The first online Community for European IT startups, especially software and Internet companies, that want to expand into the U.S. market.

  human resources
reading list

  How do I better qualify a prospective customer before investing time in a proof of concept?

Technical resources are scarce and expensive. Very often, large prospective customers ask for a proof of concept in their own environment. In the U.S., the travel expenses will add to the total cost. The best way, of course, is to ask the customers to pay for consulting time. But when you are a new player in the market, or when you deal with very large companies, this may become a tough goal to achieve. Moreover, if you want to sell your product, asking your best pre-sales engineer to spend 1 week consulting at a customer's site, with no guarantee of closing the deal, is not always the best way to manage the engineer's time. You may review the 10 following questions before deciding if you really want to invest time at the prospective customer's site:

1- Do you know the budget linked to the project?
2- Which part of it can be spent for your product offering?
3- Do you precisely know the decision process (who decides what)?
4- Have you met the influencer/decision maker(s)?
5- Have you defined in writing what the customer calls a successful technical evaluation?
6- Has the pre-sales technical person approved the benchmark?
7- Can the customer achieve their project without your product offering?
8- What is the compelling reason for the prospective customer to buy within the defined time frame?
9- Is the Return on Investment of your solution easy to evaluate in this specific case?
10- Do you really offer exceptional benefits, as opposed to the competition, for this particular project?

Next: Human Resources
Back: Marketing

Copyright 2000 inc. All rights reserved.