Pre-Sales / Pro-Services Hand-offs

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about problems with hand-offs between pre-sales SEs and post-sales pro-services consultants. The issue deserves so much attention that we recently released a full 2 day course to address the topic called SEforPS. I’ll first discuss why there is often a disconnect, and then offer some thoughts on what to do about it.

You would think that it would be easy for pre-sales to hand-off what they know about a closed deal to pro-services, and likewise, for consultants to hand-off what they know about a potential opportunity to pre-sales. Far from it. Part of the issue is related to the way pre-sales and post-sales “gets excited”.

If you think about it, sales works hard to sell products, while services should be intimately involved in the sales cycle, but often is not. Then a sale is made. At that moment, product revenue is recognized — Tadah! Lots of excitment for sales, little for services. Services is just getting started. Services now works hard developing and deploying. Revenue is recognized along the way. Lots of excitment for services, meanwhile sales has less interest.

The point is that the motivations for each team differ in time. If motivations are not aligned, how can one expect hand-offs to be aligned?

From a workflow perspective, there are clear inputs and outputs that pre-sales and pro-services need from each other. A key for successful handoffs is for each party to educate the other with regard to what each needs to do their job effectively. Document templates which are mutually agreed upon. Assign small teams to keep these templates current and pertinent. Keep communication open between sales and pro-services. Proper education and expectations will promote successful and painless hand-offs.

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