Tech Buyer’s Point of View: Don’t Fall Down in Onboarding
The global network of technology buyers may be big, but the small-world rule definitely applies. We all talk. We’re hungry for solutions to our problems, and we regularly share with each other what works—and what doesn’t. Use our feedback to your advantage as a seller.
One of the biggest collective pain points is onboarding that doesn’t fulfill the pre-sales promise. It’s relatively easy to demonstrate that your solution is simple to use and solves a problem in a pre-sales PowerPoint or demo sandbox, but your buyers need more. Before we buy, we need to get our hands dirty in the tool, understand how it really works, and make sure it’s something our teams can leverage quickly without needing overly specialized resources.
As a frequent buyer of technology, I typically ask for a trial period or “out clause” from a vendor. I understand why vendors don’t like to do this from a cost perspective, but it’s about due diligence for me. In my experience, vendors who aren’t willing to do trials don’t make great partners.
Many of my colleagues share my perspective—the onboarding experience needs to be relevant to your buyer’s business and tailored to their working environment and resources.
Anamika Gupta, Director and Head of Account Based Marketing and Deal Based Marketing for Fujitsu America, Inc., said, “Vendors can promise you the moon. But once they come onboard, the gaps start to show. ‘Full support’ may not really be full support. Vendors may not respond to issues as they’re happening, and they may not proactively help you set up their system within your ecosystem. You get a really good idea of a vendor’s attitude once you come onboard.”
Jessica Garrett, Vice President of Marketing for KORE Wireless, said, “You have to get closer to your customers. Today, we’re in such a fast evolution that by the time the vendor’s solution is out the door, there are 10 different use cases. If you don’t actually solve my problem and show it during onboarding, then you’ve made more work for me. That’s not what I want.”
As a seller, if you don’t fully understand your buyer’s most pressing business needs, you set yourself up for an unhappy customer, extended customer success support, and ultimately a lost renewal. Worse yet, we all talk. You’ll soon find that your prospects have a preconceived opinion of your solution based on feedback from their peers, and it’s not always good.
So how do you onboard better? Focus on your buyer’s business priorities with the same attention you did during pre-sales. Take the time to show how your tool addresses them specifically and leave all the other things your tool can do for later. Avoid techno-speak and referrals to Wiki pages. Remember, your new customer is still a buyer who is constantly evaluating her options and assessing what works.
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