Peter CohanThe Second Derivative
0 comments 225 readsPosted on 2013-12-04Stunningly Awful Sales Kickoff DemosSelling to Your Sales Force – The Toughest Customer of All!
0 comments 392 readsPosted on 2013-11-20
“Help me understand how to handle customer objections…”
“My team needs to learn how to handle objections…”
What’s wrong with these requests?
Many sales methodologies discuss ways to “overcome objections”. Many sales managers ask for skills training for their teams on “overcoming objections”. Is it possible these folks are working to address the wrong problem – or are these symptoms of a deeper problem? Perhaps objections shouldn’t come up in the first place, in a well executed sales process or demo…
Let’s explore some typical “objections”, their causes and some solutions:
“We don’t need the Cadillac version, we just want the Chevy…”
This is an indication that too many features and functions were presented in the demo – many more than the Specific Capabilities the customer actually needs. Solution? Uncover and understand what Specific Capabilities the customer needs during Discovery and present only these in the demo...
0 comments 315 readsPosted on 2013-11-13
Most traditional demos follow an illogical pathway to show vendor offerings – they spend far too much showing “Set-up” mode vs. “Daily Use” situations. This results in confused audiences and customers’ perception that the software is “too complicated”. (Ever had that happen?)
For example, most traditional demos start by presenting how a user can set up a particular workflow or task framework, from scratch. “First we turn on this setting, then we build this form, which you can change and customize further; if you want to do this then click that; if you want this other thing then change this parameter here…”, etc. This process often consumes 20, 30 or 40 minutes of a traditional demo, as the demonstrator walks through the many options and choices involved with setting-up the workflow.
By the time the presenter has completed this process, the audience is already exhausted – waaaay too much stuff to remember, waaaay too confusing, and many audience members will have...
0 comments 343 readsPosted on 2013-11-07
A demo is, generally speaking, a form of proof or vision generation. Our objective in sales is to secure the order using the leastexpensive form of proof.With that in mind, here, in order of increasing expense for the vendor, are forms of proof for a customer:
0 comments 496 readsPosted on 2013-10-23
The best sales teams go back to their customers well after the sale has been completed and ask, “So, what made you choose us [over XXX competitor]?” The answers are sometimes what you expect, but often you learn surprising new information on how customers perceive you as a vendor. This information should feed back into your positioning, Discovery conversations and other elements of your sales, implementation and follow-up processes. What have you heard from your customers that differentiates your company lately?
Harvest this information and use it!
0 comments 364 readsPosted on 2013-09-20
A number of sales methodologies have done a good job at helping sales and presales people move from talking about features to discussing the advantages that specific capabilities offer the customer. The phrase, “So What?” represents one tactic that helps push vendor representatives to talk about advantages as opposed to features. This is a good start, but we can do better…
During demos, there is inherent risk anytime you introduce capabilities that the customer has not yet requested – and, in particular, the level of risk depends greatly on how the capabilities are introduced. The “So What” tactic presumes that the customer will want or need the capability being introduced...
0 comments 769 readsPosted on 2013-08-26
Competitive Differentiation: vendors want to differentiate, vendors try to differentiate, but most vendors fail to meaningfully and successfully differentiate, in the opinion of their customers. When done poorly, differentiation can be stunningly awful; when done well it can be truly terrific! Let’s explore…
What Is Competitive Differentiation?
Most vendors define this as “capabilities that we have or do better than our competition”. Pretty straightforward, right? But do customers share this definition? Likely not.
Customers are looking for solutions that fit their perception of their current and expected future needs. A vendor with capabilities the meets these current and future needs exactly is clearly the best choice, everything else being equal (such as price).
With that in mind, a vendor who seeks to “differentiate” by simply presenting capabilities that another vendor lacks is at risk. What if the customer doesn’t see the need for these...
0 comments 392 readsPosted on 2013-08-20
Database and similar “toolkit” software are wonderful in that they can do so many things. The corresponding challenge is that database and toolkit software can be difficult to present to customers who don’t alreadyhave a vision of how they want to use these tools. This can be vision generation at its most challenging!
Part of the problem is that the majority of customers don’t know how to translate the enormous potential offered by these packages into problem-solving applications. They may know they have a problem –and may be interested in solving the problem, but they don’t see how the database/toolkit will help solve the problem.
Most traditional database/toolkit demos show piles of capabilities, but leave it to the customer to figure out how these features and functions will manifest as a solution to customer problems. One beautiful solution to this challenge is to show example applications – example finished products – so that customers get a vision of what...
0 comments 467 readsPosted on 2013-07-29
Management wants the presales team to show an “end-to-end overview integrated demo of our full suite…” as a part of a typical “introductory” meeting. Management is convinced that “customers need to see the power of the integrated suite and all of the key modules”. This has “Harbor Tour” written all over it (and a very lengthy one at that)!
You are shopping for a new car – and the sales person insists on showing you all of the company’s models and having you test drive each (roadster, economy cars, sedans, SUVs, crossovers, etc.). How would you feel?
You go to the hospital to see a doctor about a flu that has been dragging on too long – and the doctor points you to the pharmacy and says, “Give everything there a try and let me know what seems to work…” How would you feel?
You go to a bookstore to find a travel guide to a foreign country for an upcoming vacation – and the store is organized such that you have...
0 comments 820 readsPosted on 2013-07-01
Showing too many capabilities (that the customer does not perceive they will use) can cause vendors to “buy it back” when it is time to discuss price. An “All You Can Eat” buffet offers a good analogy in the world of restaurants and food…
An “All You Can Eat” buffet can be a great thing if you are (a) really hungry and (b) typically eat a large amount of food and/or (c) have several teenage male children. On the other hand, what if you aren’t very hungry or don’t eat a lot of food at one sitting? Then an “All You Can Eat” offering is likely too much – and may be perceived as too expensive.
This last observation is very interesting: the actual price for the meal at many “All You Can Eat” buffets may be in the middle of the range for a typical restaurant meal, but because we don’t plan to eat as much as others might, our perception is that the price is targeted at those more consuming eaters, leaving us with the feeling that we are paying too much for our meal....