Wow, I feel so busted. Very good article and a forced look in the mirror. Thanks for sharing this.
Blunder #9: You create one self-running demo for everyone.
"Self-running demos are a double-edged sword," Cohan says. "They endeavor to be one solution for all comers, and by definition that's impossible."
The Fix: "Create industry- and job-specific demos, as much as possible, and truly make them appetizers, not the main course," says Cohan. "You need to have the conversation.
"Now, it should be noted that everything I'm talking about is for business-to-business software. If you've got a game, or uncomplicated software for consumers, then maybe a single demo will work."
Blunder #10: Trade shows suck you into Harbor Tours.
"It's the most common scenario at a trade show," Cohan says. "Somebody walks up to your booth and says, 'Show me a demo.' "Most people in the vendor booth say, 'Cool, let me show you a demo,' and you end up with a Harbor Tour."
The Fix: "The special challenge with trade shows is that you have insufficient time to do discovery, to do diagnosis," says Cohan. "So, do the menu approach: Share a list of high-probability challenges that customers typically face for your offering. Go through that list, fairly rapidly, and verbalize, 'Is that something you might be interested in seeing?'
"What happens is fascinating. As you're both looking at the list and you're describing #1, the customer says, 'Tell me about item #4.' Well, now you've just uncovered something that is key to that person, and you've set yourself up for a much more targeted demo or conversation."
Blunder #11: Your techies-in-tow take over the demo.
"It's a good idea to take your technical people to your demo, but they need to follow the principles we've been talking about," Cohan says. "You don't want them to dominate your demo time by getting sucked into a discussion with their technical counterpart on the customer side."
The Fix: "Here's a simple way of looking at this and preparing," says Cohan. "When you look at your list of the job titles of who you expect to attend the meeting from the customer side, bear in mind that the highest-ranking people will need to see the least amount of demo.
"Customer staff members and business users will want to make sure that it's acceptable for them to use your offering, and the architects and IT people will be asking equivalent questions about architecture and IT.
"The guidance here is to try to match and organize the meeting in accord with customer rank. Execs are addressed first, and so on, down the list."
Blunder #12: You tell them their homegrown solution is lame.
"When you're pitching against homegrown solutions, it definitely affects your demo," Cohan says. "The absolute worst approach is to tell them that their solution is bad."
The Fix: "Here's an out-flanking tactic," says Cohan. "Developers love to write code and build things, but very few developers are interested in maintaining and supporting what they've written.
"So, you emphasize that what you're trying to do is provide the customer with a higher plateau as a starting point for additional development and customization by their skilled people."