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Eclectic thoughts on Pre Sales

I periodically receive mails from peers in the IT industry - predominantly from those in software service firms - asking for tips on pre-sales. Some are in response to an old viewpoint of mine published in Express Computers and on this blog. The queries fall into two broad categories:

  • How do I respond to pre-sales queries more effectively .. or what are the tools and tips available. I had blogged a few thoughts on this earlier, so will not address the topic in this blog.
  • Many writers are curious to know if Pre Sales role is a ‘career move.’
  • The third topic / query around pre-sales is around hosting offshore-visits by clients and prospects

To the query on pre-sales as a career-move,  my response is: Yes, it is definitely a career move especially since one acquires unique skills by participating on client calls, responding to proposals and requests. Over a period, one begins to appreciate what their (client's) need/requirements are. After all a successful proposal (or winning bid) echoes a response to a business/technical problem that you will help solve.

In the software services ‘business,’ most of what we do is targeted at satisfying the requirements of clients. …and as you move up the ladder in a service delivery organization, the skills in responding to client queries are especially valuable. 

Another topic around pre-sales is that of hosting ‘Offshore visit’ by client teams and stakeholders. A variation of such client visit is the India-Study-Trip hosted by many western universities for their MBA and technology management students.  On this topic, it was interesting to read "Calendar Tips to Make Your Offshore Visits Productive" in the recent CIO magazine feature

Comments

Hi Mohan,

Your blogspot on presales captures the nuances of this function accurately. I manages presales at services company and struggle in carving out a identity for this team versus sales and delivery - as you pointed out it is perceived as a necessary evil. It would be useful understand how different services organizations have defined this function, do they have dedicated staff or do they utilize account managers and technical resources to accomplish the needs. With part-timers you typically do not get the consistency in client interactions and documents that get produced in the sales cycle. For dedicated presales staff there is also a question about gratification, the sales or delivery resources usually corner the glory forgetting the man in the middle who orchestrated the initiative.
It would good if some of the blog readers can share how this function is handled in their organization. As I mentioned earlier in my company there are few dedicated individuals responsible for working closely with sales and delivery on a new deal or for growing existing business, in addition there is backoffice element to this function responsible for document building.

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