Friday, April 28, 2017

[Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert!] Great Demo! Public Workshop May 3-4 - Last Call

We have just a few more seats available for the next Great Demo! Public Workshop, scheduled May 3-4 in Sunnyvale, CA - last chance!

Registration and additional information for this Workshop can be found at  

Public Workshops are excellent opportunities for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires. They are 1.75-Day Workshops, with the first day focusing largely on core Great Demo! material and the second ¾ day addressing more advanced topics and techniques. 

We’ve found that these sessions are most productive when there are two or more participants from each organization – and best when a combination of sales and presales participants are present (singletons are also fine). This helps to mimic real-life interactions as much as possible, both when preparing demos and delivering them in the role-play sessions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Great Demo! – Disruptive Innovation

At a recent Great Demo! Workshop, a senior manager commented that Great Demo! is not an incremental change – it is a disruptive innovation.  I asked him to explain.

He said that several years ago he’d had his team go through a “demo skills training” class (not Great Demo!) and saw some small incremental improvements.  He noted things like adding benefit statements after introducing capabilities and being a bit more engaging.  He commented, however, that while the team’s demos were a bit better, they weren’t yielding the corresponding improvements in the metrics he tracked and wanted.

He noted that he’d researched Great Demo! and sent “scouts” to a Public Great Demo! Workshop about 18 months ago.  On strength of their feedback – and more important, on the changes in the metrics that he tracked – he decided to put his entire team through the training. 

As he tracked the first few teams of graduates’ progress, he noted substantial improvements in the metrics he tracked, including number-of-demos-per-$-of-revenue, sales-cycle-time, length-of-demos, number-of-closes-by-demo vs. by-POC, and others (including direct feedback/comments from customers and sales people).

He said the improvements started incrementally, but then exhibited a moderately steep increase, reaching a new and surprisingly high (his words) level of performance. 

On the basis of the metrics he tracked, he said the implementation of Great Demo! throughout his organization has resulted in a rather remarkable, disruptive positive change in performance.

[By the way, the next Great Demo! Public Workshop takes place next week in Silicon Valley – you can find more information here.] 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Getting Critical Dates from Prospects – Often Neglected, But Key

There are typically three reasons why a sales opportunity goes to “No Decision”:

1.       Customer agrees there is a problem, but doesn’t perceive it as Critical
2.       Customer doesn’t see the Value
3.       There is no Critical Date by when a solution needs to be in place.

Let’s look at number 3…  Far too often, customers just can’t seem to “pull the trigger” and make the purchase. 

We ask, “Isn’t the problem important for you to solve?”  Customer responds, “Oh yes…!”

We ask and note, “Don’t you see the value – and that you are losing more and more of that value every day…”  Customer sighs and says, “Oh yes, the value is terrific – and I hate losing that value every day…!”

We then ask, “Then what is holding you back from making the purchase?”  Customer responds, “I don’t know…!”

They agree the problem is huge, they see the value, but they just can’t take that one additional step to make the purchase.  Why?  People are willing to live with the hell that they know – forever – unless they have a Critical Date or Event that forces them to make the change and implement.  (Anyone ever procrastinate writing a college or university paper until juuuuuuust before the deadline?)

Sadly, most sales teams think in terms of their own quarter ends as the “Critical Date” – and it is a Critical Date, but for the sales team, not the customer!

During Discovery, ask if the customer has a date by when they need to have a solution in place (and why).  Here are a few Critical Dates and Events could serve as examples for discussion:

-          Any major changes in your business expected in the near future – acquisitions, divestitures, new building, a move, reorganization or major new hires or retires?
-          Any compliance or regulatory events on the near horizon – audits, compliance reports, new regulations going into place?
-          End of life or end of support for existing software or equipment?
-          End of your fiscal year or quarter?
-          Project deadline?
-          New project expected?
-          Kickoff or quarterly meeting?
-          Selling season(s) – e.g., Summer Holidays, Halloween, Winter Holidays?
-          Tax season?
-          Board meeting?

Any others to suggest?