Presales Toolkit

Presales Toolkit

Hemispheres | Left & Right Hemispheres Roles, Facts & Information

Ive developed various tools for complex software solutions presales selling and going to table them here;

  • Sales and SE working together EQ+IQ=$$$$
  • RFP Evaluation Method
  • RFP Response template
  • Public service procurement panels (I did this in every company so far. Seriously! haha)
  • POC Best Practice
  • Sales and Influencing Engagement Method
  • Win Plan
  • Reference Architectures, HLD, DD, Configs, Assessments, ROI, Maturity Strategy.
  • Channel Strategy
  • Design and BoM

Within 30 Days

  • You will be expected to get hands on knowledge and experience with the platform
  • You will be expected to deliver a crisp demo
  • You will be expected to familiarise yourself with products and messaging and understand how we do things  
  • You will connect with your peers throughout your region and the rest of the organisation to learn and share experience

Within 60 Days

  • You will be expected to have mastered messaging and competently present our proposition to your team
  • You will be educating customers on technologies and competitive differentiators
  • You will be Proactively distributing new product information to our Partners and peer members within your assigned territory or region
  • You will be assisting Sales in the identification, qualification, design and sizing of opportunities against prospect criteria
  • You will be assisting Sales in building and executing Account Plans
  • You will be configuring features to meet customers’ requirements during the sales process

Within 90 Days

  • You will be Providing technical thought leadership and advice to enterprise customers on how to transform their digital experience leveraging architecture
  • You will take total ownership of the technical sale and processes
  • You will be independently identifying and qualifying technical opportunities
  • You will be Developing and maintaining trusted advisor relationships with key customer stakeholders
  • You will be Independently delivering sales pitches, technical and whiteboards presentations,
  • You will be Utilising both internal and external resources to ensure successful deployments, that enable the customer to be self-sufficient following the sale
  • You will have Built effective relationships with Partners, the Customer’s technology group and staff (products, services, marketing and support)
  • You will be Sharing best practices and developments in methodologies both internally and at Partner and Customer events

Skills Required by Security Pre-Sales Resource:

  • Possess the presentation, verbal and written skills: In order to become a good pre-sales resource, a good business acumen along with excellent verbal and written skills is essential. These skills are imperative for making a trusted advisor to the customer. Once a respectable trust over potential customers is established, the acceptance of proposed solution/product can happen. Only excellent knowledge about cyber security will be futile until the pre-sales security consultant is able to share it with the clients in an effective way. The delivery mechanism varies from person to person but it plays a crucial role in building trust. A security pre-sales resource needs to render live product demos, webinars, group lecture and many more. He / she should be thorough enough (w.r.t. technical skills, soft topics and have great business sense) to make a successful career.
  • Deep Knowledge of Security Architecture and Design Experience: A security pre-sales resource should be proficient in security designs. He or she has to always balance the risk mitigation using their designs. They must know how to satisfy the customers and this can be achieved only if they know defense-in-depth and have command over security architecture. For almost all the organization security is important and the base is routers and switches. They must have a base understanding of routing and switching.
  • Knowledge of the security solutions landscape and industry trends: If you want to become a successful security pre-sales resource for your organization then you must keep yourself updated regarding all types of solutions that can be thereof a problem. You don’t only need to be aware of the solutions but also know how to implement the solutions. They can be core, emerging, dying or stale.
  • In-depth knowledge of the products that you will be selling: It is the core requirement of your job. Such a resource needs to have every minute detail of the product being sold. A security resource should be able enough from understanding datasheets to configuring the devices. Product understanding is a must for person in shoes of security pre-sales consultant.
  • Personal Integrity and strong ethics: A sales engineer is the one who laid down the foundation of the success of the product. Hence such a person should possess personal integrity and strong ethics. If you want to achieve success for the long term then you have to work with ethics and always bind yourself with these. Don’t oversell your products with wrong means and knowledge. Once you lose the faith form the customer it becomes hard to win it again.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲?

𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 – If Sales isn’t doing discovery, they’re wasting everyone’s time. Show up and throw up is a clear sign of amateur-hour sales teams.

𝗦𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀 – If proper discovery is done, determining the customer is a good fit, capable SEs can craft a targeted demo that nails the customer’s requirements. If they really know their stuff, they suggest solutions the customer hasn’t considered.

𝗤𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗢𝗖𝘀 – POCs should be unnecessary if the SE nailed the demo – they’re a huge time and resource drain. The probability and value of the deal must be high enough to justify the investment in a POC.

𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 – All meetings should be recorded using tools like – enabling easy out-of-band sharing, in addition to capturing statistics about attendee engagement.

