Inside Infobip: An MNC with a Startup Mentality
At Infobip, we think Presales is a pretty big deal. That’s why we created this series, “Inside Infobip” — to get various inputs from within our ranks as to what Presales is, how we define it, and what’s so great about being a Presales Engineer at Infobip. Here, we glean insights from Francesco Tonelli, Enterprise Presales Engineer from Milan, Italy to see how Presales in his region compares to Zagreb, Croatia and Vancouver, CA.
How do you define Presales?
My experience over the past three years working at telcos and digital solutions and services companies in Italy and Hungary, and now, Infobip, have helped me discover what it means to work in Presales.
Presales engineers play a dual role.
The first is external-oriented, making customers aware of the added value our solutions bring, and leveraging their technological knowledge to influence decisions positively. The second is internal-oriented, enabling a constructive flow of information between Technology and Sales within a company, so that they understand each other and make necessary tradeoffs in order to maximize effectiveness and achieve key company objectives.
The Enterprise Presales Engineer is the link between the Tech/Product team, which is the core of the business, and the Sales/Account team, which provides the face of a company to its clients. Presales engineers represent the technical aspect of the sales cycle, where most of the know-how is concentrated and where most of Infobip’s reliability and credibility reside from the client’s perspective when it comes to providing solutions and satisfying expectations.
I believe the role of “Presales” at Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies today cannot be overlooked. Being the voice of the technical and core development areas, presales engineers are the true company ambassadors, bringing the real nature and value of a company to the industry.
With technical knowledge from one side and with the acquired ability to move within the sales function from the other side, presales engineers help sales representatives influence decision-makers and, in some cases, be the decisive voice on a complicated ask or requirement.
Why Presales at Infobip?
Presales engineers play a key role in helping Infobip get the attention of a client in a strong, competitive market where multiple players may offer similar products and solutions.
One of the things I like most about Infobip is the atmosphere of enthusiasm – it’s in the air, especially when you visit our HQ in Croatia (it’s a requirement for every new hire to attend our Academy orientation, which sets everyone up for success). This foundation, together with the continuous enhancement that comes from within the company in terms of strategic targets, new products, and improvements to current client solutions, make me feel that I’m in the right place, and that the best is yet to come. We’re a young company driven and moved by talented people willing to do their best job every day.
Before joining Infobip, I worked in big multinational companies for many years, where the roles were very structured and organized, and there were few opportunities for an individual to really make a difference or a personal contribution. I was attracted to Infobip as a place to both learn from colleagues and add personal value and ideas.
Infobip as a company walks that rare walk of being a multinational organization that maintains its startup mentality — It’s the best of both worlds. I also like the multi-cultural environment of the company and the ability to interact and work with colleagues from all around the globe (Infobip has 60+ offices and counting).
So what does a Presales Engineer actually do?
The main activity of a Presales Engineer at Infobip is to support sales in understanding the business and technical needs and requirements of customers, and how Infobip products and solutions can accommodate these needs.
Once the needs are understood, it’s my job to accurately report them internally and translate them into feasible solutions that benefit both the client and Infobip. Then, it’s my job to explain what the company does (creates seamless mobile interactions between businesses and people) in a way that resonates with the client, and no two clients are the same.
My daily activities consist of:
- Meetings, calls, and emails with clients
- Technical and business analysis of Request for Proposals (RFPs) and tender documentation
- Internal meetings with Sales/Account teams
- Demos and client presentations on products and the platform
- Use-case creation
- Supporting clients’ technical staff during the testing phase and potentially even during live implementation
- Studying and testing new features and product improvements
- Talking with other Presales teams and departments to get useful information and stay up to date on the latest documentation, news, and changes with the company
What is unique about Presales in your region?
Working in Presales for Infobip in Italy is both challenging and stimulating. In Italy, there are several established competitors that have long-standing relationships with most of the top enterprise businesses. Therefore, it has been very beneficial for Infobip to establish a partnership with Vodafone Italy, a leading Mobile Network Operator (MNO), which helps us expand our market coverage and target large enterprises. Still, it requires constant effort to nurture our relationship and also gain the trust of Vodafone’s customers, who may not know us or fully understand what we can do for them.
As in other progressive European countries, client projects are often complex in terms of solution design, process, and contract agreement. Many stakeholders are involved and several obstacles need to be overcome. This takes some extra effort from the presales engineer to ask the right questions to understand the “as-is” situation, report it internally, and design the required solution. Therefore, a spirit of adaptability and proactivity is essential to the process.
What do you like most about working in Presales?
I’ve known I wanted to pursue a career in technology and the sciences since high school and I’m always seeking to improve my knowledge base and skills.
Working as a Presales Engineer allows me to always capture the big picture of the projects I’m involved with and, at the same time, promptly understand where the company is headed and the steps it will take to get there. It enables me to explore and understand the world of corporate sales and business while keeping my feet grounded in the technical field, stay up-to-date on technological progress and, above all, always be realistic and credible when presenting information.
In the end, since I am an engineer with years of experience in technical roles in the IT industry, working as a presales engineer has given me the ability to positively use my background while getting closer to clients’ needs and better understanding the global ICT market.
What do you see for your Presales future?
Being an Enterprise Presales Engineer allows me to expand my technological know-how and acquire experience in designing complex solutions for enterprises. It also gives me the opportunity to increase my sales capabilities and business acumen, and to develop important soft skills like negotiation and cooperation with clients and partners, which are becoming increasingly more relevant in today’s business environment.
With experience and seniority acquired within the company, I will have the chance to become a senior, and later an expert, presales engineer with the opportunity to work at any level within the business and on any complex project across Europe and the world. Or, I could become a Team Leader helping guide new colleagues. This requires being less involved in live client projects and more in people management. For me, it’s all about growth and paying it forward.
If you’ve read this far, there’s probably something about Presales at Infobip that intrigues you. Why not view our open positions? From Casablanca to Paris, and from Sao Paulo to Sarajevo, we’re looking for people to help us dream big.