Next Gen Demos – Test Drive is the New POC
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Making sales is all about ensuring the prospective customer journey is as easy and streamlined as possible. And yet, there is inherent friction in the current process of moving customers from marketing to sales through to Proof of Concept and onboarding.
From the first sales call, research has shown that more than half of buyers want to see how the product works, to see proof of value at the earliest possible stage. Makes sense, right? We all want to know that we’re not wasting our time before we get too involved.
However, traditional sales pipelines are fractured, with a lead being curated across multiple departments and technologies, from one team and technology for marketing, another for sales, and then sometimes a third set of tools and people for sales demos and POCs. In fact, once the sales team passes a prospect through to the POC stage, they often lose track of the buyer altogether, other than basic facts like whether they converted or not. Even if the customer is happy with the POC, you’re often looking at a whole new process for onboarding too, and getting the minutiae of the customer environment right. Each one of these change points is a risk, a point where the prospect could be lost.
Gain more Control by Moving from Demos and POCs – to Test Drives and POV
A more holistic answer is needed, not just tacked on at the end of the process, but early and continuous throughout, adding a layer of business value to your entire organization, starting from the marketing and sales journey, all the way through to ongoing customer care.
Instead of a virtual demo or a Proof of Concept environment, a nebulous ‘one size fits all’ approach that fails to provide a real-world understanding of the practical benefits your software can provide, it’s time to move onto Proof of Value.
This has been true for a while, but the situation has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Forbes, in the past, trust in sales might have come from personal relationships – but in a post-COVID-19 world, it’s going to be more about expertise. “By showing the client you’re thinking about them on a personal level, and are bringing solutions to their problems, you can use your expertise to build trust.”
In other words, while a friendly face and onsite presence might have got you a long way down the sales funnel in the past, now it’s about personalized, customized experiences and proof, early on in the journey.
This is where Proof of Value excels over Proof of Concept. Encourage your customers to think of your software demo like a test-drive, a real-world trial run of what the software is going to look and feel like in their own environment. As soon as a client is interested in discussing your product, the vendor solution can be built on top of the prospect environment, including the exact networking requirements, the infrastructure and hardware, operating system and cloud setting – the works. The customer can then test and play to their hearts content in a controlled, sandbox environment that simulates their own – down to the smallest detail. At any point, you can step in with remote support and guidance, walk them through a real explanation of how your solution is going to show added value in their own unique business setting or help them troubleshoot a situation.
Adding Business Value Across the Organization
This technology goes further than a POC replacement, it’s an added business layer that can support you at every stage. Here at CloudShare, we see it being used not just by the sales teams or sales enablement professionals, but even at the earliest stages of marketing, offering prospects a chance to come and test the software in their own environment immediately, making conversions work straight from the marketing stage, and during the earliest possible conversations where a buyer is showing initial interest.
When the test drive is successful, the onboarding is also made much easier, with no need to troubleshoot over a customer’s exact specifications – as this was covered and managed at a far earlier stage in the game.
You’re cutting the sales cycle, you’re reducing the time it takes to manage a POC, you’re raising satisfaction for the prospect, and you’re eliminating that frustration and friction between POC and onboard.
Now broaden the way you think about this solution even further, outside of sales altogether. Hands-on virtual labs can add value outside of the Proof of Value space, too. Think about being able to provide a real-world environment for training to partners or channel partners, eliminating the need for travel entirely, even outside of the global lockdown period. With just a few experts at home to provide remote assistance, you can train and sell across the world.
It’s time to stop thinking about demos and POCs, and start leveraging test-drives and POVs. It’s time to buckle up. Are you ready to go? Click here for a demo of CloudShare.
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