Out with the old/bad habits and in with the new – that’s what the New Year is all about. It was also the topic of our second “Ask the Experts” panel I hosted for PreSales Collective’s Real Talk webinar series.
As in our first Real Talk, we got real, fast. Our expert panelists were:
- Stephanie Daniel, the director of Document Solutions at DocuSign
- Dave Douglas, PreSales leader at Silicon Valley Tech Co.
- Zach Lawryk, Solutions Engineering and Value Leader at Slack
- Cindy Goodwin Sak, Senior Director of Global Virtual Engineering at Cisco
It was a pretty stacked panel, and we peppered them with all the questions you wanted answers on about making your 2021 dreams come true.
My biggest takeaways of things we’re all working on for 2021? Here we go:
Comp Plans for PreSales are still an open question. Word on the street is that revenue isn’t the biggest PreSales impact, yet most sales engineer comp plans tie the variable component to bookings targets. Why are we stuck getting measured with that one metric? It’s time to go beyond the revenue model and get flexible for the future.
OK, on to the Q&A portion of the show. We asked the members for their biggest New Year’s Resolutions, and then our panelists gave tactical advice on how to make sure those changes stuck. Here’s my fly on the wall recap:
The first resolution the audience asked about was no more accepting bad deals or time-wasters from poorly qualified leads.
- Re-evaluate what passes the bar and deserves your attention; because we’re responsible for our own time. Don’t wait for management to set these rules… It’s up to you.
- And remember the famous urgent/important 2×2 grid. Don’t get stuck with what your sellers think is urgent instead of what you and your direct manager know is important.
Next, we talked about how it’s time to block – and defend – our own calendars.
- Set your working hours. Reject things outside of that. You’ve got to honor your own blocks or nobody else will.
- With conflict, consider getting the support of your manager to help you defend that time.
The audience was determined to improve sales skills and deal execution, which was really fun for me to hear. Here’s what the panelists had to offer:
- Make this resolution specific – what are those goals you’re trying to achieve?
- Request budget. Defending this ask will put skin in the game and essentially force you to use the training you get.
Next, we chatted about the demand of delivering a clear career path to the SE team.
- Lots of people wonder what the career path for SEs is, and it’s as simple as the sales path (BDR becomes AE becomes Enterprise AE becomes Manager becomes VP. It’s easy.)
- The biggest takeaway was that you can’t count on your manager to show you the way. They don’t know the way, because it’s your way.
Our next demand was to compensate the PreSales team according to the going market rate. This was a really cool exchange to witness. Want to stop being unhappy with your comp plan and get control of your life? Take these two ideas into account:
- Find what you need to live your life and feel happy, and decide if you’re getting those things from your role.
- Figure out how to go work for an organization that compensates you the way you want, instead of wishing your org was something it’s not.
And the final demand? We talked about this a lot last month too. Really understanding what the PreSales role is and what they do is actually rare, and it needs to not be.
- This is a big ask for sales leadership, they need to make more effort to actually understand the value and role of SEs.
- Also SEs have a role here – listen to the priorities and learn about the strategies of the sales team and help them see your value as well.
You can watch the complete replay on YouTube so you don’t miss a thing as you work on your resolutions for 2021. Here’s to a smoother, more communicative year ahead with plenty of deals to close plus time for that valuable deep work every PreSales pro needs.