Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, November 19, 2004

Choosing Web Conferencing Tools: Can You Trust Online Live Demonstrations?

If you're looking for a reliable, stable and trustworthy supplier of web conferencing and/or online presentation tools, you're not going to be able to gain a very clear picture simply by reading prospective vendors' marketing brochures, touring their corporate websites or by being forced to listen to a one-way flow of PR speak.


None of this will teach you anything you really need to know about the vendor or the product. You might gain some insights into particular product features and functionality that the salesperson wants you to focus on. You might be told stories about how other customers have "achieved great ROI" or have "saved countless hours of travel time" using that particular product.

But for all this, you really will not understand whether it's the right application for you or your organization.



So how do you go about properly evaluating a tool?

You certainly don't need marketing hype.

First and foremost, you need facts.

Then you need to be able to pull the tool apart in a real-time, live demonstration.

These two essential requirements can be delivered to you over the course of a live demo by the vendor - and this is your ideal opportunity to learn whether the vendor you're dealing with has the potential to be a stable, supportive, long-term partner.

Over the course of the live demo, if you ask the right questions and listen closely to the answers, as well as pay close attention to what's being shown to you, you'll very quickly get to know who you're really dealing with.

Product managers, online demonstrators and sales staff should be well prepared and highly knowledgeable about the product or services they are presenting or demonstrating.

Although this appears to be a rather obvious observation, it is evident from our research that a great number of vendors utilize staff that are by no means as fully aware and knowledgeable about what they are promoting as they should be.

If the company doesn't know what it's selling, it cannot be fully trusted as a partner.

Our research has identified a number of best practices carried out by serious, reliable players. Here are some examples you should be expecting (or hoping) to see:

  • Taking every possible opportunity to understand what the customer really wants. What are they trying to achieve?

  • Quickly figuring out how much the customer already knows and avoiding replicating information that they already have

  • Listening closely to the customer's issues and doubts about the product and taking proactive action to see those requests and issues are addressed

  • Allowing the customer to fully test and try out some of the facilities being demonstrated

  • Being knowledgeable about competing products' features and prices

  • Communicating the pro's and con's of other available products/services and having a clear and up-to-date understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their own

  • Following up with customers after demonstrations to provide further assistance and information - and not just in those cases where this may lead to a quick sale.

If there is little or no evidence of any of the following, then you should look elsewhere.

Readers' Comments    
2006-02-19 02:26:55


I don't Trust Online Live Demonstrations.Our company spend too many money.But we faile in use.

posted by on Friday, November 19 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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