I received this email recently and want to share it as it shows a number interesting challenges – and solutions to those challenges:
“For me the thing I struggle with the most is both the customer and our sales team always want to rush to the demo.
The customer is usually the worst offender. They don’t even know what they are looking for but they insist jumping straight to a demo is the best use of their time. They feel our attempts to dig deeper pre-demo is just stalling.
I have had some difficult customers come around, and moved from what were dead ends to real opportunities. For one customer it went something like:
Customer: We want to replace our system.
Us: What are some of the issues with the current system. Can you share your workflows and describe what you would like to accomplish?
Customer. No, we want a demo.
Us: We need to understand what you want to do before we can give a useful demo.
[Repeat for several rounds with the account rep becoming more and more nervous…]
We finally got a call where they unloaded about all the things they could not do in the current system, frustrations with the current vendor around support, etc. We finally had exactly what we needed.
A week later we did a 45 minute Great Demo! hitting their specific issues. The follow-up email from the customer stated they had decided to purchase from us (even before a full quote) and said they are not considering another product because we addressed all of their issues.
We would have never gotten to this point if we did a generic demo after the first meeting. Getting our sales team to push back in situations like this has been my biggest challenge so far. Once the rep sees the process play out it becomes much easier. We just have to work through the process with everyone. I suspect this is not uncommon.”
Perseverance paid off!
[Note, also, that using a Vision Generation demo early in the process might have helped in situations like these – see my article at http://www.secondderivative.com/vision-generation-demos.html for more details.]