Customer evidence and the source of credibility

04Oct07

Massimo Pezzini from Gartner recently commented about what makes a successful vendor briefing:

There’s no better way to communicate that your product is delivering its intended business benefits than telling a story of a successful implementation. I like to remind vendors just how powerful this technique can be.

This was a message that my previous boss, Steve Ellis of Metia, championed. I have been in too many briefings where the vendor lectures the analysts about just how good their products are – the problem of course is that the analyst has heard this all before. The world is filled with great products that have no customers.

The secret then is to give credibility to your offering through solid customer evidence. Even the traditional media argument of ‘we can’t tell you about our customer list’ does not hold weight with analysts as these names can be given to the analysts under NDA. Remember the analysts are not out to try and catch a scoop but are simply interested in recommending to their customers which technology/vendor they should work with.

And what if you don’t have any customers?

Massimo has the answer again:

If you have not sold a new product and, hence, you have no success stories, be sure to tell us about any pilots that have been completed. Analysts appreciate this and won’t interpret it negatively at all.

Solid customer evidence can be the difference between success and failure – capturing it early and having a solid process to convert this data into a tangible, marketable form is worth its weight in gold.

By way of an example one of the most successful analyst briefings I have had did not even have my client present. It was simply between the analyst and the customer’s CTO. The meeting was honest and candid. Even though the CTO explained the problems they encountered with the implementation, he also discussed how they got round them and the benefits everyone enjoyed. The results? This customer was used as a best practice example at the analysts annual industry event.

I know that case studies are top of everyone’s ‘must have’ list so you may think I am ranting about something that everyone is already doing. If this is the case the, why is this still one of the biggest faults continually aimed at vendors in their analyst meetings?



2 Responses to “Customer evidence and the source of credibility”

  1. Thanks for this post. I couldn’t agree more about customer evidence being crucial to proving your real-world impact — it’s really the whole raison d’etre of my employer.

    What do you think of the type of short-format customer evidence assets our app creates? http://www.techvalidate.com/how-it-works

    In your opinion, would this type of content be useful in bolstering longer-format content pieces, or be useful to add to analyst presentations or for vendors to share via social media?


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