Yes, even if your product is too complex to be demonstrated
remotely because of the cutting edge technology you offer
or due to the large scope of its use, you should be prepared
to send an evaluation package. There are six main reasons
to send one:
- Sending an evaluation package is the best way to ensure
the motivation of a prospective customer. If he is not willing
to spend half an hour to try to install the product, how can
you believe he will buy your solution any day soon? Also,
running a test means generally getting approval from management
to spend time on the evaluation process.
- Guiding a prospective customer through this process
is an excellent way to better understand the customer's
specific business problems. This is why we advise the sales
team to spend time to manage the evaluation process closely.
They will be able to custom-tailor their sales presentation
with real examples before arranging the face-to-face appointment.
- Bugs and technical limitations are part of the sales cycle,
and it is rare to find a cutting edge product that works for
everybody. If there is a technical problem, better to know
it before going on site to increase your chance of closing
business. By installing the solution before stopping by, you
reduce the risk of a bad surprise. Remember that an American
prospective customer will not let you come more than once
or twice without tangible results, even if the problem does
not come from your solution.
- Products that cannot be installed automatically become
strategic in buyers' minds, and a foreign start-up company
may have trouble selling a technology requiring too much support
and consulting services. Offering an evaluation package, available
on a secure ftp server or CD if it is software, is the best
way to convince your counterpart that support is not critical
to use the product on a daily basis. You must prove that your
offering is a plug-and-play solution to sell it.
- Especially in sales, time is money. If the product is already
installed and the customer has already "played" with it, he
will understand three times faster than if you start from
scratch. You'll double the number of appointments you can
handle in a given period of time.
- You have to consider the economical and human point of
view: Without an evaluation package, your sales team will
travel 80% of the time and you will burn them out. Moreover,
travel expenses will reduce your margin dramatically.
If you really cannot produce an evaluation package, target
only a local market (select the 5 to 10 closest states) and
then travel to visit each customer.