Thursday, September 12, 2019

A POC is NOT the Least Expensive Form of Proof…

I am constantly surprised at how many software vendors offer a POC early in discussions with prospects.  Even worse, many of these organizations suffer from sadly low win rates for their POC’s. 

Here’s something to consider before offering a POC:  Your objective, as a vendor, is to secure the order using the least expensive form of proof.  Accordingly, here’s a quick list of different forms of proof, from least to most expensive:

  • Reference call.  This may be all that is needed for a prospect to be convinced.  They pick up the phone, call a colleague at another organization and ask, “I understand you are using xxx from yyy company.  Two questions:  does it do what you need and would you buy it again?”  Very inexpensive!

  • Vision Generation Demo.  A brief Vision Generation Demo may be sufficient for executives who simply want to find an adequate solution, rapidly, to a non-strategic challenge.

  • Technical Proof Demo.  Here, sufficient Discovery has been completed and the corresponding maps closely to the findings uncovered in Discovery.  Great Demo! Workshop graduates frequently report that this has secured the order without the need for a POC!

  • POC.  The prospect needs a deeper level of proof than could be provided in a demo and/or needs to minimize specific risks (network environment, user culture, workflow specifics, etc.).

  • Pilot.  While Pilots are often paid-for by prospects, they also represent the most expensive form of proof.  Many pilots result from substantial implementation requirements or the need for longer-term use of the product to confirm fit or value.

Offering a POC can often (substantially) lengthen and increase the cost of the sales process.

[Note:  For folks unfamiliar with the term, a POC is loosely defined as an implementation of the vendor's software into an environment that reflects the customer's data, software environment and/or processes.  The customer (typically) wishes to run the vendor's software to reduce risks associated with the customer's environment, users/culture, data, and/or processes.  

In some cases, vendors offer POC's to customers in expectation that "once they have it, they won't want to let it go" or as a competitive outflanking tactic.]


Nino said...

Can you define POC please, thanks.

Troy said...

Proof of Concept?