When you’re guiding a prospect through the sales funnel, a proof of concept is a powerful and persuasive sales enablement tool. Discover why sales engineers are choosing VMware Lab Platform to build consistent, reliable POCs in controlled environments, and see how easy it is to deliver these POCs to prospects.
When you’re engaged with a prospective customer, how do you convince them that your software is going to solve their unique business problem? Three words: proof of concept (POC). Like the endgame in chess when your queen is poised to pounce, a POC can be a winning move. As long as you get it right.
Here, we explore how POCs fit within the sales pipeline and how to deliver them at least cost and with maximum impact by using VMware Lab Platform.
The role of POCs in sales enablement
In general terms, a POC is a way of testing out an idea. When it comes to software development, not only does a POC help to iron out any last kinks in the product design by capturing invaluable feedback from your buyers, but it can be a powerful way to convince customers they need your product.
As a sales enablement tool, a POC is typically used at an advanced stage of the sales process when the prospect is close to making a decision. Given this, it obviously needs to be on point. A POC should clearly differentiate your solution from your competitors’ offerings; and it needs to deliver on the features and benefits that you’ve been spruiking up until this point in the sales process.
A well-built POC allows IT decision-makers to:
Building a compelling POC
Sales engineers (SEs) – those invaluable members of your team who straddle sales and technical know-how – are typically tasked with the job of designing POCs for potential customers alongside pre-sales teams. The best SEs tell a compelling story through the POC, using real-world scenarios relevant to the customer to really hook them in and show the potential of the product.
Whether the customer has requested one or the business reckons that a POC is going to help seal the deal, there are some things to keep in mind:
- Set clear expectations – From the get-go, be clear about what you’re delivering and ensure that it matches up with the customer’s expectations.
- Be flexible – While it’s important to sink some goalposts at the outset, be prepared for them to move during the POC. The customer’s needs or their evaluation criteria may change. With this in mind, build your POC in a flexible, easily modifiable environment.
- Illustrate, don’t implement – A POC shouldn’t have to be all things to all people. Sure, you can demonstrate how the product solves a particular problem within the customer’s business, but you don’t need to prove how it solves all of their problems.
- Make it accessible – Having spent hours, weeks or worse on building a polished POC, the last thing you want is for the customer to call and say, “It’s not working on my system.” It’s why leading software vendors are now steering clear of traditional methods of delivering demos – that are reliant on compatible hardware and software – and are instead turning to cloud.
Using VMware Lab Platform to deliver POCs
In a previous article, we explored the challenges of delivering great software demos. From the cost and time it takes to set up infrastructure, to installing the software on potentially incompatible devices, to providing technical support, a raft of obstacles get in the way of delivering a winning experience. These challenges have traditionally applied to POCs, too.
Not any more. The rise of cloud-based POC tools like VMware Lab Platform are rewriting how software vendors build and deliver POCs. VMware Lab Platform enables software vendors to conduct consistent, reliable product demonstrations with customers in controlled environments. Field sales teams can leverage pre-built environments as launch points to tailor each customer’s POC – significantly reducing the time and resources consumed in the process.
Instead of having to rely on the customer to provide infrastructure and capacity to build out a pilot environment on-site or asking them to visit your physical lab environment to trial the product, a POC built on VMware Lab Platform is seamlessly delivered to any device with browser compatibility. What’s more, with VMware Lab Platform taking care of the management of the technology stack, you can focus on polishing the POC to perfection.
The future of software demos and POCs is clearly in the cloud. Customers today expect the convenience of being able to test your products in their own environment, on their own devices and in a format and structure that clearly talks to their unique business problems. VMware Lab Platform is purpose-built for the fast and simple delivery of software POCs, giving prospective customers a true taste of your product and ideally convincing them to buy.
Ready to build a winning POC?
Learn more about how VMware Lab Platform can supercharge your sales team so they can deliver consistently reliable, consistently awesome demos to your customers.
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