Why Hope is not a POC Strategy in Presales and Solution Engineering Software Sales

Why Hope is not a POC Strategy in Presales and Solution Engineering / Software Sales

Lately, many clients ask for free Proof of Concept (POC) sessions. Vendors often say yes, hoping it will lead to a sale. But is this really a good idea? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at POCs, discuss how to make them work better, and question if they’re always the right choice.

🕰️ The Investment of Time and Effort: POCs are far from a cursory glance at a product; they demand substantial time and resources. For presales teams, this can often translate into a significant investment of work, with an expectation of delivering results without a clear direction. It’s vital to recognize that presales professionals are not free resources and that their time and expertise need to be utilized judiciously.

🎯 Defining Success: A critical aspect of POCs that often gets overlooked is the establishment of clear success criteria. Engaging with the client to understand their expectations, define what success looks like for them, and determine how it will be measured is paramount. This sets a tangible goal for the POC and ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding the desired outcomes.

🔜 Planning the Next Steps: Understanding the path forward post-POC is as crucial as defining success criteria. The objective of a POC should extend beyond merely showcasing the product; it should bring the client a step closer to making a purchasing decision. This necessitates a clear plan of action for what comes next, ensuring that the momentum gained during the POC is not lost.

📝 Setting the Terms: Prior to embarking on a POC, having a frank and upfront agreement is essential. This should outline the terms of the POC, detailing what meeting the success criteria would entail and the subsequent steps to be taken. It’s crucial to ensure that these discussions involve decision-makers, guaranteeing that the results of the POC translate into actionable insights and potential sales.

🤝 Garnering Support: Embarking on a POC without internal support or a clear understanding of the budget can lead to challenges. It’s important to have an advocate within the client’s organization and to identify a substantial business problem that your product can address. If a clear budget hasn’t been set, the value proposition of your product in solving a critical business issue becomes all the more vital.

🤨 Questioning the Need for a POC: Before agreeing to a POC, it’s imperative to understand the client’s motivations and reservations. Why are they requesting a POC, and what are their concerns? Addressing these questions can reveal whether a POC is the right strategy to overcome their hesitations or if there might be a more effective approach.

Presales is a valuable resource, and its contribution should not be undervalued or considered as freely available to address any challenge. POCs, when approached strategically and thoughtfully, can play a pivotal role in the sales process. However, relying on them as a default strategy, driven by hope rather than a clear plan, can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities. As we navigate the complex terrain of enterprise sales, let’s shift our mindset from hope as a strategy to a more mindful, deliberate approach, ensuring we seize the right opportunities and maximize the impact of our efforts.

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