A recent article providing product selection tips for customers evaluating software offerings included the following advice:
– Compile a list of questions from your entire team to ask vendors during their demos…
Interestingly, the article’s guidance for customers is to ask these questions in the demo meeting – there was no mention of asking these questions beforehand. We’ve done such a good job (poor job, really) of training our customers to expect that we lead with demos (rather than qualification/discovery) that this “tip” expects and anticipates that the demo meeting will be the first substantive opportunity for a discussion! (OMG!).
This immediately suggests three tactics:
1. Prior to the demo meeting, contact the customer to ask for the list of questions they may have put together. Use this list as a starting point to guide your qualification/discovery discussions.
2. Use the list of questions as a post-demo review tool: did we address all of their issues? What open topics still need to be addressed?
3. Save and make the list of questions available for the balance of your team, for future sessions with other customers in similar situations.
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