Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In a recent Great Demo! Workshop, one of the participants performed a delightful method of introducing capabilities to the customer audience:  after the initial review of the Situation Slide, presentation of the Illustration and demo of the “Do It” pathway, she asked if the customer was interested in any of a few items, which she verbalized very briefly.  The customer said, “Please show me the first two you mentioned…”

Wonderful!  She was very cleverly applying the Menu Approach in a small, controlled situation, listing and describing a few capabilities that would logically come next in a demo – and that customers might be interested in seeing, based on prior her experience.  A key to this is that she asked the customer if they wanted to see them (and which ones), rather than simply launch into “…and now the next really cool thing I want to show you is…” 

What a terrific way to move smoothly into “Peeling Back the Layers”!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Averting Stalled Sales Opportunities - Webinar

I’ll be joining Ron Snyder of Breakthrough, Inc. in an upcoming webinar.  My portion of the content will briefly explore what key customer information is needed prior to presenting a demo – to avoid “Harbor Tours”.  Here’s the balance of the webinar invitation:

Are you tired of working hard on a sales opportunity only to find an unexpected issue that stalls the sales process?

You are not alone!

Having an effective sales planning process, sharing insight across the internal team and enabling great demos, greatly improves sales productivity and use of resources. Learn how to make this happen and greatly improve your sales results…

v  Reduce “no decisions”
v  Avoid going back two steps
v  Eliminate sales process inefficiencies
v  Focus on better opportunities
v  Use your resources more effectively
In this webinar, Averting Stalled Sales Opportunities, Ron Snyder and Peter Cohan show you the key steps to forestall a stalled sales process via better planning and sales process management.

Sign up for the webinar here:
December 10 at 12:00 – 1:00 PM Pacific time

And receive copies of the White Papers: “Managing Territories to Maximize Results” and “Managing Key Accounts to Maximize Results.”
Topics covered:

v  The Challenge causing stalled sales
v  Elements of a Successful Plan
v  Guiding the Sales Process- using the Plan
v  Coordinating Activities, including Demos
v  A Sample Plan

Ron Snyder, of Breakthrough, Inc. and Plan 2 Win Software, has trained thousands of salespeople and managers on sales effectiveness, territory and account planning. Prior to that, he was a top ranked sales salesperson at Hewlett-Packard and a manager in the field sales force and a marketing manager.
Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of The Second Derivative, focused on helping software organizations improve their sales and marketing results – primarily through improving organizations’ demonstrations.

Sean Murphy, our Moderator, is CEO of SKMurphy providing customer development services for high-tech companies. SKMurphy focus is on early customers and early revenue.

December 10 at 12:00 – 1:00 PM Pacific time

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hmmmm – White-boarding PPT?

I just watched a 35 minute presentation on white-boarding – delivered entirely in PowerPoint.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Discovery Documents – As Questions, Topics or ?

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 or short word-phrase).

For example, I've listed "Remote Demos" as a topic.  There are a broad range of additional questions that I might ask associated with this topic, if appropriate for any particular prospect (e.g., What tool do you use?  What percent of demos are face-to-face vs. remote?  Do you typically have someone from your team (sales person, for example) at the customer site?  How long are your remote demos, typically?  Are they largely used for vision generation – done early in the sales process, "deeper dive", follow-up from face-to-face meetings?  Are you doing webinars [another "topic" area on its own...] etc.).

Here are two topics from my current Discovery Document, as an illustration:

Remote Demos:
-          %:
-          Tool:
-          Uses:
-          Who Does?
-          Process/Discovery Documents?
-          Enough Done?
-          How/When Communicated:

I think of each topic as a reminder and entry point into a hierarchy of questions that could be asked, where each hierarchy can be explored as broadly and deeply as is appropriate for each prospect individual.  Additionally, I may try to "seed" questions in a topic that would lead naturally to another topic on my list.

Any additional thoughts or ideas?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stunningly Wonderful Example of a “Before” Illustration

A Great Demo! Workshop participant offered this as a sadly real example of a “Before” Illustration – from an article entitled, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint”:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Discovery Documents – For New Product Launches

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 looking for a new ‘blank’ system?” 

Discovery Documents that are useful for sales and presales people may need to include sets of questions around the following four basic areas:

ü    Who?
ü    How many?
ü    How often?
ü    Pain points?
ü    Workflow?
ü    Needs/requirements?
ü    Delta?
ü    When needed?
ü    Do nothing?
Critical Business Issues:
ü    Why?
ü    What’s driving this?
ü    Who’s driving this?

And that’s just a starting point…! 

Discovery is often where sales are won (or lost).  Equipping the field with strong Discovery Documents is an integral – and critical – piece of the new product launch.