Filed under: Content management
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I’m spending a lot of time at present helping organisations to select a CMS, and other than the sessions to document requirements the single biggest block of time is sitting in on vendor demos.
Based on the past few years of experience, here are some tips for vendors on how to present a good session:
- Introduce yourselves. Start with a brief (!) introduction of who you are and what your product is. Aim to give us some useful background and context for the detail to come.
- Stick to the script. Follow closely the scenarios that we have provided.
- Be interesting! There is nothing more boring that someone talking through their product in a monotone voice. It doesn’t have to be a song-and-dance, but it should be interesting and engaging, particularly since we are stuck listening to you for 2+ hours.
- Talk us through. Explain what you are doing, to allow us to understand what the product is doing and how it work.
- Pace yourself. Rushing through the product (“point-and-click frenzy”) will leave us dazed and disoriented.
- Prepare well for the demo. Make sure everything is setup so that the key features can be shown in the simplest and clearest way.
- Run off a laptop. Relying on our internet connection is a great way of tearing out a lot of hair.
- Use our actual site. Loading up (or mocking up) our actual site (including the page layout and site structure) will only take a few hours but will make a huge impact on the effectiveness of the demo.
- Keep it simple. Our biggest concern is not lack of power, it’s product complexity. At at least one point, show us how simple things will be for the average author, and don’t just work in super-user mode where every possible option is displayed.
- Re-read the RFP. I know this sounds simple, but you really need to re-read the RFP (and their response) before the session, so they can answer all the questions and have all the details at your fingertips.
- Put yourself in our shoes. You have lived and breathed the product and its jargon, but we are looking at 3 products in 3 days. Try not to get caught up in your way of doing things, and talk through stuff from our perspective.
- Be upfront. You will gain more respect for saying “we don’t do that”, rather than promising everything in a future version (which we don’t believe anyway).
- Prepare well. I’m mentioning this again, because if we are going to give you $100k, we expect you to spend at least a few hours preparing for the demo. Failure to do so is a good way of wasting your one chance.