I was thinking about this topic for my next post, and this article showed up in my inbox about how software companies can use trials to build their sales pipeline.
We are narrowing down our list of marketing automation solutions. In our case hosted was essential. And well some of the hosted solutions weren’t keen on the try it before you buy. In our case, try really meant check out the UI on our own but this wasn’t available with all choices.
One vendor said: we’ll let you do a guided walk through with our team online — after offering a 1 month paid trial. Once I eliminated them based on the longer implementation time and lack of a trial, I got an interesting response from my rep. “We’ve heard that before from other prospects. I think some people reduce overall functionality in order to deliver a trial.” To many of the hosted options looked a little too much like traditional software, with huge integration times and costs. I guess we closed the loop on that one.
One vendor has a real, and true functional demo. And requested that you use it for a real campaign. This is really smart of course, since by nature people are lazy. Once you start using something, as long as it isn’t absolutely horrible, after a few days you get used to it. Then it becomes part of your routine. Then you crave it. The other vendors don’t stand a chance. Whoever gets there first wins.
Two other vendors had a sandbox box environment with fake data (either their demo system or another functional system with fake data).
The trial killed one vendor we loved. They had every possible item we could have wanted in a solution. They were really friendly, and we got to talk with their entire team from product development, to sales to professional services.
The nail in the coffin? Too many steps to launch campaigns, build pages and everything else. The UI was too complicated for us to use, and any new employees wouldn’t be able to step in and catch on without extensive training sessions. We don’t have enough resources for that sort of tool. In our organization, we want new employees to step in and be productive right away.
When I looked at each option more, I realized some didn’t offer any improvements to what I was doing to day. Same steps, different system, no benefits.
So I guess the role of the marketer is to show the shopper how much better it would be with the product in use. That’s really what our user stories, case studies and live demos do. Plant the seeds. And for the sales team? Get them to buy into actually using this improvement. Make the buyer recognize life is better, and prove the buyer can’t wait for improvements to come to them, they need to take action to drive improvement. (Should the content be different?)
The difference between marketers and salespeople?
- Marketers do something and wait for a reaction.
- Salespeople make the reaction happen.