Its been more than two years since I started working as a Product Consultant for an incredible-growth-focused- cool company.

But I have always faced major turn off questions about my role. Something like — presales? Is it like working with the sales and marketing teams? Is it even a job function? What do you guys do on a day to day basis? — Aren’t you just an extension to the sales team? and what not!

So, this article is mainly focused to debunk certain myths around this lesser-known job title and also some great work that we do under the hood!

What/Who is a presales engineer?

While many assume we are a sub-function to the sales team and mint equal money in the variable pay, that’s mostly not the case.

You are WRONG! T-E-R-R-I-B-L-Y-W-R-O-N-G!

We are the underdogs who run with/behind multiple stakeholders to get things done for customers.

If the support team : troubleshooting :: the Presales team: providing solutions.

That’s usually us getting chased for asking so many questions to the internal stakeholders

So, coming to the point, What exactly do we do?

My typical day looks like this: Waiting for the customers on the meeting bridge, sending them email reminders asking them to join the call, driving the demo with the sales folks( Doing this multiple times on the same day with multiple different sales folks.) Parallelly, working on setting up demo instances to the customers and writing long explanatory emails with screenshots attached.

2. Travel around: The most “it-looks-fun-to-the-outside-world” part of our jobs is traveling. Little do you all know how dreadful and horrible customer meetings can turn out to be. Every meeting is unique both from the business perspective and also from the way how we are treated at the customer’s place!

3. Demo machines: The success of any Presales is measured in the quality of demos they take and how they advocate the organization’s vision&mission and value sell the product/service to the customer. This is the most favorite part of my job. Because I love talking and I strongly feel every customer interaction teaches so many lessons! Demystifying the tool to the customer and making them use gives the same joy as when a mom sees her child walk for the first time! (No, I am not exaggerating!)

What are Presales engineers made of?

Any presales engineer on the floor at any point will discuss ( read as a rant) about some customer who is giving them a nightmare. The intensity of the rant and the problem could vary across different geographies.

1. Patience: The Sugar

2. Listening and Customer Empathy: The Spice

Empathy is an art that I developed deeply as a Presales engineer. Listen to understand, not to reply. It has always worked for me. A lot of business books teach how to develop customer empathy, all of the cruces can be visibly achieved when you sit on customer calls. I have sat over 200+ customer calls and each one has always been unique in terms of requirements and expectations.

Listen to understand. Ask more questions to identify the actual problem. Asking questions is so fundamental you may feel, but when you sit on a call, the requirements, the call notes might overwhelm you that you forget to identify the real pressing need of the customer. Listening has also helped me implement the solution better and more effectively.

3. Providing solutions and Problem solving: Everything Nice

I hope this comprehensive guide gave more context and all the great things we are trying to do! Also just to underscore- we are not a sub-function to the sales team! :)

Product Manager @Microsoft Teams. I like to write about everything in between technologies to human behavior to personal anecdotes. Co-founder @theprodcastt.

Product Manager @Microsoft Teams. I like to write about everything in between technologies to human behavior to personal anecdotes. Co-founder @theprodcastt.