Two people agreeing with a handshake over a document - sketchnote style

Reaching a 80% conversionrate in POCs is not that hard. For me there are 2 main requirements.

  1. A rigorous qualification as pointed out here -> Double your sales with efficient presales
  2. A business case centric POC scoping

It’s all about the case

What is that? Business case centric? Of course we scope a POC, we have this 25 page word document that we go through with the customer that touches every feature and function that we have that is better than the competition’s. 

Pardon my blunt words, but that is not scoping, that is boasting. “Look how much we do, how big we are. And it is so much better than the rest of the pack on the market.”

Yes, I did the same in former companies and had exhausting sessions with my customers to fill those things out only to never look at them again. 

What worked much much better is a scoping that focuses on the business cases that need to be solved and match our product’s unique capabilities to do so.

Capabilities not features

A concept is a plan how to solve issues – not a list of things that can be used for that.  

Modern buyers need their problems or issues fixed by your product and actually they do not care how we are doing it in the first place. They couldn’t care less if the ventriloqial powershaft inhibitor prevents 2 times more indicative worbling than any other product on the market, if they still get calls in the middle of the night.

Mandatory Scoping sessions

So how did we do that? Before any POC or POV could be started a scoping session with the customer was mandatory. A license was only issued when there was a scoping document.

We used half hour scoping sessions with the customer where we extracted the use cases to be solved in their own words and turned those into success criteria to be fulfilled. Getting them to talk about it also sometimes got them to put in writing what kept them up at night. Very powerful stuff!

The message “We are going to prove that our solution solves those problems for you” is much much stronger than stating “We prove that we have custom dashboards”.

Additionally we made sure that the POCs had a maximum of 4 business cases to be able to close the POC/POV in a reasonable timeframe. Remember: We want to prove that our solution solves the issues. We do not want to solve all the issues during the POC. 

Basic admin stuff also goes into it:

  • Who is the contact on the customer for admin questions, who for tech questions
  • When should it start and, more important, when is the expected close date
  • Consent to store data and to access the data in our systems

Easy to wrap up when you have criteria

Once you documented the scope it is much easier to run a successful POC. You can prevent scope creep and you have – hopefully – a timeline defined by which a decision must be made by the customer.

The document can then also be used to note down how the criteria were fulfilled, collect quotes (very powerful) and then serve as the foundation for the summary presentation. 

In the School of Presales Community (2 weeks trial access for free) I also share some tips about better ways to collect and administer your scoping docs then a simple Word docs. We can also work on your scoping process and documentation to make your life easier.

Not that hard, right?

Scoping done right makes things so much easier: it gives you structure, a clear goal to work to, a mutually agreed next step and, most important, a commitment from your future customer.

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The key to POC success – Scoping – but right

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with lots of ❤️ for Presales

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