Friday, June 25, 2010

Demo Methodology Implementation Tip

Many teams that have undergone Great Demo! training use their weekly team calls to help drive implementation – and report that this small tactic has yielded rich rewards. They use part of these calls to share success stories, discuss challenges, and review demo methodology components or tips that have worked particularly well.

In the case of Great Demo! Workshop participants, they often discuss Situation Slides that are proving to be reasonably homogeneous, they share Illustrations that have been particularly effective, and outline “Do It” and “Peel Back the Layers” pathways, in addition to discussing other tips and techniques.

From time-to-time, it can also be useful to have the trainer participate in these calls, as well, to help answer questions and address new challenges that team members have encountered (I do this on request, as part of my deliverables).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sales Effectiveness Priorities

The recent CSO Insights report on Sales Management Optimization includes a very interesting finding:

In the section, “Sales Effectiveness Priorities Going Forward”, the results showed that “Improve Ability to Show our Strategic Benefit/Value” was top of the list – 34% of respondents rated this as their number 1 item and 68% included it in their top 3.

I’ll pose a question: How much of achieving this is embodied in presenting demos?

(And I’ll answer it…) In Great Demo! methodology, the value associated with the customer making the change from the current state to the desired future (aka the Delta) is a key component that needs to be uncovered and clearly articulated as part of the demo.

This is an area where many sales, presales and marketing organizations could clearly do better!

In traditional sales presentations and demos, the sales team often verbalizes something like, “…and using our offering will save you time and money…!” Participants of Great Demo! Workshops learn to uncover specific, tangible ways of articulating value, enabling selling teams to present information that is more concrete: “…and using our offering will enable you to redeploy 3.5 FTE and reduce your inventory by $275K on an annual basis.”

Which statement has more impact?

[The full CSO Insights Sales Management Optimization report can be purchased at]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Should Presales People Do Detailed Statement-of-Work Documents?


“Our company does something I have never heard of: The SC [“Solution Consultant” – our presales title] does a deep and detailed Statement of Work (SOW) for each serous prospect. The prospect typically never sees anyone from Professional Services until after the sale. Our company likes this approach – SC’s are perceived, by customers, as very detail-oriented and technically strong people, so they are trusted. The downside is that SC’s often spend a full week working on the SOW alone - which is not scalable.

Our company is now working to double in revenue in the near term. I’m concerned that we can't survive like this when the deal flow picks up. Have you ever encountered SC’s doing this level of real SOW’s?”


Yes, I've actually seen a number of companies do extensive SOW (or similar name) work prior to a sale for each customer. The companies that do this work tend to enjoy very high win rates vs. their competition and comparatively high customer satisfaction and retention rates. It is a great approach for dealing with offerings that require a fairly intense implementation process (system set-up, data migration, customization/configuration, etc.).

The downside(s) are exactly what you note: it is very resource intensive AND there is an enormous requirement for excellent documentation and communication of the SOW information within the vendor's team (e.g., presales to professional services and customer service). At one level, this is the essence of good CRM practices (as opposed to simply a sales forecast system).

It this process scalable? Not really - you need to have a sufficient complement of pre- and post-sales people to support the required/desired sales project bandwidth, so "scaling" often means adding people.

What can be done to improve the process? A few things, possibly:

- Some of the information currently collected in the SOW process may not be material - this could be cut out of the process. You may have to look at a broad range of implementations to determine what could be cut out, however.

- Boilerplate: Good boilerplate text and structure for SOW's can save a great deal of time and effort in documenting the information. It might even get to the level of pre-defined items with check-boxes or similar to help speed the process. Take a look at how doctors document their diagnosis information as an example...

Any other recommendations or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Real-Time vs. Time-Slice

Nice positioning/distinction I heard recently: What’s the difference between a dashboard and a report? Dashboards offer “real-time” views; Reports offer a “time slice”.