or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
I bet like me, you are a frequent user of Amazon and perhaps eBay too.
On these platforms we pretty much know the commodity or product we are after.
It’s specification can be pretty well checked, known or investigated in advance.
Therefore it’s natural to feel you can trust to buy from just looking at a few photos or camera angles, to confirm we are buying the right thing.
What about software applications?
Would you be happy spending £60k upwards on a solution, just from a PDF or a remote Webex?
I and I am sure you have coming confirmed requirements or investigated product via webinars. It does make perfect sense in the modern world and can cut down on the miles travelled and the size of the carbon footprint. Essential these days if we are even going to make a start on saving the planet.
Indeed, I have experienced a few demos, where a number of ‘suited & booted’ chaps (all men, natch), have rucked up, with one guy flying in especially from Dublin. The latter, who was 30 mins late, said maybe 3 sentences, including his title, which had ‘business development’ in amongst many other fine nouns describing his rank and status. When they left, my client asked, ‘WTAF was all that about’? My only suggestion was that they thought that would help the prospect feel good.
That was going too far I thought.
A few weeks ago, I had a strange experience, from the other end of the demo spectrum.
In a process where a demo was always outlined as needed and slots defined well in advance, at a named location, one good sounding prospect called me up. They said they were selling a SAAS (Software as a service) offering, so had stopped doing face to face demos and just do it all by webinar. This was a solution that came with a couple of dozen implementation days and might have been a 5 year deal, with a potentially expanding organisation.
I let them know that all other bidders were coming to see us and reminded them that they were only about 60 miles away. Worth the trip I thought for a £60k+ gig. Even my Mancunian powers of persuasion were insufficient to tempt them out of their cosy office. I was as disappointed as my client too.
Their attitude was that the implementation, SAAS or not, was expected to be a journey and meeting the supplier face to face was very important. Indeed, we would be meeting sales people, who are generally the most optimistic and flexible folk. Implementers are often more downbeat, particularly when they ponder, ‘I am not sure you bought that’ etc. A member of the evaluation panel reflected my exact thoughts. If the salesman was not interested in us at this early stage, how interested might the implementers be later ,if we choose this solution?
Needless to say, they didn’t demo and unfortunately had to be dropped from the opportunity.
People still do at the end of the day, buy from people. A demo and how the supplier & it’s sale is communicated, can make an enormous difference. I have heard of many unfortunate stories & witnessed a few myself where a misogynistic comment or an insult to tenants/residents, while s board member was on the evaluation panel, has resulted in low demo scored & one supplier (who was leading until then), being ejected from the process.
Please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences, below in the comments.
I fully believe that prospects buy solutions from people better in a face to face scenario and that tells you much about how the future scenario of the relationship might pan out. Do seek help to incorporate good testing of functionality in your evaluation, as without that, all the supplier warm words in the world, will not make your project fly.
I don’t think you can sell solutions via automated emails & cold calls either. That does not seem to satisfy many people at all.
Related Post: Think carefully when you design your self-service, what will your customers do next?
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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