Removing the Blind Spots: Two Mirrors Required
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Removing the blind spots requires that a reference manager add a few more mirrors that reflect where reference customers are - and where the prospect is - so better call matches might be made. This is not an attempt to be dishonest or to somehow hide the truth. But if a reference manager knows a prospect has real concerns late in the deal about implementation costs, it's better to create a match with a reference customer who can speak to this issue. How to do this? Add blind spots as criteria on the list of both interview questions and reference qualifiers. Add Mirror One to the Customer Interview When refreshing reference customers or developing a success story think about blind-spot types of questions and how to integrate them into the current interview process. And more importantly, stay on top of customers and keep this intelligence up to date. Interview questions that reveal blind spots look like this:
- Was the project delivered on-time and did it map to your original expectations?
- What is your perception of our professional services and customer support organization? To what degree did they contribute to your team's/project's success?
- If you were sitting in a room with our senior management team, what would you tell them about our services, our solutions and the interactions you've had with the company?
- What has the prospect already seen in the way of presentations and demos?
- Has the customer already visited the customer support center?
- Have they already been given a detailed proposal and pricing?
- What issues (blind spots) keep cropping up during discussions?
- Do they constantly ask about service?
- Do they keep asking about the product's ability to support some version of their proprietary technology?
- Is their overriding concern about our experience and expertise?
- Or is it cost containment or TCO?