Monday, May 26, 2014

Demos – Showing Too Much: The Curse of the New Capability

Have you ever found yourself saying, “No, sorry, we don’t have the capability yet…” in demo after demo after demo?  That can be painful, particularly when you know it is something considered important by many of your prospects and customers.

Interestingly, however, a Great Demo! Workshop participant recently pointed out that once that capability is finally implemented, there is a very strong tendency to include it in every subsequent demo, whether it is of interest to the prospect or not! 

The result, of course, can make demos too long and appear too complicated.  The moral?  Treat every demo with every customers as a new situation – and focus on the Specific Capabilities needed by that prospect (whether or not they include that new capability).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Logging In As “Admin” – Failure to Suspend Disbelief…

What are we telling our customers when we log in as “Admin”?  Given that one of our objectives in a demo is to “suspend disbelief”, an “Admin” login is telling the customer that the session won’t be real – it won’t reflect what typical users would see – and anything that is obviously fake hurts our cause.  Instead of “Admin”, I’d suggest that you choose a more user-oriented, realistic login (like your own name), whenever possible.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Difficulties in Demonstrating Toolkit and Toolbox Software

Many organizations don’t describe their offerings as complete applications, but rather as toolkits or toolboxes – and very often struggle to find effective ways to demonstrate them and communicate value.  Toolkit offerings enable enormous flexibility, but may demand an ability to visualize what end deliverables might resonate with specific customers.

Consider the following toolkit list of components:
·         - The intelligent NXT features 32-bit microprocessor, a large matrix display, 4 input and 3 output ports, and Bluetooth and USB communication link
·         - Three interactive servo motors
·         - Four sensors: Ultrasonic Sensor, 2 Touch Sensors and the all-new Color Sensor
·         - Color Sensor has triple functionality: distinguishes colors and light settings, and functions as a lamp
·         - Easy-to-use software (PC and Mac) with icon-based drag-and-drop programming and 16 fun building and programming challenges
·         - All the elements (612 pieces) you need
·         - Personalize with the Sound and Icon editors
·         - Share your project files with your friends with the Pack-N-Go project packager
·         - Batteries not included

What could you build with this?  What solutions does this enable – what problems does it address?  Pretty tough!

We can take a lesson from a toy company:  Lego.  These folks have taken the concept of “a pile of bricks” – a toolkit– to a wonderful array of tangible, easy-to-envision deliverables.  For example, the toolkit listed above is the components listing for Lego’s Mindstorms robots“The NXT generation of buildable, programmable robots is here!”

And how does Lego help their customers visualize the end result?  They use Illustrations of the (very cool) robots that the kit can build.  Check them out here:

These same ideas can be applied to Vision Generation demos for toolkit and toolbox software:  generate and present Illustrations of high-probability end-results that your tools can build – and present them as examples for further exploration and discussion.