Why Successful POCs Are Critical to Closing Deals
A proof of concept (POC) in the sales process is utilized when the buyer isn’t sure if your solution will work for their needs and fit into their current workflows. It’s essentially a test of your solution with the expectation that if everything goes as planned they’ll buy your solution by the POC end date. That means that successfully running POCs is an important part of the sales process because it can increase your technical win rate and, as a result, deal close rates.
Unfortunately, for many companies, their POC process isn't data-driven since typically it’s completed in docs, sheets, or decks without the ability to learn from the execution across the team. Often, they run their POCs using Google Docs and Sheets, random fields in Salesforce, or some other software that wasn’t built to efficiently handle complex, parallel workflows. In addition, organizations often work around the needs of the prospect, which creates a bespoke process for each potential customer; without proper deal tracking and reporting, teams can never learn how to find repeatability.
In this post, we’ll discuss 6 best practices you can implement now to increase the speed and success of your POC process, unleashing a more efficient revenue team engine.
1. Build a Foundation Early
The best time to build a robust and structured POC process is before it’s needed. Building the foundation early enables you to take time to thoughtfully build out your POC process the first time instead of rushing it. It also means that it’s already in place by the time your revenue team has grown to the point where it’s a requirement to keep everyone aligned. In addition, a good POC process stands out to buyers and makes a positive impression of what it will be like to work with you long-term as a customer.
2. Make Sure New Team Members Can Ramp Up Quickly
One of the biggest benefits of being thoughtful around your POC process is it will shorten the ramp-up time for new team members. They can follow a tried and true process that’s been thoughtfully crafted for your specific product and type of deal. With prebuilt templates and workflows, individuals don't need to troubleshoot on their own to figure out what process works best over months and months. Instead, you enable them to run successful POCs right away.
3. Establish Clear POC Discovery & Set Goals Upfront
A clear POC discovery sets the stage for an overall more successful POC process. It helps you prepare everything that needs to happen before the POC can kick off including the teams involved on both sides, as well as the goals.
First, the buyer needs to share their business objectives so you both know the problem they want to solve and what they need to see from your product. Then, together you can define the success criteria to determine if the POC was successful. You also need to establish the scope, so everyone has a deadline they’re marching towards to kick off the POC. Usually, you want the timeline to be the shortest possible to establish if the product meets the goals. That helps establish a sense of urgency on both sides. The exact length will vary for different products and types of buyers.
4. Track & Document the POC Process in an Organized Way
The only way to ensure repeatable success with your POC process is to first know what makes a POC successful versus an unsuccessful one. To know that, you need to make sure you’re tracking and documenting your POC process in an organized manner. Using a tool like Prelay enables you to fully track every POC in one place so you can evaluate your performance and compare success rates. You can review differences such as duration, deal size, number of people involved, bug issues that cropped up, product feature needs, success criteria hits, technical wins, and much more.
5. Segment the POC Process for a Catered Experience
You need a slightly different POC process for different types of customers. If you’re just starting to create a POC process, then you’ll start with a general one to begin tracking and documenting what makes your POCs successful overall. However, as you run more of them, pay attention to the changes needed for different types of customers. That will enable you to create a catered experience based on the product line, the competitor in the deal, prospect company size, use case, etc. Over time, you’ll have a few different POC templates for your team to choose from based on each customer segment so you can have a consistent and predictable process across your revenue team.
6. Utilize Team Resources During the POC Process
To make sure you achieve success, you often need to utilize resources across the revenue team as well as in other parts of the company, such as legal, product, engineering, and other internal stakeholders.
Whether it’s a product gap or an engineering issue, you want to make sure you can get a hold of the right person based on needs within the POC to speed up the process and get a technical win faster. You also want to have clear ownership and visibility into where each deliverable is in the process to ensure the POC doesn’t run past the expected completion date.
Lastly, you want to clearly communicate status updates and POC-specific questions with the internal team in one centralized place so that everyone is always up to date.
Bonus: Streamline Every Part of the Deal with a Team Selling Platform
It's difficult to run repeatable, successful POCs and ensure the full team is aligned across each deal if you're working in siloed, non data-driven systems during the process. With a purpose-built platform for revenue team coordination and collaboration, Prelay aligns every team across any part of the deal, so you can hit your goals and expectations set by the customer and achieve the overall technical win. Plus, you can run other complex deal processes alongside your POCs including managed trials, team resource allocation, Deal Desk approvals, Product Specialist requests, opportunity plans, and much more.
Kick deal chaos to the curb. Reach out to get a demo of Prelay today.