Interactive Automated Demos are Quadrant 2 Activities
Because of Stephen Covey, the phrase "quadrant 2" has become ubiquitous with those oh-so-important but dang-i-can-never-get-to-it projects and tasks that will massively move the needle but we struggle to fit in. Defined as both Very Important but Not Urgent, even Covey disciples find it hard to actually make the focus time necessary to begin, let alone complete, these critical but not urgent initiatives. As a refresher, Covey's matrix looks like this:
Building and implementing interactive demo automation is a Quadrant 2 activity. You can keep doing what you're doing, and doing a live "standard demo" for a customer feels like the best use of your time because they're asking for it. But if you and your team can carve out the time to build (1-3 days) and implement (1-2 hours) interactive automated demos, your time will come back to you in spades.
Focusing on Quadrant 2 Activities Will "Multiply Your Time"
Taking the time to automate a highly repetitive task does take effort. Rory Vaden, in his book "Procrastinate on Purpose", places Automate as the second step in his "Focus Funnel". He argues that you can "multiply your time" by automating some parts of your work life. I love the concept of "multiplying time" because we often think of time as a finite resource, but through methodology and technology, if we are purposeful, we can multiply what our time does for us, as well as open up time for ourselves to live a higher life.
A Presales leader of a team of highly qualified sales engineers recently told me that his team suffers from low morale because they spend 50-60% of their time doing "standard demos" under- or un-qualified prospects. By making the effort to build and implement interactive demo automation, not only do your prospects and customers get what they need more quickly (making them ecstatic), but your technical sales team professionals also become more motivated. They are spending more of their time on key activities like strategic consulting, creative approaches to solving customer problems, and preparing for key technical or deep-dive demos using the data that comes from the interactive demos the prospects engaged with earlier.
This Team of Sales Engineers Freed Up 13,000 Hours in Year 1
By implementing demo automation, one relatively small Oracle presales team saved 13,000 hours in the first year. That's what I call multiplying time.
“The cost of doing business needed to go down, and we needed to strip a considerable amount of money from our operating costs,” said Tod Goulds of Oracle’s CEGBU. Company-wide, Oracle is focused on finding ways to scale while controlling costs. Presales operations, in particular, often required extensive travel and personal/live interaction, with costs that grew in lockstep with volume. The division couldn’t grow headcount fast enough to keep up with exploding demand.
Consensus enabled Goulds’ team to automate this experience, while simultaneously revealing hidden influencers and stakeholders as demos were shared throughout the target org.