Ed: This article uses the word ‘presales’ to mean technical sales; a function and a role that works in conjunction with the sales team to help customer buy the right stuff. If you’d like to learn more, check out my latest Kindle book.
Sustainable presales may sound great, but what is it exactly? As a pioneering consultancy, we get this question on a daily basis. Personally, I’ve even been asked if it’s a bit too niche, combining presales (already a niche) and sustainability (still a bit of a niche, but changing). A fair point.
Sustainability as an underlying principle is still evolving. I feel strongly that sustainability becomes ‘real’ only once embedded into daily business practices. Sustainable presales is a prime example of adopting sustainability in your organisation. That’s also when the magic happens: that’s when sustainability brings the aspired business benefits combined with a happier world.
So, let’s dive into what sustainable presales is, as defined by – well – us. If you have alternative definitions available, please do suggest them in the comments, as we need collaboration to make a systematic change possible.
Sustainable Presales is about doing the right thing for the company, the local community, and the environment
There are many more ways to incorporate sustainable presales practices within your organisation. Depending on your current sustainability agenda (or the lack thereof), the journey can start with small steps such as starting a conversation with your manager about sustainability, or more concrete, such as creating a sustainability plan.
Sustainable Presales is about incorporating sustainability as part of industry knowledge
Finally, we cannot wait for customers and governments to tell us to change. Volunteering for Ethical Reading has made me realise more deeply that change comes from within. A large-scale shift in corporate culture is taking place, as leaders are more aware of their responsibility for their environment and their employees.
Sustainable Presales is about getting savvy about waste
Process waste, electronic waste (e-waste), digital waste, packaging waste. Wasteful practices, time wasted, wasted resources. There’s a lot of waste.
Yes, waste is bad. And there are numerous ways to make waste visible, and lots of ways to reduce waste, most notably through Lean or Six Sigma practices.
This is a tough one, but hold on tight – it brings us to the concept of circularity.
Sustainable Presales is about embracing circularity
It is evident that we cannot live like this forever: so that we can continue to enjoy material products, we will need to listen to what nature has to say and help, not hinder, its natural cycle of birth and death. It might sound a bit dramatic, but to be honest, we need something on the radical side to change our businesses.
To help re-organise the world’s use of resources, circular economy is model that is becoming ever-more mainstream. Circular economy and its butterfly diagram by Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a great way to start learning about it, if you’re new to it.
At its core, circular economy re-thinks the product or service that is created and focuses on the outcome using a circular supply chain. I’ve simplified the idea below: highlighting the blurriness between producer and consumer. The product or service cycle will evolve over time, but essentially you’re looking to increase the usage of the product lifecycle (length / intensity / utilisation) and find alternative ways to source the materials. Collection of ‘end-of-life’ product is a key part of waste management.
The same principles apply to service-only companies, and those selling only digital products.
Sustainable Presales is about having fun (responsibly)
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Sustainable presales is still in its infancy, and ever-evolving until becoming mainstream over the next couple of years. It’s a very exciting time to adopt sustainable practices for your presales and sales team. It would be great to hear your comments: what, if any, sustainable presales practices have you adopted?
If you’re curious about how to embed highly attractive sustainable practices within your presales or sales team, why not book a demo with us. Not quite ready for a demo yet? Stay up-to-date with the latest news instead.
Acronyms and definitions
*B2B – business to business: selling products and services to businesses
B2C – business to consumer: selling products and services to consumers
C2C – consumer to consumer: a platform that enables consumers to sell their products and services to other consumers (there is debate if Consumers should be referred to as Citizens instead but that’s a topic for another blog post)
D2C – direct to consumer: an evolution of B2B organisations selling products directly to (business) consumers (which may be used as a route for B2B sales)
e-commerce – electronic commerce i.e. buying and selling online
q-commerce – quick commerce: a developed version of e-commerce to meet consumers’ expectation of receiving services and products near-instantly
O2O – online to offline: companies that attract online consumers to shop in-store