𝗩𝗮𝗹𝘂𝗲 & 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 – All pre-sales work must align to the value and outcomes that can be delivered for the customer. Feature-based show-up-and-throw-up activities waste everyone’s time.

𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿 – Sales Engineers who lack domain and technical expertise – PowerPoint jockeys that can’t go off-script, need to go. A real Sales Engineer has deep domain expertise, able to bend the product to their will and explain solutions at a granular level.

𝗣𝗢𝗖 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 – A video should be recorded and stored in a POC library, enabling easy sharing with the customer and future customers. A recorded POC allows all parties to review the content out-of-band, helping avoid scheduling challenges and speeding the review by stakeholders. Also, recorded POCs are a great enablement tool for SEs to learn from. The code created for the POC, and a video of its demonstration, should be stored for future reference.

𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 & 𝗦𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲 – SEs should be able to explain how the product is scaled to ensure acceptable performance.

𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗮𝗻𝗱-𝗼𝗳𝗳 – All collateral generated during the pre-sales cycle should be accessible by all teams – Sales, Services, Partners, Customer Success, Support, etc. It’s common for downstream teams to fly blind due to a lack of upstream collaboration. Customers get VERY frustrated having to redo the discovery process for the implementation team.

𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿𝘀 – Sales teams should be acutely aware of reference customers and their use cases – having a collaborative rapport that enables potential customers to get real-world perspectives.

𝗦𝗮𝘆 𝗡𝗢 – Good SEs know when the product isn’t a good fit. They must have the support of their leadership to say NO – avoiding downstream implementation and churn disaster.

𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 – SEs should be product experts and curate high-quality community content. The more engaged with the community, the better – developing credibility and uncovering new opportunities

Use humour to make your point.

Use humour to make your point.

Everyone in sales needs watch these videos;

A Conference Call –

Meeting Backup –

The Expert –

Email in Real Life –

A Video Conference in Real Life –

Stuff Business People Say –

Working from Home –

Agile –


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

One of the best sales training books


  1. Reciprocation
    • People generally feel obliged to return favors offered to them. This trait is embodied in all human cultures and is one of the human characteristics that allow us to live as a society.Compliance professionals often play on this trait by offering a small gift to potential customers. Studies have shown that even if the gift is unwanted, it will influence the recipient to reciprocate.

      A variation on this theme is to ask for a particularly big favor. When this is turned down, a smaller favor is asked for. This is likely to be successful because a concession on one side (the down-scaling of the favor) will be reciprocated by a concession by the other party (agreement to the smaller favor).

    • Practice
      • Give free stuff and information
      • Follow up educated emails are fantastic and state actions points
  2. Commitment and Consistencies
    • People have a general desire to appear consistent in their behavior. People generally also value consistency in others.Compliance professionals can exploit the desire to be consistent by having someone make an initial, often small, commitment. Requests can then be made that are in keeping with this initial commitment.

      People also have a strong desire to stand by commitments made by providing further justification and reasons for supporting them. This pattern of behavior toward or resulting in a negative outcome is called escalation of commitment.

    • Practices
      • Ask for buy in
      • Ask for approval process and procurement process
      • Sell something small
  3. Social Proof
    • People generally look to other people similar to themselves when making decisions. This is particularly noticeable in situations of uncertainty or ambiguity.This trait has led compliance professionals to provide fake information on what others are doing. Examples of this are staged interviews on television advertisements or “infomercials”.
    • Practices
      • Case Study
      • Example References (Large Bank)
      • Customer Reference
  4. Liking
    • People are more likely to agree to offers from people whom they like.There are several factors that can influence people to like some people more than others:
      • Physical attractiveness can give people a “halo” effect whereby others are more likely to trust them and think of them as smarter and more talented.
      • People tend to like people who are most like themselves.
      • People tend to like those who pay them compliments.
      • People who they are forced to cooperate with to achieve a common goal tend to form a trust with those people.
      • People tend to like people that make them laugh. For example, many lectures start with a joke.

      Any one of the above methods may not help influence people, but used in combination, their effects can be magnified.

      • Practices
        • Dress sharp for meetings
        • Match the person body language and personality
        • Find out what they did on the weekend and bring that up in next meeting
        • Find commonality (Family, Sports, etc.)
        • Make a joke
  5. Authority
    • The Milgram experiment ran by Stanley Milgram provided some of the most stunning insights into how influential authority can be over others.People often act in an automated fashion to commands from authority, even if their instincts suggest the commands should not be followed.
      • Practice
        • Gartner References
        • Brining in Experts
  6. Scarcity
    • People tend to want things as they become less available. This has led advertisers to promote goods as “limited availability”, or “short time only”.It has also been shown that when information is restricted (such as through censorship), people want the information more and will hold that information in higher regard.

