What is the Buyer Journey?

Having thought a lot in the last few days about the difference of a buyer journey and the selling journey, sometimes I think we focus too much about the "sales" part of the job title. 

We're really helping move a buyer closer to onboarding, consuming and using more of a technology to solve their business problem.   I've thought of 3 ways how you could re-imagine the presales role with this in mind.
The 3 concepts are "Buyer Enablement", "Pre-customer success" and "Moving buyers from interested to preferred"

Buyer enablement

Instead of focusing on our sales process, lets manage our involvement based on where the buyer is on their journey, and make them the central part of our activities.  Most of the gates and stages of a sales process are designed to measure and control this, but if we get back to basics, focus on working out what has the buyer realized so far about their journey, and what is stopping them from going further, or going faster through that journey.  Things like buyer guides, trial guides, process change and how they will incorporate the technology into their daily life are the kinds of assets that help them do this, and be more ready to move forwards.  When we run demos, proof of concepts or validation events, we should make sure we do them in a way that helps the buyer sell the value internally, and get the funding approved.

Pre-customer success

The other thing that most subscription based revenue companies should be caring about is not just winning new logos, but ensuring that they will stick around and deliver long term value and long term revenue.  Instead of thinking of ourselves as pre-sales which puts the focus on the selling part of the job, why not think of the steps that need to happen in order to deliver success to customers, and in turn result in long term value.  Part of this is making sure that the journey goes smoothly through the buying gate, and that customers have some consistency in how the team after the sale are as informed about the customer's goals and needs and passionate about delivering them, as the team before.  Having joined up thinking in terms of describing use cases and measurements of success will make sure the customer's journey is smooth.

Moving buyers from interested to preferred

The difference of best in class versus a "good enough" solution tends to be measured in the price premium, and customer loyalty.  Most buyers will make an emotional decision but use some facts, figures and ROI statements to back up logically.  A great sales engineer knows this already, and has worked hard on both sides - connecting emotionally with the customer and helping develop a preference for the technology, but then also delivering collateral that helps establish a gulf between the best solution and the others in consideration.

What do you feel is important for presales today?  How are you pushing yourself ahead in your career and showing more value?  How would you describe presales?