Last week, I was on the receiving end of a VAR-sponsored event. They represented a famous Fortune company. After 60 minutes of all-about-them and all-about-the-brand (even though they kept telling me it really was all about the customer), their sales engineer got up to present the platform (add another 30 minutes).
The guy before him already had lost a quarter of the audience. The sales engineer was so excited about finally getting to demo, that he rapidly brought up several of that brand’s platforms, simultaneously. He lost half the audience in the process.
Now, if you are cringing as you are reading this demo saga, you can imagine it was all I could do not to put my head in my hands.
My question to that VAR, as I walked out early with other attendees after 90 minutes and no end in sight, was the same question I always pose after demos: “What do you expect me to do with this information?”
That’s basically the same thing as saying: “So What?” Do you get the feeling that’s what your customers would really like to tell you after demos?
These VARs want me to buy. The demo was supposed to provide the WOW for me to purchase. How realistic is this strategy?
They did everything they could during the demo to be irrelevant to the other folks in that room. It was never about their customers. It was about demos and the brand they represented.
First, I’m asking your company why the reseller didn’t bother to determine whether they had the right folks in the room to make a buying decision?
Also, I’m asking your company why your reseller’s presentation was canned instead of provocatively interactive?
Then I’m asking your company why your reseller passed up the opportunity to align the information presented by their sales guy and sales engineer with what the folks in the room felt they needed or wanted?
Their demo opportunity was squandered. It was a one-size-fits-all presentation to an incredibly diverse group of people with varied authority to make a buying decision.
Before you allow VARs and other resellers to haul in your sales engineer to conduct more demos, ask yourself how many deals you win via this process.
How many times does the sale get derailed or falls into a decision-making black hole of “No Decision” post-demo?
In the March 2014 edition of Inc. Magazine, there was a survey taken of the Build 100 companies. One of the questions: “What Inspires (and Worries) the Build 100.” None of the companies lacked confidence: 86% are very confident. However, the one aspect of their businesses they worry about: Salesmanship. Only 23% of the companies felt that selling was one of their top strengths. No kidding.
Does your company’s selling process hinge on demos? It’s time to recalibrate. Focus on the customer’s buying criteria and their vetting process instead of rushing to do demos. It’s supposed to be all about the customer, isn’t it?
Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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