Avoiding the Science Experiment - How to Run an Effective Proof of Concept

May 2013

Avoiding the Science Experiment - How to Run an Effective Proof of Concept

Posted by David Smith in Cloud Backup

Science BeakerI am sure you all have been through a POC that turns into the never ending science experiment. You're not alone, we all have. However, these situations can be avoided by following the six steps outlined below to provide a much more effective experience for both parties.

The key to an effective proof of concept is to ground the POC in outcomes that achieve both the technical and business objectives, ensuring that both parties understand the business case and how to measure the success of the Proof of Concept. In addition to verifying the technology works as advertised, you will need to be measuring the business value that they need to achieve to make a decision to move forward.

6 Steps to an Effective Proof of Concept (POC):

  1. Identify mutual objectives and BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline) criteria upfront before you even start talking about the POC.
  2. Understand why the prospect or customer wants to enter into the POC – what are the business outcomes that they want to achieve throughout the POC.
  3. Eliminate or sideline the competition by highlighting your strengths and their weaknesses during the POC process
  4. Connect to your prospect's culture - understand the people and their personalities, their processes, how they measure success, and how they treat their vendors.
  5. Evaluate if the prospect is a serial technology shopper who puts vendors through multiple proof of concepts without ever making a decision, or their decision making process takes multiple years.
  6. Always, always document the test plan including business objectives, technical requirements, individuals involved, key milestones, and conditions for a decision; and obtain sign off on a formal document from the economic buyer before starting the POC to avoid scope creep.

The most important aspect of a POC is to understand the buyer's goals and how they measure success. If you are not clear on how they measure success, this could lead to months of frustration and become the dreaded science experiment. Always make sure to get commitment with the key stakeholders on their desired outcome and their success criteria.

David Smith, VP Partner Sales, Asigra

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