We typically encounter about 3000 interruption-based marketing messages every day – in the form of web/email/magazine/newspaper/radio/TV ads and commercials, billboards, other signage, and even the drink cans, bottles and snacks that we consume in conference rooms during meetings! Our brains are presented with this onslaught constantly. Accordingly we make very rapid yes/no, keep/discard decisions about what is important (things that are threatening, attractive, unusual, or humorous) and what can be ignored and discarded right away. To add to this, our brains also operate in “stack” fashion, with the most recent inputs tending to push the slightly older inputs out of the stack, to be forgotten. In demos, we are constantly battling these forces as we seek to have the information that we deliver stick firmly in our customers’ brains – and hopefully more firmly than information coming from our competition. What can we do to help customers retain the key ideas we want them to...
Peter CohanThe Second Derivative
0 comments 231 readsPosted on 2013-05-05
0 comments 269 readsPosted on 2013-04-04
In Great Demo! Workshops we teach the idea of using a Situation Slide to start demo meetings, especially for Technical Proof demos, with Situation Slides generated and presented using PowerPoint or Keynote. A number of Workshop participants ask if this is the only way to present Situation Slide information or are there other options?
There are (at least) three methods of delivery that practitioners use today:
- As a slide presented using PowerPoint or Keynote
- Presented verbally
- Using a whiteboard or flipchart
Using PowerPoint or Keynote, some practitioners use the “controlled vocabulary” version of the slide:
Job Title/Industry: VP Sales, Mid-size Software
Critical Business Issue: Achieve/exceed quarterly and annual quota
Problems/Reasons: Poor insight into pipeline/forecast
Specific Capabilities: Rapid view of actuals, status, problems
0 comments 201 readsPosted on 2013-02-22
People (and companies) perceive themselves as unique, particularly with respect to their situations – but they also want to feel that they are not alone, that others suffer from similar problems (and have found good ways to solve those problems that may also apply to them…).
When doing Discovery, one objective is to make the customer feel comfortable that you understand their unique situation. This is best accomplished by asking good, relevant questions.
A second objective in the Discovery process is to help the customer visualize the possibility of a solution to their problems (not the details, just that a solution is possible). One way to achieve this is, after you have a clear understanding of their situation, is to comment “We’ve been able to help others in situations that were very similar to yours…” This places them into a group where they perceive they are not alone… [Some sales methodologies, e.g., Solution Selling and CustomerCentric Selling, call this...
0 comments 233 readsPosted on 2013-02-11
What should you do when find yourself in a demo where part of the audience is face-to-face with you in a conference room and a number of additional participants are connecting remotely (e.g., via WebEx or GoToMeeting)? In addition to the ideas already published in my Remote Demos articles and blog tips, here are three more “best” practices to consider:
First, operate as if everyone is remote. That way, you are using your mouse and various annotation tools to draw attention to elements of your software on both the projector screen in the face-to-face room and the remote participants’ screens as well. Clearly, any physical pointing you do using your hands (or stick or laser pointers) can only be seen by those who are face-to-face.
However, there is an additional twist: you also need to be the “Active Conduit” of information, communicating what is going on in the face-to-face room out to those who are remote. For example, if there is a side-bar conversation, you...
0 comments 125 readsPosted on 2013-01-29
A common complaint amongst presales folks is that they rarely get a chance to see one another’s demos. Individuals form habits and fall into ruts (“we are victims of momentum”), repeating demos over and over (sometimes numbingly!) with very few opportunities to improve.
Presales teams are equipping and operating out of more home offices, struggling to learn more products and technologies, dealing with an ever-increasing pace of business, and gathering at fewer face-to-face meetings (e.g., sales kick-off meetings and quarterly inquisition events, with agendas already overstuffed) – and the challenge is only getting tougher.
Carving out time for “Demo Days” accordingly becomes very much more important. In the past, Demo Days were often face-to-face sessions where individual presales team members would share particularly successful demos, tips, best practices and introduce new products, but they often consumed ½ day or longer to make them useful, since teams didn’t get...
0 comments 265 readsPosted on 2013-01-15
Discovery questions can and should not only include discussion of the desired solution as visualized for initial deployment, but might also explore looking further out in time. Discussion might include:
- Early “wins” and how best to achieve them (which also relieve the pressure on the buyer to have justified his/her purchase – very important!)
- Ongoing development/maintenance/support – including product roadmaps
- Involvement in user’s groups (and possible presentations of completed applications and achievements)
- Further deployment, expansion or development of additional applications, etc.
- A view as to the state of things 3-5 years out – what is the long-term vision the customer has in mind
Interestingly, in some cases a very strong vision of the customer’s future state several years out may be one of the strongest driving forces in the sales process (particularly for some industries and...
0 comments 307 readsPosted on 2013-01-02
I am constantly amazed at how vendors, in their demos, expect audiences to retain and remember the (often) enormous number of features and functions presented – particularly when human brains are rather poor at remembering undifferentiated lists of information. For example: Have you ever had the following happen to you?
You drive to the grocery/supermarket with a mental list of 5 items in your head. Everything is fine until the moment you step through the door into the store, when you suddenly can’t recall 2 (or more) of the items on your mental list. You can remember the first item or two, and perhaps the last one, but – darn it! – what were those other items? Being presented with the hundreds of items (and advertising) seems to have knocked those middle items off of your mental list – and you often don’t recall what they were until you exit the store…
What can we do to combat this when WE are presenting demos? Here’s a short list (additions welcome):
0 comments 324 readsPosted on 2012-12-14
Name two words that strike fear and terror into the hearts of customers watching a software demonstration – two words that lengthen demos and turn short, crisp pathways into journeys worthy of Norse sagas. These are, of course:“If” and “Or”Recently, I was watching a demo where a...
0 comments 733 readsPosted on 2012-11-09
A number of people have asked about how to draft Discovery Documents – should one use full-length questions or something shorter, for example?
One starting point is to use full sentences. This may be good for people who are new to an arena or who are learning how to do Discovery, as it provides a script, essentially, that new folks can follow.
However, once people have become moderately practiced and reasonably knowledgeable, I recommend a crisper technique – more of a template or outline approach.
In my use of Discovery Documents, each topic is presented as a word or short word phrase, and not as full questions. These serve as prompters for me to remember to address or explore what can be a large number of topic areas. For example, my current Discovery Document (used for exploring my prospects’ demo practices) is about 1 and 3/4 pages long, where each topic is typically 1-5 items (often a header “topic” with one or a few “sub-topics”, all shown as a word...
0 comments 897 readsPosted on 2012-11-05
I can visualize folks in marketing cogitating over plans for a new product launch…
“Ok, let’s see… We have our checklist for our upcoming product launch:
- Website info – check!
- Down-loadable collateral – check!
- Competition comparison – check!
- SWOT analysis – check!
- Features and benefits – check!
- Press release – check!
- ROI calculator – check!
- Product overview presentation – check!
- Demo script – check!
- Field sales training presentation – check!
What’s missing from this list?
Discovery Documents – the list of questions and topics that sales and presales people need to perform adequate Discovery for these new products. Far too often these documents are either missing entirely – or are laughably light. I once saw a set of “qualification questions” that was limited to “Are you...