Best Practices for Network Connections for Face-to-Face Demos

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I’ve watched a number of vendors struggle with trying to connect to their network/software applications when at customer sites. Typically, they are trying to run through both the customer’s network/firewall as well as their own.

I’ve seen specific cases (many!) where the first 20 minutes of an on-site demo meeting was consumed by the vendor technical person (e.g., SC) working with the customer’s IT staff to figure out how to connect – and fail to connect!

Often, running with virtual machines adds to the challenge. “OK, just reboot now and try it again…” – and it takes 20 minutes to reboot, only to find that you still can’t connect…

Here are current best practices for on-site demos where you need access to your own network:

– Best: Broadband (modem) connection (fastest, most modern version you can find…). This keeps things under your control, with the exception of the possibility of poor phone coverage. This most likely will be the best solution about 95% of the time. You can always ask to move conference rooms, if possible/necessary.

– Next best: Connecting through their network. This is the best choice with respect to performance, typically, but is “fraught with hazard” (who says “fraught” anymore?) Likely this gets harder and harder as IT people seek to make their networks more secure – you’ve got two network security systems to worry about (theirs and yours). It also typically requires IT help to get things set up. I’d suggest this is you are doing a long demo meeting on site (2 hours or more), where the investment in IT time is worthwhile.

– Next next best: Deliver a Remote Demo with one of your people present (e.g., you go to the site and have a separate technical person present the demo over WebEx/GoToMeeting/Live Meeting, while you serve as the “active conduit” to manage the meeting. Again, there may be some network issues, but typically much less than running “live” through their network.

Backup: PowerPoint slides and/or recordings are the final line of defense.

Other ideas?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.

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