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How to Drive Adoption of a killer POC

It’s hard to find people who are super passionate about their job. It’s even harder to find people who are super passionate, and really tactically good.

Chorus’s Stephanie Madsen happens to be one of these special professionals. We sat down a few weeks ago to discuss POCs and the Solutions Engineer’s workflows around them. I was impressed by Stephanie’s wealth of knowledge around the topic and she agreed to share some tips.

Check out her guest post on POCs below – Jorge L Soto


Think back – When is the last time you were offered something for free? Maybe a free sample at Costco, a free month of a television subscription, or free swag from a vendor? 

As the consumer, what did you have to lose? My guess is not much. You were given the opportunity to try something new and at no cost in exchange for your time and attention. 

As for the buyer, what did they have to lose? In my opinion, a lot! By offering you a freebie, they handed you their time, money, energy, and reputation. If done well, they could also have a lot to gain. (Aka YOU as a new customer).

Now, how exactly do you offer something for free? Let’s say a trial of your solution, but do it REALLY well to ensure adoption and a higher likelihood of a sale. I’m glad you asked! 

97% of SaaS companies offer a free trial. Sounds great right? Bad news – 25% or less ever convert to a paid customer. (That’s a lot of time and money invested!) The good news – I’ve experienced 80% success in pilot users turning into customers and I’m here to share my secret. 

Based on my experience, a successful POC requires two things: 

1. A pre-planned, hands on experience 

2. An equal partnership  

First up, a pre-planned and hands-on experience! 

The worst thing you can do is pass along the log-in credentials and say “good luck”! (Sadly, this is often the case). In order to ensure adoption, you must have a plan.

Start by outlining what the POC will entail, the timeline, who is involved, and what success looks like. 

Then, here’s the key – Follow through on the plan and provide a hands on experience. No “set it and forget it here”. You should do everything in your power to make this POC as easy and seamless as possible.

This will require you to do some heavy lifting from you upfront, communicate clearly and quickly throughout the process, and be easy to work with. (Aka remove any and all possible friction). After all, this is still part of the sales cycle and the buyer experience matters. 

Next, let’s talk about partnership! 

Much like a good negotiator, a good pilot requires a give and a get. For example – as the seller, you’ll GIVE a prospect access to your solution for free.

In exchange, you’ll GET the buyer to commit to investing time and energy into trying something new: your solution. 

Hint hint: If your buyer is “too busy”, they won’t make a good partner. Even if your buyer is busy, they have to be willing to make time.

If the pain they are experiencing is great enough and your solution can solve it, they’ll likely make time now for the possible longer term gain. 

To test the commitment of your buyer, be clear when discussing the pilot. State this is a partnership and share the above plan (outline the steps involved, time commitment, etc.).

If they waiver and seem unwilling to put the work in, don’t (I repeat don’t) pass along log-in credentials! Guess what – If you do, they’ll most likely never log in. 

By approaching the POC with a plan, being hands on throughout, and ensuring equal commitment to the partnership – You’ll immediately outshine every company who passes out login credentials like Costco samples and you’ll be well on your way to wowing your new client. 

Photo by Bonneval Sebastien on Unsplash

Check out Stephanie’s episode on our #DemoDiaries podcast!