This week's blog was written by Kristen Kearns, EDI Manager for Aurora Technologies. You have done your initial research, you've talked to several vendors and you've narrowed it down to a few packages, including Delta/ECS. That means it's time for a demo. As part of the investigation process, a demo is a great way to see the software, and your future support, in action. Some demos show you exactly what you want to know, some are not on point. So what makes a successful software demo?
First off, did the vendor ask what YOU wanted to see before the actual demo? Did the vendor ask what you are doing now and what are you trying to accomplish? What are your long-term plans? What are your current pain points? Maybe the software does a thousand different things, but you’re interested in only 10-20 things related to your business. It's important to get those goals accomplished during your demo.
Ahead of the actual demo, tell the vendor what you want to know about. You don’t want your time wasted on items that won’t serve your needs. That being said, be open if the vendor says, “I’d like to show you a feature I’m really excited about." You might end up realizing you could use that feature right now, or in future plans. Also, something we love to do is show our prospects time-saving tricks we have learned along the way. Don't forget - we are your best resource since we use Delta/ECS every day.
Another thing I always ask after I find out what my prospective customer wants to see, is the order of how they want to see things. I might think it makes sense to see A, B, C, but the customer wants to see them in C, B, A order as it relates to their business needs. Don't be afraid to prioritize what you want to see. Your vendor should be more than happy to accommodate you.
Is everyone quiet or are there questions? The vendor should be talking, but not over talking. There should be a lot of “showing” of what the product does. Are you asking the vendor questions? We’re not always going to know what you're thinking, so please ask. We like to say that there is no such thing as a dumb question.
Are you learning something new? Is the vendor showing you something you haven’t already seen in the product videos? You don’t want to see what you already know. Are you hearing the same thing over and over and still not learning anything else? Does it seem like the software only does a couple things on your needs list? Always speak up if the demo is not meeting your expectation. Our goal is to get your final questions and concerns addressed. A good demo will confirm everything you have been “pitched” about.
What is really hard with software is showing what the software does without being too technical. The vendor should be explaining in terms that business people and techy people alike can understand.
Sometimes I’ve had some questions come up that I haven’t been able to answer on the spot. The demos I’m giving are for software packages that have so many bells and whistles that even I have not used yet. I might not have worked with that particular feature, but I am willing to go back to the software company and find out. Please have patience in these instances and don’t expect the person demonstrating the software to know it inside and out.
If possible, is the vendor showing you a real-time environment? I’ve been really lucky enough to have current clients with the software that are only too happy to allow me to show a prospective customer their system as long as it doesn’t create a conflict of interest. It is helpful for prospects to see the software in action in a real-time environment.
In conclusion, did you feel that you came away with some new knowledge about the product? And maybe you now realize this product will definitely not work for your organization, but that’s OK. Now you know and wasn't that the point? Although we are confident that Liaison’s Delta/ECS software will blow you away.
Please click below to download a free case study from our friends at Liaison Technologies illustrating how the Delta/ECS software package helped Wayfair manage their growing EDI operations.