Pre-sales vs. post-sales

For the last ten years of my career in digital advertising and technology, I’ve always been in a post-sales role. I rather be in a role that nurtures and takes cares of existing customers than hunts and gathers brand new customers. There’s certainly a skill set that is unique to both, and in a pre-sales role, there’s a very fine line between being the cheap used car-type sales guy and actually being the sales person who properly identifies customer’s needs without making them feel like they are being “sold” to. No one likes “salesy” sales pitches, as ironic as that sounds. I’m terrible with being put on the spot with little preparation or anticipation of questions, and oftentimes, that’s the exact situation that sales people have to deal with all the time.

I traveled down to Orlando to visit a customer today with a sales person that I will say… oftentimes comes off as “too salesy.” He doesn’t always prepare properly for his meetings and has a reputation for using his sales engineers as a “crutch” because he doesn’t know our product very well. Given that the goal of the meeting today was a program review and a meet and greet, it was clearly a post-sales meeting, which means that I’m the owner of it. And I’m happy to say that it went extremely well; it was probably the best all-around customer meeting I’ve had since I’ve started here. And part of the reason it went well was because my colleague and I actually complemented each other well with the types of questions and points we raised. The conversation flowed. The best presentations I’ve participated in don’t really feel like presentations, but feel like conversations that have constant engagement and back and forth from both sides. And that’s what this was. And then it suddenly hit me: maybe my super salesy sales colleague would be better suited for a post-sales, account management role.

But…. you can’t really suggest that to someone who has to hit a quota and is locked into a role at your company, can you?

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