Joey has worked in technology consulting for more than 20 years, spending the last 14 of those focused on presales and solution architecture. He has worked as a consultant within large companies like PeopleSoft and within several fast-paced consultancies like Appirio and MTX to build their pre-sales teams, improve estimation methodology and tools, and work hand-in-hand with finance, operations and delivery to maximize profitability. He now leads the pre-sales team for Zennify, a consulting firm focused on helping financial services firms adopt Salesforce and nCino. Joey has also held leadership roles at Topcoder where he was the VP of Platform Services. Outside of work you will find Joey mountain biking in the mountains of Southwest Virginia or playing music with his band Chasing Fall!
Why are you so passionate about helping professional services businesses?
Working with and within professional services teams offers the opportunity to work with a variety of different customers across industries. I enjoy the continuous learning that requires, and the ability to share that knowledge across different customers, verticals and industries.
At what point in a company’s lifecycle do you believe the sales solution architecture skill set and roles should be built out? What advice do you have for companies starting this journey?
Organizations should be thinking about how they will support pre-sales on Day One. Day One for a startup might not mean dedicated resources as everyone has multiple responsibilities, however, creating clearly delineating between sales and delivery processes is important. Once you have a four or five-person dedicated sales team, there needs to be a plan for how they will be supported, and putting that structure into place doesn’t happen overnight. Fully onboarding a pre-sales resource is going to take 6-12 months, so make sure to plan your pre-sales team growth in lock step with your sales team.
Because solution architects play such a key role in both pre-sales and successful delivery, companies struggle with where to put these individuals or teams organizationally. What advice would you give companies as they make this decision?
Presales solution architects are typically part of the sales team, but almost always have a delivery background. In my experience, pre-sales should be dedicated to sales and not have a utilization target. Giving presales resources a delivery target can make for a contentious relationship with both sales and delivery because there isn’t a clear priority. Having dedicated resources for presales means they can focus on winning business and avoid conflicts of schedule and priorities set from multiple parts of the business.
Maintaining rate cards, including rack rates, discounting guidances and margin expectations tends to be a tough topic for companies to tackle. What advice do you have for companies just getting started with this process?
When starting out I recommend trying to keep ASM (as sold margin) calculations as simple as possible. Keep the number of roles to a minimum and figure out your average cost rate of onshore, nearshore and offshore resources. Work closely with your finance and operations teams to establish your ideal margin, and define your thresholds that would require approvals. Keep approval thresholds to two or three max. Keep it simple.