Sales enablement

Level Up Your SaaS Business with a Proof of Concept Template

The CloudShare Team

Sep 12, 2023 - 3 min read
Level Up Your SaaS Business with a Proof of Concept Template

Proof of concept demonstrations are a key part of any successful SaaS vendor’s sales process. They not only allow you to showcase your software’s key features, but also demonstrate how those features solve a prospective client’s problems. Better yet, with the right POC environment, you can provide a compelling, hands-on demo experience that simultaneously onboards and converts.

As with most things in sales enablement, creating a killer POC doesn’t start with tools or technology. It begins with planning and documentation. Whether you’re looking to drive sales or validate a project that’s still in its conceptual stages, you need to start with a POC template.

What is a Proof of Concept Template?

Proof of concept templates are strategic documents that define the purpose, scope, and core criteria of a proof of concept. They’re particularly helpful for early-stage products or services that still need to secure leadership support and stakeholder buy-in. They’re equally valuable, however, as part of the sales process.

Key Benefits of Using Proof of Concept Templates for Projects

The benefits of using a proof of concept document include:

  • Making it easier to secure management support for new products and ideas.
  • Validate technical details of a project concept.
  • De-risk a product to secure investor buy-in.
  • Identify issues in usability, feasibility, or value ahead of launch.
  • Determine pain points and associated features for a client ahead of a POC demo.
  • Enable a more strategic approach to POC development and execution.

How to Create a Winning SaaS Proof of Concept Template

An effective POC document template must define:

Project Overview

Your POC project overview should cover the following ground:

  • A name or identifier.
  • A list of everyone involved in the project along with their roles and responsibilities.
  • Details on required technology or tools for the project.
  • Core purpose.

If relevant, you may also want to consider how you’d describe the POC to someone with no involvement in the project in order to pique their interest. This description should include a graphical representation or diagram detailing both the software and what you’ll be testing it for.

Goals

Having already defined the overall purpose of your POC, your next step is to narrow that purpose down to a specific goal. If your software is still in an early stage of development, this could involve identifying potential integration issues, testing whether the software can be used to achieve a particular outcome, or assess the software’s overall user experience. If you’re using the POC as part of the sales process, on the other hand, your goal will almost always be the same — to help your sales team convert.

Alongside goals, you should also identify the KPIs you’ll use to track progress, then monitor them throughout the POC.

High-Level Scenarios

With your goals and purpose defined, it’s time to drill down to specifics. To put it another way, you know what you want to achieve. It’s time to determine how you’re going to achieve it — what scenarios will your POC focus on, and why?

For each scenario, you’ll want to define:

  • What you will demonstrate or test.
  • How you will demonstrate or test it.
  • The requirements that demonstration or test will fulfill.

Assumptions and Constraints

This section identifies what needs to hold true in order for the POC to succeed, and any potential roadblocks or obstacles to success. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • Budget.
  • Roadmap.
  • Timeline, including start date, end date and targets/milestones.
  • Required resources.
  • Dependencies.
  • Division of responsibilities.
  • Required integrations.

Criteria for Success

You’ve defined your KPIs and goals already. How will you use those KPIs to verify that you’ve fulfilled your goals? What concrete deliverables or outcomes are necessary for you to consider the POC a success?

Ideally, you’ll want to divide your criteria into a few distinct categories, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Functionality.
  • Performance.
  • Scalability.
  • Sales Outcome.
  • Customer Satisfaction.
  • Usability.
  • Service Quality.
  • Sales Quality.

Evaluating Results

Last but certainly not least, the last stage in your proof of concept is evaluation. Your template should therefore make it easy for you to compare your goals against your success criteria and document each comparison. This serves two purposes.

First, it allows you to present the results of your POC to stakeholders, demonstrating both its results and the overall return on investment. Second, it allows you to flag and assess potential weaknesses and improvements in your overall process.

Combine the Right Template with the Right Tools

There are many reasons to host a proof of concept demonstration. Maybe you want to improve the onboarding process or control costs. Perhaps you want to test out real-world scenarios or validate a particular hypothesis.

Regardless of your reasons for running a POC, the first step is to lay out the what, how, and why of the project. The second step is to secure the right tools for the job. That’s where CloudShare comes in.

Request a demo today, and we’ll show you how our cloud-based platform can help you improve onboarding, POCs, and much, much more.