Sales of enterprise technology frequently rely on a proof of concept (POC) or proof of value (POV) stage for the buyer to prove that the solution meets their needs before a purchase can be made. Pre-sales executives manage this POC process to drive a "technical win" so that the enterprise can close the deal. Without a successful and repeatable POC process and pre-sales motion, an enterprise sales team will not be able to make their number and the company will fall short of its revenue objective.
Recently, new evaluation processes have emerged, like pilots and guided trials. Each of these approaches offers value in different situations and takes varying amounts of time. These distinct approaches can prove challenging for sales leaders who must know exactly when deals are going to close to make their numbers.
Visibility into the precise pre-sales process is often lacking, and this creates surprises when revenue that was projected doesn't materialize because of stalled or failed POC's.
Sales Evaluation Processes
POC, POV, pilot, and the other new terms that are gaining traction, all lead to one thing: prospects "test driving" or evaluating the product in their environment before they buy it. For purposes of this article, we'll focus on pre-sales processes that require the involvement of a Sales Engineer (SE) to complete.
Defining POC, POV, and Pilot
Proof of concept (POC) and proof of value (POV) are interchangeable terms applied to use cases with a specifically defined and guided product implementation in the buyer's environment. The goal is to provide a deep insight into how the product can meet the buyer's operational and business needs. A pilot often indicates a more complex sales cycle.
Pilots are usually implemented in high-value opportunities as they require significant time and come with a cost commitment from the seller. Through the pilot process, the seller seeks to establish the product's value in a compelling way that allows the prospect to measure the real-world benefits of implementing the product in their environment. Deals with pilots take the longest time to close, ranging from 45 days to an entire quarter (90 days).
The Secret to Ensuring Visibility During Complex Evaluations
Apart from ensuring a technical win during an evaluation, sales leaders have another challenge—measuring the health and progress of the deals as they move forward. This requires real-time monitoring of all the deals in progress and regular communication between the sales team, pre-sales executives, and prospects. Additionally, sales leaders need accurate metrics on the likelihood of success as this can inform the probability of a successful close along with the expected timeframe for closing the deal.
In most companies, communications and analytics are performed on disconnected platforms, including a CRM system such as Salesforce, Slack channels, emails to collaborate and coordinate internally and with the buyer contacts, and other communications platform data systems. This web of platforms makes it harder to track the status and keep in touch with deals and evaluations.
For this reason, the preferred option is to integrate all the platforms into a single solution that can provide real-time metrics on every deal in progress. This approach helps sales management forecast the success of complex transactions and manage deal health to ensure that they close in the expected timeframe. But, as none of the systems used in most companies are designed to interoperate, achieving this desired state is nearly impossible.
Provarity Improves Deal Visibility
Provarity is how you can finally get a full night’s sleep in that last week of every quarter as you stop worrying about whether the deals you’ve been reporting on will close or not.
Provarity's proof of success platform is a holistic solution that can bring all the communications data together. It unifies the disconnected systems, integrating the CRM, Slack, Email, Zoom, and more, to provide clarity and visibility into the knowledge about the status of sales pursuits that are spread across various systems.
Equipped with this insight, sales leaders are able to close business deals faster, streamline communications with buyers and the pre-sales team, and shorten the sales cycle by streamlining the POC process.
Check out how Provarity can help your team by booking a free, no-strings-attached demo.