I’ve been part of product demos and watched them. This is an obvious game of cat and mouse. As a software vendor, if you are any good, you are doing your best to keep in constant contact with the customer. This will help you devise a demo that looks and feels exactly like what the customer wants.
Many times this will require some manual entry or unnatural types of modifications. You really should take a lot of the demo with a grain of salt. On the other hand, as the customer advocates in many of these, the best way to see what the sales performance management software can actually do, is to throw a few curve balls. These should be specific to your type of business and not have been discussed with the vendor. Often times it will be a workflow type of situation, something that can happen that will require a change to a traditional situation, for example a dispute.
By giving the vendor something they might not be fully prepared for, you can see how they handle it in the flesh, how you would have to deal with something like this. If a vendor cannot demonstrate something that you throw at them, it generally means they lack that functionality out of the box and would have to be either preconfigured or worse; they have to create the software to do it.
I used to be concerned with how many reports a sales performance management vendor showed and how flashy they were, along with the fact they all showed creating reports were easy as 1-2-3. My stance has softened some with this but I still consider this somewhat fool’s gold. Often times someone who has a pretty good understanding of the reporting and dashboard solutions that companies implement will need to be called in.
Yes, there is usually some basic type of reporting customers can do, but inevitably, you will need to bring someone in. This can be mitigated if you have the proper experience people on staff and the data flow of the software is easy to understand. If it is not, you can almost guarantee the information on the report will not match your expectations. The last piece to remember when viewing your sales performance management demo, is to watch the interaction between the sales engineer and the account executive. If it flows too well, someone has been feeding them from the inside making the playing field unfair.
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- On April 23, 2015