      Items are also given a higher value when they were once in high supply but have now become scarce.

    • Practice
      • Offer the Discount for a limited time only – scarcity of budget
      • Allocation of resourcing needs time – Scarcity of resources 
      • Project timeline and to achieve business outcomes – Scarcity of time



The technology industry is renowned for innovation, disruption and the fast pace of change. And yet, an old approach to sales lingers after almost 30 years. Fortunately, solution selling is in its twilight years. It’s dying. And so will any technology vendor that persists with solutions as its primary focus.

A new generation of technology vendors has moved past solution selling. They’ve learned that solving a problem doesn’t guarantee the business result the customer needs. They’re focusing their considerable skill on enabling that business result, not just solving a current problem. This is the third generation of technology sales.

The First Generation was Crushed

The first generation of technology sales began in the 70s as software packages appeared. Customers would evaluate software packages using long lists of features and functions they thought they needed. The package with the most ticks would win the deal. Sadly, the correlation between the number of ticks and the ability to deliver business results for the customer wasn’t strong.

Software packages matured over the next decade or two. The features and functions became more similar in each package. It became more difficult for vendors to win deals based on their features and functions.

The Second Generation

In the late 80s, the second generation of technology sales appeared. Vendors asked customers about the problems they experienced. The vendors then showed customers how they could solve those problems. And because they had solved the same problems in other companies, they could often provide insight. They could show new ways to address the problems.

Customers started to buy from vendors they felt could best solve their problems. This second generation of vendors crushed the generation one vendors. Demonstrating features and functions just didn’t stack up against a competitor that zeroed in on customer pain points and showed how they could be solved. The technology industry rapidly adopted solution selling. Lots of different sales methodologies appeared. Strategic Selling, Solution Selling, SPIN Selling, Target Account Selling and many more were launched. More recently, The Challenger Sale has become popular.

Why the Second Generation Will be Crushed

The Pace of Change

An implicit assumption underpinned the solution-selling approach – if the customer solves their current problems, they’ll achieve the business results they need. The third generation of technology vendors knows they can no longer make this assumption.

The pace of change in business has had a profound effect. Few people doubt that business changes more rapidly than ever before. And that the pace of change will continue to increase. The technology industry itself has been a major driver of this rapid change. The problem for customers lies in the time it takes for a second-generation approach. It takes too long to analyse current problems, evaluate alternative approaches, evaluate different vendors, implement the vendor’s products and wait for the positive effect on business results. By the time this process is finished, a whole new set of problems has arisen. The customers remain in catch-up mode.

Customers need to focus directly on the future business results they need to achieve. And they want a vendor who can show them how to get there.

Failed Implementations Cost Vendors More than Ever

Other factors affect the achievement of the customer’s business results. The quality of implementation leads the list. Failed implementations leave the customer with significant expenses, poor results and deep anger. The vendor usually has some culpability. But, so does the customer. Lots of factors affecting the implementation are owned by the customer. The quality of the new processes the customer wants, for example. Or how the technology will be used. For the project itself, the quality of the customer’s project team, the amount of resources committed, the involvement of senior executives, the decision-making process and the quality of change management deeply affect the results. The customer decides on all these things.

But, a big problem has emerged for vendors. Subscription pricing means a failed implementation has a major impact on future revenue. The customer may cancel their subscription. Or, they just don’t grow their usage because of the poor results. Either way, the vendor’s revenue suffers.

The third generation of technology vendors has learned they can no longer leave those other factors up to the customer. There’s too much risk to the vendor’s revenue. The vendor needs to play a proactive role on all factors affecting the customer’s business results.

New Insights

The third generation of vendors can provide new insight. The second generation provided insight on problems, helping customers see issues they didn’t realise they had. The third generation can provide insight on business results the customer didn’t know were possible. They can describe a new to-be state or ongoing business result. They have insight into results achieved by other companies and into the ability of technology to enable these new business results.

These vendors attract the attention of customers with their insights. And they win deals by selling their ability to enable them.

Characteristics of the Third Generation of Technology Vendors

They Focus on Customers’ Business Results

These vendors are crystal clear about the business results needed by their customers. And in many cases, they provide insight into a new to-be state or business result the customer can aspire to. They’re thriving because they build their business around enabling those business results.

They Leave Less to Chance

Subscription pricing means a failed implementation has a much bigger effect on future revenue. These vendors have become experts at everything required to achieve the needed business results. And they proactively help the customer with all of them.

