Sunday, July 21, 2013

A day in the life of ... A Pre-Sales Consultant

The pre-sales consultant position is known by different names in different firms. In some, the corporate development roles tackle this aspect of the business as well, while in others they might split this role based on each functional component into a separate position. In a few firms, given this is a role with a lot of responsibility, they may just have the lead architect perform this role, or create the role of a "lead consulting architect" that performs both the lead architect role and the pre-sales consultant or corporate development function (though this latter role also involves doing a quite a bit of internal consulting and some amount of M&A work - both sourcing potential acquisition targets and once these have been identified and targeted, helping do due diligence on the deal, bringing the deal to fruition, and finally also helping with post-merger integration and company product portfolio rationalization).

In my experience, a pre-sales consultant does the following things: 
a. visits customers and prospective customers along with product managers and presents products, product ideas, company innovations and leading edge thinking to them, b. responds to RFPs, RFQs and RFIs in consultation with architects and systems engineers, c. performs bid defenses, d. conducts sales training for various products, e. staffs booths in trade shows and conferences, f. presents company positions in conferences etc

A typical pre-sales consultant's day might look something like this:

0700: get to work, look through email

0730: work on the assigned sections of the currently "hot" RFP 
till  to get it done on time. identify questions or sections 
1100  that require input from other Subject Matter Experts 
      (SMEs), reach out to them to get these answered

1100: meet with product managers and architects and learn of 
till  potential new product pitches to be made to clients, 
1300  review presentation ideas and the deck, potentially also 
      creating some slides yourself

1300: prepare for a bid-defense on another RFP tomorrow at a 
till  client site, conferring with other SMEs as needed. refine 
1500  story, rehearse to make the pitch perfect

1500: attend the daily review of RFP section updates with the 
till  rest of the team, take away a log of key changes to be 
1700  implemented

1700: look forward. mine RFP responses to extract common 
till  sections or "boiler plate" material that can be used in 
1830  other RFPs. work with product managers and lead architects 
      on competitive landscaping

1930: typically RFP deadlines are very tight, and people work 
till  over-time trying to get all this done on time.

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