Show Respect: Make it Easy for Prospects to Test Drive

Posted Saturday, October 17, 2015 in Customer Experience by Ronni Marshak

Many of our clients sell high tech products to high tech customers. The end-users/customers of those solutions are often non-techies and their needs and context are important. However, we discovered a long time ago that satisfying the technical influencers who select, shortlist, and evaluate prospective solutions is often under-rated in companies' marketing and sales cycles.

I remember vividly a customer co-design session for a supplier of cloud computing services in which customers' first moment of truth was whether or not the supplier's lead architect was available at the first vendor demo and meeting.

Show some Respect-cartoon by Charles Asbury

Cartoon by Charles Asbury

The sales VP was shocked. He wanted to qualify the customer first in order to optimize the time of his firm's top technical resources. But customers made it clear that if one of the firm's top architects didn't show up at a first face-to-face or online meeting, that supplier would be out of the running.

Traditional sales training tells salespeople to target top executive decision-makers, get them enthusiastic, and then worry about meeting the evaluation criteria and performance tests.

But, with cloud computing, that has all changed. Technical evaluators expect to actually be able to use your product, pour over your documentation, test out your integration interfaces, and try your solution to satisfy their organization's needs before they talk to a sales person.

Locked out of car

How well do you enable technical evaluators to both test and actually use your products before anyone speaks to a salesperson? How many of your sales are simple conversions from free trials to production licenses?

Finally, how easy is it for technical evaluators to book time with your lead architects? If you're making your customers jump through qualification hurdles before they can ask a critical question, you're probably losing a lot of business.

On the other hand, if you give your prospects' tech evaluators the keys to your car, they'll probably be able to answer 90% of their questions on their own!


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