The sales cycle is evolving, yet again. The old model of taking the CIO to a steak dinner and pitching a high-level software solution has given way to bottoms-up sales, online content strategies and product-led growth. At the same time, product categories are getting more crowded and granular, multi-cloud architectures are getting more complex, and customers are getting more technical and data-driven. All of this is giving rise to a new, revenue-boosting position that until now has been largely unsung: the PreSales team.
The emerging role of PreSales is a hybrid of sales and product. It leans more technical than traditional sales roles and is sometimes called a sales engineer, sales architect, sales consultant, solutions architect, or PreSales engineer. This person steps into the sales flow at the early stages to give detailed product demos and explain to a sophisticated customer how their solution might fit into the customer’s existing architecture.
It’s time software caught up. At Salesforce Ventures, we are always looking to identify business processes that have not yet been improved by software. When we learned about Vivun, we were floored by the inefficiency of PreSales workflows and the rapid growth of this new category. Vivun is built on Salesforce and is available on the Salesforce AppExchange, where the company has a five-star rating. We partnered with Vivun in March 2021 when we invested in the company’s $35 million-Series B. As Vivun continued to gain traction and earn customer love, we eagerly continued to support the company. We are proud to announce today that Salesforce Ventures has led Vivun’s $75 million-Series C.
PreSales has quietly become one of the fastest-growing and largest roles in business. Vivun ran a LinkedIn query in March 2022 for companies with more than 50 employees and found that Sales, Marketing and PreSales had more professionals than did any other role. Sales counts 7.9 million jobs; Marketing has 4.1 million; PreSales has 1.8 million — nearly four times the number of people in customer success (500,000), another hot field. And yet, until Vivun, while there were thousands of apps for sales teams, there was not a single product targeting PreSales; their only tools were email and spreadsheets. “Technology providers had been so focused on sales, service, and marketing, yet the profession of PreSales was completely overlooked,” says Vivun CEO and Co-founder Matt Darrow.
Matt Darrow and John Bruce are PreSales experts who were fed up with the vacancy of solutions. Darrow was VP of PreSales at Zuora and Bruce was VP of Worldwide Sales Engineering at SignalFX. Together they envisioned a centralized system-of-record for deals in the PreSales stage, as well as a platform to improve workflows.
“B2B selling is changing for good. Buyers want to get hands-on with solutions, do their homework on their terms, and engage with product experts when it’s convenient. This shift is creating explosive demand for the PreSales role. Once relegated to demo-wielding sales assistants, PreSales professionals are ascending to their rightful place within a B2B company: owning the buyer experience.”
— Matt Darrow, CEO and Co-founder, Vivun
In a crowded technology industry with decreasing product differentiation, buyers dig in deeper and ask more technical questions. Sales teams are adapting and becoming more specialized. Sales reps are now collaborating with technical experts from the start, as well as sharing accountability and fostering transparency.
Vivun makes it easy for PreSales teams to discover and qualify leads, educate buyers, prepare proposals and support buyers through their customer journey. It also provides a dedicated workspace to bring buyers and sellers closer together while encouraging transparency and collaboration.
Today’s buyer often asks for “off-menu” features that don’t yet exist. Keeping track of these requests, analyzing which ought to be the highest priority, and following up with interested buyers to let them know they’re available, is a complex task. Vivun gives PreSales the ability to scan hundreds of requests from buyers, make recommendations on which might deliver the highest return, and share insights with product developers.
From Highspot in enablement, Outreach in engagement, and Gong in intelligence, we at Salesforce Ventures are strong believers in the ability of software to empower companies to sell more while making the lives of sales personnel easier. Vivun has the potential to create and serve a new generation of technical sales professionals and improve the process for sellers and buyers alike. We’re proud to partner with Vivun on its mission to unlock the power of PreSales!
Read more about Vivun here: https://techcrunch.com/2022/05/17/vivun-is-digitizing-pre-sales-and-just-got-75m-in-new-investment/