Following on from Matt’s summary of a day in the life of a consultant in the Admin2Consultant series, I’ve decided to take a slightly different angle with my next post. My current role at EMPAUA is one of many hats which is common in a lot of smaller consultancies, but if I were to sum it up it would be Pre-sales Consultant/Sales Engineer/Solution Engineer. All of these roles can be generally grouped as Pre-sales, which means dealing with clients before they are paying customers. In the Salesforce eco-system this means that a Pre-sales consultant is usually the first technical person that the customer engages with. This role can carry a lot of varied responsibilities including..
– Supporting Sales with technical questions
– Building customised demo’s to suit the customer’s requirements
– Running workshops to dig deeper into requirements
– Solution designing based on requirements to translate these into Salesforce solutions
– Assisting Sales with the statement of work/proposal for the customer
A day in the life
09:00 – Get into the office and start going through emails and prioritising tasks throughout my day
09:30 – High level scoping call with a prospect
10:00 – Prepare and finish off a demo Org
10:30 – Travel to a prospective customer
11:00 – On-site demonstration and workshop
13:00 – Lunch & Emails
13:30 – Solution building/designing based off Workshop
14:30 – Proposal writing
16:00 – Call with Salesforce to discuss a new customer
17:00- Wrap up and finish outstanding actions
High level scoping calls
One of the first ways we usually engage with a customer is through a high level scoping call. This is usually just with Sales but can involve Pre-sales depending on the complexity and size of the prospective project. Within this call we will discuss the overall project plan, timelines, key stakeholders and generally get a feel for the customer’s business and why they want to implement Salesforce. The output of this meeting will be to gain enough information so that we can hit the ground running when the workshop/scoping meeting comes around.
A key part of any Pre-sales consultant’s week will be designing and building demo’s to show prospective customers. Depending on the customer, the time of which they would like to see a demo can vary but is usually towards the start of an engagement. It’s is the Pre-sales consultant’s job to listen to the requirements and customise Salesforce to show them why their users’ lives are going to be better going forward. Accompanied with a user story script, this can be very powerful. This is a crucial stage within the sales lifecycle as this is usually the only chance you get to show a possibility of what the customer is paying you for.
Workshops or scoping meetings are where you can really get down into the deep details of the project. We already know the customer’s vision for the future and where they want to be, but now we need to understand their current processes and how these are going to map to Salesforce in the future. For a sales cloud project, we will usually start by mapping out the sales process, where are the leads coming from? How are leads treated? When do we move a customer into the Sales funnel? This not only helps you produce a proposal, but also allows you to suggest ways in which this could potentially be improved by using Salesforce features (For example Web2Lead & Assignment rules).
The main output of this meeting is to have enough information to go away, design a solution and produce a proposal or SOW (Statement of work) with a detailed breakdown of requirements.
As Matt rightly said within his catchier named section than mine “Solutionising”, this is the part that everyone looks forward to. Solution building isn’t always required with every project, for example if we are looking at a quick start Sales/Service cloud implementation, this is relatively straightforward and out of the box. However, if a customer is looking at custom integrations, development or workflows, it’s a case of sitting down with the team and understand what Salesforce features we can utilise or map to the customer’s processes. This can also involved trialling and testing out AppExchange App’s which of course is another bonus!
What all the hard work has been leading up to..
A proposal is usually the last step in the process of dealing with a customer before they become a client. It is the presentation of your ideas, the customers requirements and a cost/resource allocation. It is common to go through a few reiterations of a proposal, firming up requirements and generally giving the customer confidence that you not only understand the project, but their business as a whole. It is, after all, the document that the entire project is based off and what is and is not in scope.
Collaboration with Salesforce
Last but definitely not least, I thought I should talk briefly about collaboration with Salesforce. As Matt mentioned in one of the first posts – The Partner Ecosystem, it is not uncommon for Salesforce to introduce deals to partners based on their experience and expertise. This will sometimes just involve the sales team, but occasionally will also involve the Pre-sales consultant to support the Salesforce Account Executive with a demonstration or workshops.