How Customers Should Prepare for Vendor Demos - InformationWeek
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5/31/2007
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How Customers Should Prepare for Vendor Demos

Tony Byrne has provided some advice to vendors regarding product demos. Those ten points make essential reading for vendors and customers alike, but there is another perspective. Since I have personally sat in on those demos both as a buyers' advisor and as a vendor (system integrator), I need to add three points that customers should keep in mind when asking vendors to demonstrate their products:

Tony Byrne has provided some advice to vendors regarding product demos. Those ten points make essential reading for vendors and customers alike, but there is another perspective. Since I have personally sat in on those demos both as a buyers' advisor and as a vendor (system integrator), I need to add three points that customers should keep in mind when asking vendors to demonstrate their products:1. Ensure all the decision makers you need are in attendance. There is nothing more soul destroying for a vendor after having flown across the continent at their own expense for the meeting to hear that "unfortunately Robert (key influencer and decision maker) is busy and can't attend today."

2. If you know what tool you're going to purchase, don't bring in other vendors for fun, or to fake a "competitive" situation simply for your procurement process. It's just not fair or ethical.

3. If the vendor is going off on a tangent during the presentation, tell them so and reaffirm your areas of interest. They cannot read your mind.

In short, both sides should always respect the other. As a buyer you should be seeking a partner to work with, not underlings to do your bidding. Mutual respect - and frankly a bit of common sense on both sides - can go a long way to improving these notoriously hit-and-miss affairs.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe is a principal analyst at CMS Watch. Write him at aps@cmswatch.comTony Byrne has provided some advice to vendors regarding product demos. Those ten points make essential reading for vendors and customers alike, but there is another perspective. Since I have personally sat in on those demos both as a buyers' advisor and as a vendor (system integrator), I need to add three points that customers should keep in mind when asking vendors to demonstrate their products:

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