Five fundamental proof-of-concept guidelines

July 31, 2013 § 5 Comments

If you’re selling a sophisticated or costly technical solution, it’s highly likely that your prospect will demand a proof-of-concept (POC) before committing to a purchase. Failing to successfully complete this vital task means that you won’t make the sale. Yet over the course of many years, I’ve seen a surprising number of botched POCs. Sadly, most of these fiascos had less to do with product or service shortcomings, and more to do with the process and people who were involved in the POC.

To help  you deliver better POCs, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts that showcase some best practices. For now, remember these five essential guidelines when you agree to perform a POC:

  1. The POC must always occur in the context of a sale. Otherwise, it’s just a costly and time-consuming demo.
  2. The POC must have a client-side business and technical sponsor. Otherwise, nothing will come of your hard work.
  3. The POC must have a clearly defined set of goals. Otherwise, the client will keep moving the goalposts.
  4. The POC must have an agreed-upon timeline. Otherwise, the POC will stretch to infinity.
  5. The POC must have internal support from the company that’s trying to make the sale. Otherwise, you won’t get the assistance you’re likely to need.

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