Better than Blarney: Capturing Sales Gold with Virtual IT Labs and POCs
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St. Patrick’s Day brings with it reminders of Irish wit, wisdom, and a hope for luck. It could be said this is what a salesperson wishes throughout the year. Yet, as all sales pros know, it takes more than kissing the Blarney Stone – and eloquence – to land new business nowadays.
Today’s buyers have high-quality trustworthy information. Gartner CEB reports today’s buying journey follows anything but a straight line from beginning to end.
Yes, gaining the attention of a buyer can be as tricky as capturing a leprechaun, but when you do, you’re on your way to landing a pot of gold. The following three Irish proverbs – and details on virtual IT labs, demos and proof of concepts (POC) – may be all the luck you need to succeed.
You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind
Your prospects have done extensive due diligence, including reading countless online reviews and product backgrounders. They’re tired. They want to see your product in action. That means demoing yours in “real-world” situations, not a scaled-back video and static presentation deck.
With virtual IT labs you can replicate dynamic production environments and deliver full-featured demos that powerfully show what your product can do in a situation that’s realistic and familiar to your prospects.
Furthermore, you can give prospects a hands-on experience by leaving them with a link to an easily accessible POC trial. Studies show the hands-on experience of letting them play with your product is one of the most effective ways to make a lasting impression.
Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking
Pardon the above pun, but Irish poet William Butler Yeats hit the nail on the head with that one.
After a product demo, sales teams are typically left with a black box scenario; a complete lack of visibility into how a leave-behind trial or POC is going. Today, sales doesn’t need to wait for a response in order to take action that could help seal the deal. It’s now possible to monitor a prospect’s engagement and analyze the ways, and how often, they use a product during a trial.
This advanced capability eliminates the black box scenario by putting critical data at the fingertips of sales teams. Sales can send out trackable product invitations to an unlimited number of stakeholders and easily see who in the organization is using the solution. They can know how much time is spent on a particular part of the application and understand what was of interest, making for relevant follow up.
Salespeople can also make sure a prospect starts the POC evaluation and experiences the full product value. User-friendly graphs and dashboards will let a salesperson know if engagement falls off. In the event it does, they can pick up the phone, offer assistance and heat things up.
Having data, instead of a black box, speeds the sales cycle.
The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s a heart is to keep money in his purse
Well, regardless of gender, this old proverb applies to virtual IT labs and on-site demos.
When a salesperson wants to conduct an on-site demo, it can require shipping the product, bringing in an IT crew to open firewalls and more. That means time and money for both the prospect and the sales organization. It can be handled much faster and simpler with cloud-based virtual IT labs, eliminating both the aggravation and cost of shipping hardware and coordinating with IT folks.
Plus, it rids demos of those “technical snakes” that can pop up and ruin pitches or require emergency IT involvement, which only frustrates potential buyers. And when you make a process easier and cleaner, you’re already making an impression and building loyalty.
Further, a cloud-based solution can increase the sales team’s productivity. Not only will they be able to sell to prospects anywhere there’s Internet access if done remotely, but the ease of management means they’ll also be able to distribute more demos and manage more POCs without losing track.
If you do not sow in the spring, you will not reap in the autumn.
The Irish have a great talent for pithy phrases and often dark humor.
So, in closing, remember the one above, your sales cycle, and realize virtual IT labs should be something you pursue now because your competition is likely doing the same.
That said, happy Saint Patrick’s Day and sláinte: May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.
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