How do you manage pre-sales engineering in your integration business?
Pre-sales engineering is a very important and expensive resource that technology integration companies need to use.
But it’s a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, an integrator is better served when the sales team brings pre-sales engineers into the conversation with the customers. They write a better scope of work, and they do the design upfront.
On the other hand, the more project engineering you do before a contract is sold, the more amount of money you risk losing if you do not win that contract.
When do you stop calling it pre-sales engineering and start calling it project engineering?
We’ll give you one clue –
It’s not when the contract is sold.
“It’s where you move from a block diagram to a line, or where you move from general to specific kind of design. It’s not about when the contract is sold as to when you’re doing project engineering,” says Harris.
“The companies that do it very well achieve balance,” adds Dempsey.
There’s no clear KPI that we can say, ‘You should be spending X percent of your costs on pre-sales engineers, or you should be converting 70%.’ It really depends, and it’s something that needs to be looked at on a regular basis and analyzed by the management team.
Your percent of win rate will ultimately determine the cost of pre-sales engineering to your sales efforts.
So, this is a very important ratio to maintain and understand – the utilization, and the effective utilization of your engineers.