Seeing is believing, right?
That’s why demos are so crucial. They can be your first, and often, only chance to see an IT service management (ITSM) solution in action, with a sales representative guiding you. It can be the make-or-break hour, and you should be as prepared as possible to make the most of it.
Each organization might have a different use for an ITSM platform, and it’s important to explain your specific use case to the sales representative. Describe what your process needs to look like, and ask them to walk you through how you would make that happen. A demo is your chance to get a personalized look at the product and go beyond the information online that everyone has access to. Don’t sit back and settle for the sales pitch; make the demo yours. Hone your laser eyes and get the information you are specifically looking for.
Know the position you are coming from, otherwise the sales rep can’t assist you to his/her fullest. Are you really just looking for another quote? Are you a decision maker, or just an intern who is six layers deep in the decision making process? Tell the rep your evaluation process so nobody is wasting anyone’s time.
Other Questions to Ask
- Be clear about your decision criteria. Is it price? Feature functionality? Implementation timeframe? References?
- Ask about customer support. Where is support located? Are they available 24/7 or specific business time zones? What do they offer?
Ask for Customer References
The demo is a great chance to ask a sales rep to set you up with an existing customer. Whether it’s a phone call, email, or a meeting in person, talking to a customer could give you a more unbiased and honest review of the product. The best scenario would be to meet up with a customer who has similar use cases as you.
Trial: Proof of Concept
Many ITSM vendors offer free trials, typically lasting around a couple of weeks. Post demo and after you’re more comfortable with the product, sign up for a trial and start building it out in your environment. Apply your use case to see if the product meets your needs. It’s a free simulation; this is an excellent opportunity to put the product in action, in your office.
Report Back to Team Members and Decision Makers
After a demo and/or trial, it’s time to report back your findings to your team and organization’s decision makers. A few ways to do this:
- Put together a presentation. Highlight a few finalists, providing overviews of your experience with each. Pros and cons, price, implementation, customer references, and other decision criteria should be clearly given for each vendor.
- Record your demos and share them. Simple and straightforward. Record your demos and share the recordings with others in your organization.
- Online Resources. Guide the decision makers to helpful information online, such as company sites, user review sites, and any other pages that are easily accessible and might provide meaningful insight.
- Share your honest opinion. At the end of the day, you’ve done all the research and spoken to all the vendors. By now you probably have a gut feeling, if not complete clarity into the direction you want to take. Listen to that voice on your shoulder and share your opinion — you’re a trusted employee and you are the most educated in the subject.