert more deals.

Here are three ways to optimize your presales professionals’ time by empowering sales reps and prospects alike.

1. Take advantage of interactive demos for PLG
According to Gartner, 33% of buyers want a sales-free experience. That number jumps to 44% for millennials, which proves that buying habits are trending toward self-evaluation and self-service — fast. Unsurprisingly, many organizations have embraced product-led growth (PLG), including 61% of Cloud 100 companies.

While most enterprise software products may be too complex for complete self-service, interactive demos and product tours are a great way to help prospects self-qualify before the initial sales call or SE demos. Working PLG elements into your website and marketing campaigns is easier than you think. Embedding interactive demos on your homepage, product pages and marketing campaigns can help prospects understand your product. They can also dive deeper into features that address their persona- or industry-specific pain points.

2. Empower AEs and SAEs to run first-call demos solo
Having a presales professional on every initial sales call happens far too often. Instead, AEs and SAEs should be equipped with an easy-to-use demo creation platform and sales enablement training to qualify prospects and run first-call demos on their own.

SEs can play an important role in this process by advising AEs on target vertical markets and use cases, and working with them on demos for each of these audiences. SEs’ talents can be leveraged for sales enablement and training, so AEs feel confident to run these live demos without the involvement of presales. AEs can also use guided demos as a sales leave-behind, so champions can inform other influencers in their organization.

3: Tailor technical demos to qualified prospects’ needs
The best time to bring SEs into sales conversations is after the initial discovery call. At that point, you understand more about your prospect’s questions and use cases, and can get a better sense of exactly how they’d use the product in their environment. Fun fact: The same demo creation platform used to create interactive demos and sales demos can be used for more technical demos further down the funnel.

Now that you know more about the prospect and their specific needs, it’s time to think about the story you want to tell. Ideally, you should be able to tailor and customize a demo in 45 minutes or less. At this stage, you can evaluate the best parts of your product to showcase, and how you can customize anonymized, relevant data to the prospect’s vertical or use case.

A playbook for SEs and sales efficiency
Want to dive deeper into these tips to learn exactly how to create winning demos at each stage of the sales cycle? We’ve got you covered. Our latest eBook highlights our research on how SEs spend their time today, with practical tips on how to optimize these valuable resources to drive more sales efficiency.

Get the eBook: The 2023 Presales Landscape Report: The Solutions Engineer’s Playbook for Sales Efficiency