Re: [fw-wiz] How to Save The World
From: Marcus J. Ranum (mjr_at_ranum.com)
To: Jian Zhen <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 09:57:26 -0500
Jian Zhen wrote:
>How bout garbage like those things that let you run a full demo of your
>product w/o leaving your seat?
Yeah! _EXACTLY_ that kind of garbage. That kind of garbage is for
people who don't understand a sales cycle. You think it impresses
a customer to see a demo via Webex or whatever? That kind of
stuff only "convinces" a customer who's already convinced (one way
or another) and serves as a check-box item under the "yes I saw
a demo" box. I've been on the sales side of a lot of software, and
my experience tells me that for anything that's non-trivial, the thing
that sells the product is hands-on time where the customer does a
pilot deployment and sees that it does the job. Getting to a pilot
deployment is a job for powerpoint and a whiteboard talk, not
some faceless jerky mouse-movements and a disembodied voice
over the Internet. For small packages at lower prices, where you
can't justify a sales call, then it's much much more cost effective
to invest your sales development effort into making a highly
demoable version of the product that can be fielded without
messing with the customer's machine.
If you don't know how to sell software effectively, don't blame your
tools: fix your sales process.
Maybe I'm being a crackpot as usual; maybe I'll get shouted down
by hundreds of list members emailing me, "yeah, I buy stuff from
web demos all the time!" - but I doubt it.
>or garbage that let you do Q&A or polling
>directly in the web cast?
Uh, "voice" technology does a great job of that and it's
actually a lot more interactive and has the human touch.
If someone was trying to sell me a piece of software
and wanted me to do some kind of online polling
webcast stuff, I'd laugh my b*lls off and - uh-oh, I
just accidentally got "disconnected" call me back when
you have a real sales force.
> or garbage that let you share an application
>from your desktop and even let the customer drive it to get a feel of
Yeah, that kind of garbage! Exactly. The way to let a customer
drive your product is to, uuuuuh, let them drive your product.
As in: "Dear customer, our product has:
- low desktop footprint; you can run our U/I off a CDROM so it
is tamper-proof and doesn't need to be on your hard disk if you
don't want it to be (or it's browserable - and works only with MS-IE)
- secure channels built in so you can run it over untrusted networks
- and, hey, we have a complete lab environment hosted on a
remote network so if you want to test drive we can give you an
account and you can play to your heart's content..."
None of this stuff is rocket science. What I am hearing is the sound of
an industry that is so in love with its silly garbage gadgets that it has
forgotten that the key to a successful sales cycle is the human touch
that convinces the customer that you're a) solving their problem,
b) there, c) care.
>While I agree that it sucks most of these web sharing applications only
>run on Windows/IE, these applications do help companies save thousands
>of dollars. Imagine having to fly to a customer site everytime you need
>to do a demo.
Dude, I have flown to more customer sites and done more demos
than you probably want to think about. And I've got the plane-seat scars
to prove it. And, you know what? Sending a presales engineer who knows
the product, knows the customer, and can talk to them face to face -
it wins the sale every time. Unless there's some other mitigating factor
that meant you were going to lose no matter what. In which case
your sales team didn't qualify the lead properly.
The garbage you're talking about helps companies save thousands
and thousands of dollars by turning their sales cycle into a shotgun
blast of sales-spam in which, instead of working on having 100 good
customers, they try 5000 candidate customers and achieve sales
with the 75 most stupid and easily impressed of the lot. But you're
right they save themselves thousands of dollars. And the customers
know that's what's going on. And they know that a company that
wants their business so badly is also a company what is going
to outsource their help desk to the lowest bidder, etc.
I've been on the sales side, and I've been on the customer side;
clearly I've got biasses. My guess is that in a few years when
all the hype wears off some "sales visionary" is going to
re-invent "face to face selling" ;)
>Btw, I don't think Sun Tzu said your quote up there. :)
I am _so_ busted. :)
Actually, that was a paraphrase from the Gangsta Rap
translation version of have of Sun Tzu's "lost scrolls" that
were found a few years ago, in a deeply buried stash
in my buddy Andrew Molitor's sock drawer. It was an
archeological find of great significance. :)
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