In the enterprise B2B space, it’s hard to imagine a world where discovery calls and sales demos aren’t done via web meeting.
If you’re in a sales engineer, picture this…3-4 cities a week, all the planes, trains, automobiles and hotels you can take. And this… one demo a day, and lots of late night prep on planes and in hotels.
Grueling, but look at the bright side. You’ll have top-tier status with all your travel partners!
Then, there’s your pre-sales team. It would be significantly bigger because more people are required to support your salesforce. Logistically, it’s far less efficient and a lot more costly to your organization.
Web Demos Are Killing Your Ability to do This!
Here’s the big downside to all the efficiencies that come with web demos. It’s incredibly difficult to gather reliable competitive intelligence and do it consistently. It’s not only a key ingredient for sales success, it’s also critical to the success of product management and product marketing.
Those old-school (circa 2019) face-to-face discovery meetings and demos are invaluable in terms of building strong relationships with prospects and creating preference for your organization and its solutions. Those relationships are also the lynchpin to gathering reliable competitive intelligence in the following areas.
- Product functionality
- Company and product positioning
- Sales tactics and pricing
- Customer references
- Future direction and strategy
Now, it’s not like prospects are going to blurt out competitive dirt in a group setting, unless they absolutely despise your competitors.
It’s the sidebar conversations during meeting breaks or breakfast and dinner meetings away from the (virtual) office where those who prefer you will feed you dirt on your competition like nothing you’ve ever seen. And it’s totally off the record!
There’s just no good way to make this happen in the virtual meeting world.
Sure, your sales reps may have more face-to-face interaction with prospects, but they’re on a mission to get the deal closed and don’t necessarily have as much interest in covering all the competitive bases.
One of the many valuable things sales engineers do is provide competitive information to product management, product marketing, corporate marketing and customer success teams, not to mention, sharing it across the global sales team.
Here’s the thing about competitive intelligence. It goes far beyond product functionality as mentioned above, and there are other ways to get it.
The sales process just happens to be the one-stop shop where you can just about get all of it.
For companies selling enterprise-level solutions, is there a strong case for more face-to-face meetings in the sales process? Would it improve your organization’s overall competitive position? Is it even possible given the ever-increasing remote workforce?
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by John Mansour on May 4, 2022.