modern data center

“The demo with Jan was incredibly unprofessional. It seemed like he refused to go into any detail about the product. He wanted me to narrow down the focus of what he demo’ed to only what I immediately was interested in.” — Feedback from a Recent Prospect

Ouch…that was a first. Apparently, I am unprofessional.

Ok, I don’t blame our prospect. I can’t. If he felt that way, I was then, indeed, unprofessional. I definitely did something very wrong. I am not saying this out of false modesty, I really mean it.

So, what have I learned? To demo all the details of a product? Nope.

I learned that I need to explain the demo properly (…it also prompted me to write this blog).

If I had a dime for every time a prospect asks me, “show me all the features you’ve got…” I love our prospects: they have made netTerrain what it is today (and they put food on my table). So please, don’t take it the wrong way if I tell you, “ if you need to see all the bells and whistles in an enterprise software, then you don’t need it.”

Why on earth would I tell you this? That’s a judgement call you, the prospect, should make…right? It’s not my place to determine which features you need when I don’t even know which pain points you’re looking to solve, right? If you don’t have any real pain points, you won’t gain anything from netTerrain….’no pain, no gain’ as the saying goes.

That’s the thing. We take a different approach to the demo. First, I discover why you need a demo. Why did you ask us for a demo….what pain points are you looking to solve? Then, we chat about the problems you are looking to solve. Finally, we show you how our software can help you do that.

Pleasure and Pain

Let’s say you’re a gamer (or your daughter or son is) and you want a new computer. You may study all the features related to that badass gaming laptop or console you’re about to buy. If you’re shopping for a new car: you may research all the little gadgets that come with it to see how much bang you get for your buck (hey, those heated wiper blades sure come in handy when you’re caught driving in the middle of a freezing snow storm).

Here’s the rub….features and gadgets can make or break your decision on a computer or car, but there’s a big difference between the two examples above and purchasing enterprise software. Gaming consoles and new cars provide pleasure. Enterprise software removes pain.

While we try to make your experience using netTerrain fun (our customers regularly tell us they actually love using it), let’s be real: most enterprise software sucks. Most products out there (especially DCIM and OSP) are not user-friendly at all and a royal PITA to learn.

Why would a customer be motivated to buy a DCIM (or a network mapping package)? The alternative of not buying it causes them a much bigger pain than the pain of spending the money, installing it, and learning to use it. Nobody, absolutely nobody, wakes up one morning and thinks, “Hmmmm….I really feel like buying a Data Center Infrastructure Management software package today!” (and, if you know happen to know someone who does wake up saying this, by all means: send them our way).

What You Can Expect from Us When We First Meet

In a forthcoming blog, I’ll go into more detail on this. Here, though, let me briefly share with you what you can expect from us when we first meet.

We start by asking you lots of questions and we listen. That way, we can determine what your pain point is. We want you to do the talking. Sometimes we don’t see what your pain point is: when that’s the case, we will tell you, point blank, that we are not sure you need us.

What’s a pain point? Something real, something that impacts you (almost at a personal level).
A statement like, “I need to document my network” is not a pain point. It’s fine in your comments when you send us an inquiry requesting a demo; it gives us an idea of which product you may need, but it is not enough to determine if you really need it. Nobody needs to document a network for documentation’s sake.

You need to achieve something by documenting the network…so what is it that you need to achieve?

This is a real pain point: “I am tired of my CIO breathing down my neck for half an hour while we try to decipher our out-of-date Visio diagrams during a network outage.” Now, that’s real pain.

Once we determine that there is pain, we find out if it makes sense to have a demo. A number of things come into play when doing that demo, but we try to make it clear that we will show you what our software can do around your specific pain points.

C’mon now! Does your company really need to see — during the demo — what our flashy app views or dashboards do, when the real need is cabling diagrams for your racks? If you do need to see all of this, then let me take a wild guess here: at your company, a 15-minute meeting stretches on for 4 fun hours because of all the digressing and anecdotal mumbo jumbo being discussed…right?

What’s our obsession with *not* showing you the rest? It’s not that we’re obsessively playing some game of minimalism with you (although we are obsessed with usability). It’s simply that talking about anything other than what’s going to solve your pain points is basically just noise. If anything, talking about a boatload of features is going to confuse you.

When you see all the features squeezed into a 30-minute demo, you could easily walk away thinking our software is not optimized for what you really need….you may also think we’re going to try to upsell and charge you for all those other things (we don’t, since our software is not licensed on features FYI).

Bottom line…we are not jerks. If you insist on seeing all features-schmeatures…we’ll oblige, but do you want to know what we’re really thinking at that point? Drumroll, please….

“Should I go to Five Guys or get Chinese?”

Why? 99% of the time the customer who needs to see all the features ends up in the infamous ‘No Decision’ zone.

In Sum

We will not give you a scripted demo. For that, we have plenty of videos.

Let’s get real: you will buy netTerrain for your reasons, not ours. So, how on earth will we determine those reasons if we lull you into a coma with a boring scripted dog-and-pony show?

If you want the full scripted demo looking for all the shiny stuff and nice-to-haves, may I give you a suggestion? Save yourself the bucks, dear prospect. If you want everything, you need nothing…and we all envy you because you have no real pain.

About Jan Durnhofer

As CEO / Product and Engineering Manager, Jan joined Graphical Networks with the purpose of creating the most advanced DCIM and IT visualization company in the market.