Monday, April 2, 2012

Demo Data – A Tough Nut

How can one set of demo data serve a broad range of customer situations and verticals?  (It may not be possible…)

Presales and sales team often struggle with how specific data needs to be for their customer demos.  Demo data often ranges from highly generic, to moderately focused (on specific markets or verticals), to data that that is highly specific for certain areas.  At the far end of the spectrum are POC’s and/or POV’s where the customer requires the use of their data in the experience.

Some demo teams invest a fair amount of up-front effort to generate meaningful data and corresponding forms, table-views, dashboards and front-ends.  Others invest in a “neutral” set of data and screen labels, which may offer less convincing results, depending on the software and the market.

The most successful approach I’ve seen to-date, when possible, is to have a fairly neutral set of data, but ALSO include the ability to configure or customize the screen labels and field names to map to specific markets/segments.  This may require some level of programming to achieve, but the payoff can be high.

Note that there are companies that provide pseudo-random data for QC purposes that can be used by demo teams to create reasonable example data sets. 

Any suggestions or experiences that might help with this?