The Absolute Most Important Content in the Buying Cycle: The Proof

I’ve recently worked with some software vendors who would likely see me as the lead contact for a big sales “opportunity” in their salesforce.com account. They might have even had this opportunity forecasted to close in Q2. I can tell by the aggressiveness in which I was being “followed up” with during the final week of June.
This was clearly premature on the sales reps’ part, as I have made it painstaking clear that I am missing one very critical piece of information that is keeping me from getting the contract(s) signed: the proof that this solution is really going to add value. 
It is one thing to talk about value. It’s another to truly demonstrate it.

Sales Reps: Please, expose your pudding.

So how can you go about this and prove to your prospects and key accounts that your solutions is going to truly add value to their organization?
Here is a short list of content that can do the trick:

  • Relevant case studies
  • Relevant Testimonials
  • Relevant References 
  • ROI Calculators
  • Interactive demos of your product in action
  • Free Trials

Now, for each of these content types, the key is to have a combination of qualitative and quantitative demonstrations of your product or services. And please note that the repetition of the word “relevant” — your prospect needs to see the results that occurred with a buyer who resembles them, within a company that resembles their own.
As a buyer, while I do naturally care about the qualitative information about the solution/offering, what I am truly curious in and am ultimately going to be swayed by is the quantitative data.
If I had seen the proof during the different buying stages with some of the vendors that I have been engaging with, the sales reps might have closed the quarter a bit stronger with me as a new customer. And I might now have a new technology to help me achieve my business goals.

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