I have done a lot of demos in my life… I have also seen a lot of demos too, and (I hate to write this) most of the ones that I have seen are bad, not really bad, just bad. I have to admit that I have done a few bad demos too, but I am very fortunate to mostly get high marks.
A bad demonstration usually has a few common characteristics. One is that the person running the demo explains all of the features and processes that he or she likes about the software. Pay close attention to the words they use, it will clue you into all the things they think is important for you. The second characteristic is something that you have direct control over… I like to call it the “setup”. Meaning that the person doing the demo is set up to fail. Generally the setup is orchestrated by someone who has no idea of automation but produces a script for the demonstration. A lot of time this is accompanied by invoices and codes that are required to be loaded into the system. If your intention is to see what “your stuff” looks like, then – that’s fine. However, if you are wanting to know what life is going to be like without the paper then this method will fall short. The reason is you can only go so far until you need a full-blown implementation.
A good demo is in the hands of an experienced person. Someone that knows their software, client and (as a bonus) your industry. A good demo will have a healthy dose of “our clients say X about the software” or “the feedback we get from the users are Y”. A good demo will spend time on what the overall impact will be and helping you see an end-result picture using client examples so you can find out (conceptually) what life is going to be like without the paper in AP.
Make sure you see the live software. A sale engineer can do a lot with prototypes and PowerPoint. If they are unable to produce a live demo then you should put that service provider down for a big question mark.
At the end of a demonstration you should know, the impact of AP Automation, comfort level of doing business with the service provider, and a clear next step (references… more demos…)
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