They Sell Differently

The second generation of vendors sold their ability to solve a set of problems. The third generation sells their ability to enable the customer’s business results. And they differentiate by providing new insight into what results are possible.

How to Move to the Third Generation

It starts by developing crystal clarity about the business results you can help your customers achieve. And, like Steve Jobs, don’t ask the customers first. Work out what they need, tell them and then see if your new insight resonates.

Next, work out how to sell the business results. Your methodology may not change much, but what you’re selling will be different.

Then, work out the other things you need to do to enable the business results you’re selling.

Finally, develop a plan to evolve to your new model. Just as the move from generation one to generation two did not take place overnight, the move from generation two to generation three will be more of an evolution than a revolution. It will take some time.

There’s a good chance you’ve already started this journey. But you don’t want to be like the generation one vendors who didn’t evolve to generation two – and were crushed!

Technology Event/Conference/Forums/Summits Calendar (Video replays)

Technology Event/Forums/Summits Calendar

International Convention Centre Sydney | A LIST Guide

It’s not possible for all of us to get to all of these forums, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you can always review the conference playbacks. Isn’t it amazing. These are my go to to in terms of my day-to-day and self interest. I will try to keep this curated list so that it’s easy to rewatch.

  1. Team Cymru –
  2. Spark + AI Summit
  3. Apple Developer Conference
  4. Kafka Summit
  5. Open Source Digital Forensics Conference
    3. 2020 –
  6. Microfocus Universe –
  7. HasiConf
    2. 2019 –
  8. Legacy stuff (lols)
    1. VMware World –
    2. VMware vForum –
    3. Citrix Synergy –
  9. AWS Summit –
  10. Microsoft Ignite –
  11. Google IO –
  12. Google Chrome Dev Summit –
  13. Google Next
    1. Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir
  14. Anisble
  15. Flutter Interact –
    2. 2019 –
  16. Facebook Summit –
  17. Black Hat –
  18. DEFCON –
  19. Derbycon
  20. RSA Conference
  21. Red Team Mayhem
  22. Gartner Security Summit
    • meh
  23. AISA
    • meh
  24. StartCon Australia
  26. Unity Summit
  27. Unreal Summit
  28. Git Universe –
  29. Sp4rkCon 2020
  30. Mitre Con
  31. E3 –
  32. SANS Cyber Threat Intelligence –
  33. SAS 2020 – 27th Static Analysis Symposium
  34. Splunk Con –
    2. 2020
  35. SharkFest
  36. Houdini Hive Paris
    1. 2019
  37. Forums
  38. Cyber Week

Strategic Facilitators / Brain Storming / Idea Generation / Design Thinking Workshop

Strategic Facilitators / Brain Storming / Idea Generation

Idea Generation or Innovation and Product Development

So you decided your company should be innovative. So what’s next

Allot of CEO talk about Innovation, yet they are missing the vital execution step to develop and foster and capture innovative thinking.

White paper on Innovation

It is simply a process, method to capture your employees or customers ideas via an idea management solutions.

Idea management is a structured process of generating, capturing, discussing and improving, organizing, evaluating and prioritizing valuable insight or alternative thinking that would otherwise not have emerged through normal processes.

  • Brown Paper session, a large sheet of paper, so-called Brown Paper, is hung on the wall. The workshop participants all work together towards a solution using that paper. You can ask specific questions, after which the responses are written with a marker on sticky notes. These notes are then put on the sheet and are then re-arranged during a later phase by moving them around on the sheet

Here is a quick review of a few Idea Management platforms:



Jedi Mind Control for Presales

Jedi Mind Control for Presales

  • Opinions Count – Adding the phrase “in your opinion …” to a question softens the reply if the customer has an objection. “In your opinion, will this solve your problem?” If the customer says no, it’s an opinion, not a fact, and you can address his concern. This is a great trial close to use as the sales cycle progresses so that you don’t encounter any surprises when it’s time to wrap up the deal
  • Sharp Angle Close – When the customer asks for a concession, whether it is price, delivery or additional features, respond by asking, “If I can do that for you today, will you sign a purchase order?” This is an important closing question – if you agree without asking for close, then the customer has an open door to continue asking for concessions.

    The Art of saying something without saying anything -This is a great capability for under performing sales people in joint internal meetings or end of quarter business reviews, otherwise knowns as QBRs. Its when a Sales Directors ask a Sales Rep about  performance and how they will make sure to hit targets next quarter. Its a skill of answering that questions but not answering the question. I am not sure how to do this, but i seen it happen and then the Sales Director say Good job Mr X and move on the the next Sales Guy. This is a very amazing skill and astonishing to experience live.