Why I hate big company software demonstrations

This week I sat in on a demonstration of a large company’s presentation of cartography software. I was wondering to find out how this would be different from the one’s I had attended in the Netherlands. Unfortunately it was not. Listen to this if you ever want to sell me something.

Teddy and Lucky Luke, they come in pairs

The first thing that always happens at a sales pitch of a piece of software is that two people show up. The first is the better dressed of the two, the commercial guy (or lady) in nice suite etc, he is Lucky Luke. The second person is a technical person, the “teddy bear”. I have seen unshaven people wearing “Hard rock cafe” T-shirts to a 100K sales pitch…

Non and sense

This time both were well dressed, as what can be expected of a big software company. However the second thing that always happens at sales pitches is that a lot of non-sence is presented. The first 25% of the slides and thus time is spend on how good the company is and what it is they do besides the software product. THere are normally a number of slides containing endless bullits that are read from the screen (I can read….)  Make an interesting introduction related to our problem

Don’t tell me the car can drive…

All the demos I have been in tell so many obvious things. This time they demonstrated that you can zoom in on a map, that you can have personalized data. That you can calculate routs with stops along the way. This is all stuff that any piece of software can do and actually the basics that get you a spot at the table. When I buy a car I don’t want the sales men to tell me that it can drive…. Show me what your product does better then others.

Solve my problem not something else

None of the sales pitches I have been in so far have addressed the problem I had at the time. This time was no exception. Lucky Luke just started directly with what kind of problems we were bound to have without asking me or the audience about our real problems. This resulted in 1.5 of the 2 hours being lost trying to show us stuff that we don’t need nor seek. When you come in, ask my needs and then focus your pitch on it (if you can).

Some more don’ts,  come without a PowerPoint… If you dare…

Finally there were some other really basic errors. The presentation had useless graphs and schematics. and contained a competitor brand. Their demo was “the old version” and they were talking about “having new features in a few months”. At the end of the pitch “teddy bear” decided to pitch an entirely different product because there was some time left-over that had nothing to do with the audience.

Finally “Lucky Luke” started to discuss pricing with one person in the room where there were many others present as well. Personally this is something I would never do. First of all, convince me before you start talking about price. Second of all if I am not the one paying but someone else is, don’t discuss pricing with me.

Now you know a little bit why I hate big-company presentations. The notes for this post I wrote during the Pitch I described above ;-).