Hello vendor, my name is Bud, and I work at the company you just gave a demo to. Can we take a minute to review your first (and probably last) demo/presentation to my group? First, I want to thank you for coming. We know that these presentations involve real work and costs for travel, demo preparation and answering follow-up questions, and we appreciate that. With that in mind:
  • Prior to your arrival, we talked about what we do, where we are in the vendor research process and what we expect from you for the demonstration. You apparently didn’t take any notes. You seemed to think that we were in accounting when we are actually in contracts.
  • We specifically talked about an initial functional demonstration of your product, and we sent you a script for the demo and the 10 “must haves” we would like to see. I guess you lost the email.
  • What we got was a 45-minute sales pitch and a 15-minute demo. I may not do a lot of these types of vendor procurements, but I’m sure nobody is going to buy your product, because you are in all of the Fortune 1000 companies, that your president was previously at IBM, that you “accelerate value realization” and all the other hokum that took up 45 minutes.
  • By the way, if you are going to show 57 slides in 45 minutes, it kind of means that most of the slides are unnecessary. Really? Thank goodness you skipped so many slides to preserve our demo time.
  • Your demo was about 13 minutes, and it looked like something we had already seen on your YouTube site. We did write you a script (I want to remind you again), and you didn’t incorporate a single thing from it into your demo. Really?
  • You used terminology that we didn’t understand. As reviewed in our script to you, we call contracts “packages,” and each package contains many “agreements,” not “contracts” and “child contracts.” I was never sure whether a child contract was a sub-part of an existing contract or a separate contract in your lingo.
  • When the presentation/demo was over, there was no time left for questions, since many of us had to go back to work and to other meetings, but in retrospect, speaking only for myself, I didn’t have any questions, because I was as ignorant about your product as when you came in. When I polled my group, they too were disappointed and felt their time was wasted.
Some tips for future meetings, if there is one:

1. Please identify with and remember who the audience is.

2. If you are given a list of functional attributes to show, show them.

3. Don’t spend time talking about how your product technically works but do spend time showing us how it solves our problems.

4. Along the same lines, you did feature, feature, feature but not a single benefit.

5. Like the presentation, you were too short on time for the demo and rushed it. You didn’t engage us even once with a question or a, "How do you…” or a, “Would this solve a problem…,” and we felt we were being lectured to, not presented to. There was no interactive part of your presentation or demonstration. Didn’t you notice our silence throughout the hour?

6. If you run your time to the very end and expect us to stay late, we can’t, as we have our normal work to perform.

So, while we appreciate the time and resources that you spent on us, I have to be honest and say that I was a little bit piqued that you wasted our time—and yours. Try to keep the above points in mind for your next potential client.

Bud Porter-Roth has over 20 years of experience as an ECM consultant, with a focus on cloud collaboration, electronic document management, records management and paper document projects. Follow him on Twitter @BudPR or contact him at info@erms.com.

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