Introducing a sales automation system for the people who must actually make a product work for the customer: the sales engineer.
Posted Dec 13, 2007
Sales support technology provider Salesengineering.com, previously known as TechSellEnts, on Monday released SEplanit, a technical opportunity planner and management dashboard for the pre-sales engineer (SE). SEplanit is the first pre-sales product designed for the unique needs of SEs and SE managers, enabling them to increase technical pre-sales productivity, reduce cost of sales, and drive incremental revenues, according to the company.
Pre-sales technical teams have a direct impact on the size and cost of deals -- as well as on the time-to-solution decision -- through responding to requests for proposals (RFP), qualifying the risks and effort associated with the deal, and working out the technical details. But traditional sales force automation (SFA) products focus only on the needs of sales reps, overlooking the SE. SEplanit extends existing SFA products by aligning pre-sales opportunity analysis with sales reps. SEplanit Technical Opportunity Planner helps SEs make optimal use of their time, fully understand the requirements of the project, and grow the list price of the deal. As a result, SEs achieve efficient and repeatable "solution closure," Salesengineering.com's phrase for closing the deal.
The SE Management Dashboard analyzes and reports current and historical SE opportunities. The default dashboard includes many alerts and performance reports for SE opportunities, including when deals have dirty or inconsistent data, are predicted to close soon but are still unqualified, or do not have a good cost-benefit ratio in terms of effort expended.
"We are pleased to introduce this first-ever pre-sales force automation product to market. SEs and SE managers finally have a product specifically designed for their unique needs," said Phil Janus, founder and president of Salesengineering.com, in a statement. "Our clients are using SEplanit to systematically analyze their opportunities to grow deals and reduce the time to a favorable solution closure."
SEplanit can play a unique role in the sales process, according to Janus, in a subsequent interview with destinationCRM and CRM magazine. "Many companies think they already have this as part of their SFA," he says. "We get to show them just what it is they don't know."
No industry analyst could be reached by press time, but it's important to note that, while Salesengineering.com describes SEplanit as a pre-sales tool, the technology appears to sit right in the middle of the sales process itself, aligning the vendor's technical capabilities with the salesmanship of the front-line sales rep. It's rare that any SFA vendor has discussed such functionality with CRM magazine, the assumption usually being that the sales team just has the knowledge and ability to get a technical close on the way to an inked contract. Whether more vendors play up this aspect of their products -- or introduce it where it doesn't already exist -- remains to be seen.
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