Monday, June 8, 2015

The Value of Reducing Risk – Difficult Deltas

What is the value, to a customer, of software tools that help reduce risk?  This is often difficult to uncover and convey, but the good news is that organizations need to manage and reduce risk.  Interestingly, the higher the level of the job title, the more clearly this is understood. 

Software that helps to manage and reduce risk is often equated to buying insurance – we’d rather pay a small amount each year to make sure we are protected against accidents, malicious acts and natural disasters rather than risking the full cost of replacement or repair of our house, car, or our health.  Typical business risks include, along with the costs:

-          Risk of data breach:  costs of suits and damage to corporate image
-          Risk of non-compliance:  fines, additional audits (often costly), possible damage to corporate image
-          Risk of natural or man-made disaster:  lost records (compliance risks), loss of productivity, costs of rework
-          Risk of human resources or customer interaction errors (another form of non-compliance, really):  costs of suits and damage to corporate image
-          Risk of project failure or delay:  loss of investment and/or rework costs, possible suits

One simple way (a good starting point) to assign a value to these risks is to research what has happened to other, similar organizations to your customer and use those specific fines and costs as real-world examples.   I did a quick Google search using “cost of data breach” and found the following:

1.    “The risk and cost of a data breach continue to grow. The recent Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach study found the average cost of a data breach to be $5.5 million with average cost per compromised record more than $194.”

That’s from (Ponemon Institute/Symantec).   

Other thoughts on this?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Revelation: Why So Few Pre-Demo Prep Calls

I have often wondered why, in many organizations, there are few or no pre-demo meeting preparation calls (between sales and presales folks).  The answer suddenly became clear:  it is because there is no point to a pre-demo prep call if:

- You always do the same exact demo each time…
- There is never any information about the customers’ needs, objectives or situation – and the plan is to simply “Show them a demo…”
- In spite of completing some degree of Discovery and uncovering some useful information, you still show the same exact demo each time…

The resulting demos will likely be perceived by the customers as one of the following:

- Show Up and Throw Up
- Spray and Pray
- Tech Splatter
- A Wet Noodle Demo
- A Museum Tour Demo
- The Talking Brochure
- A Harbor Tour
- Product Vomit
- The Hope Demo
- The “Hail Mary” Demo
- A Visit to IKEA
- The Core Dump
- The “Where is this going…? Demo aka
- The “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” Demo [translation available privately…]

In case 1 above, there is little point in discussing the objectives for the meeting or the customer’s situation if the same demo is presented every time, regardless of customer needs or desires.  In case 2 above, you are clearly “living in the Land of Hope…”

Note that in case 3 above (where some Discovery is done), it is HIGHLY insulting to customers form them to invest time answering a number of Discovery questions and then have the demo IGNORE what had been discussed:

- Imagine going to a nice restaurant:   the waiter asks if there are any specific needs (vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, for example) and learns that the group is strictly vegetarian – and the waiter then proceeds to describe “tonight’s specials, featuring the rack of lamb, filet of beef, venison sausage, duck breast and roast pork…"
- Imagine going to a doctor with a splitting headache:  and the doctor proceeds to put your arm in a cast, because that’s what he wants to do…
- Imagine going to a hardware store for a replacement lightbulb:  you ask, “Can you please direct me to the lightbulbs?” and you are told, “We’ve got a great selection of loose screws, nuts and bolts – I’ll take you to that area…”

The take-away message?  If your demo meetings fall into cases 1, 2, or 3 you should rethink your sales and demo processes!