Friday, April 16, 2010

Demo “Capital” – An Undervalued Resource?

Consider the sum of an organization's knowledge, know-how, tools, techniques, tips and success stories related to demonstrating one's offerings. As with other types of capital, how can this best be captured, developed, and leveraged? How is it valued (how should it be valued)?

Your use of Demo Capital should yield competitive advantages and opportunities, ranging from sales successes, to productivity and efficiency gains, to attracting and retaining high-value employees. A first step is to identify what you have…

What is Demo Capital?

Here are some tangible elements of Demo Capital, as a starting point:

- Demo databases
- Demo virtual machine images
- Demo scripts
- Meeting preparation sheets and forms
- Qualification, discovery and analysis forms and documents
- CRM system fields and forms
- Situation Slides
- Illustrations
- Proscribed “Do It” pathways
- Proscribed “Peel Back the Layers” pathways
- Documented answers to typical questions
- Formal Success Stories
- Documented Informal Success Stories
- Market-specific data, notes, and materials
- Competitive strengths/weaknesses pieces
- RFP response boilerplate (and “Row Adding” opportunities)
- Documented stories, props and similar tools proven successful for demonstrations

Intangible (undocumented) Demo Capital elements might include:

- Improvements and changes made to documented materials (but not documented)
- Best practices as evolved by the team
- Tips, tricks and techniques for face-to-face demos
- Tips, tricks and techniques for Remote Demos
- Particularly successful props, stories, and related presentation “nuggets”

Clearly, these lists are not exhaustive – a brief brainstorming exercise should yield longer and more specific lists unique to your own organization. The resulting list should also alert you to the potential value of the Demo Capital you have – and the gaps associated with capture and re-use.

What is the Value of Your Organization’s Demo Capital?

A simplistic answer is the corresponding direct cost to create and accumulate your Demo Capital. This is roughly the number of people involved multiplied by the time invested, multiplied by the average FTE rate for those people. A team of 10 people operating for 10 years with an average FTE rate of $150K yields a valuation of $15M. Is this a fair estimate? Perhaps…

Another approach examines the cost of not leveraging existing capital. This could equate to sales opportunities lost to competitors or “no decision” – often a dangerously large number!

It could be measured by the time-cost and opportunity-cost of doing repeat work:

- People recreating materials or tools (they could not find or were unaware of)
- Team members developing know-how (that already exists in the organization, but has not been communicated or captured)
- On-boarding processes, where individuals may take months or years to learn methods, find tools, and develop processes on their own (that could have been taught in days or weeks)

Or it could be calculated, in the negative case, by the cost of replacing a highly-valued employee who chose to move to another company. However calculated, the inevitable question is, “Are we getting the best results from our investment?” – or, more bluntly, “Are we getting sufficient results from our investment?”

I’ve heard heads of sales observe that it takes a full year to bring a new sales person up-to-speed to be able to achieve quota – and 2 years or longer for a new presales or marketing person to support the sales process satisfactorily. Is this too long and too expensive?

Yield From Investment

Here’s the payoff – and the challenge! There are a range of strategic and tactical questions that guide us on how to get the best yield from our existing investment in Demo Capital:


- What do we have? What’s missing? Where is it? How is it organized, accessed?
- How do we use it today? How could it be better used?
- Are there tools available to help? Are there best practices that we can apply?


- Can we shorten our sales cycles? Improve our sales processes? Increase revenue per opportunity?
- How can we increase efficiency and productivity in our sales, presales and marketing groups?
- Can we improve our ability to hire and retain top-performing staff? How do we develop existing staff further?

Assessing, capturing and leveraging Demo Capital can clearly be a means to address some of the critical business challenges faced by sales, pre-sales, and marketing leadership – and at mid-management and staff levels as well.

If you feel uncomfortable with this as the end of this piece, like something is missing, then I’ve succeeded! I drafted this to stimulate thinking and begin a conversation – looking forward to hearing your ideas, suggestions, and experiences.

No comments: