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Getting a big corp do beta trials

Expert Folks!

Need some advice here:

We have done a lot of prep work with a big corp (long story short,
rounded up techies, CIO, and to some extent CMO).

Their CIO had lot of interest in our solution, as ours is a custom-fit for them solving a huge pain for their IT and their business in general.

We specifically asked what can we do to help him to make a decision and move forward. He pushed us back and said he will get back to us, and he is evaluating all options.

We atleast want to offer a free-no-obligation beta trial on a limited basis and give some updates, now. [we didnt offer him during the first meeting as he was testdriving our product hands-on]

What can be do to negotiate a beta-trial?

Any ideas on how to go about; This CIO is hard to reach, but after first meeting, he should be atleast open to second meeting or updates from us.

Any one who has similar experience, pls share with me.

Thanks in advance. - by John_Sales123
How complicated would setting up the beta trial be for the company? Do they need to invest a significant amount of time for it? I think try and schedule the second meeting and create a presentation which immediately lists the advantages on why a beta trial would be the best option for them. Don't make the presentation too long, just keep it simple, to the point and don't take too much time of the CIO. - by achengms
I would say that there is something else going on here that is external to the CIO. Perhaps it's a budget issue. Perhaps he does not have the authority to move forward. Perhaps the whole thing has been nixed since your initial conversation with him. Perhaps he really is evaluating other options.

Is there some way you can gain some insight into this company's normal buying process?

I would also be cautious about using a Beta as a way to push the process along. In my experience I've seen a lot of time and energy wasted on betas that were pushed onto customers way too early in the process. Betas worked best for me when the customer is emotionally and financially invested in the success of the beta. - by DaveB
Thanks so much for sharing your ideas.

This CIO has the authority and power to introduce anything he wants into his org and there lies his responsibility to envision his corp positioning stategically with technology.

Having said that, this beta involves _reasomably_ minimal work in their lab (pre-production), definetly at a minimum 5man-hrs of their engineers to integrate. We are planning to offer resources also to cover this.

While we understand, a beta-trial without customer's skin in the game, means waste of resources and commitment,

Would appreciate any ideas on how to make this attractive while at the same time we get commitment from the customer?

Thanks again. - by John_Sales123
Hello John,

The problem is that the customer has your information/proposal and feels you have nothing more to offer until they solve their internal issues and make some choices.

best time to negotiate participation in the customers decision making is when you qualify - before you provide any information/proposal/proof of concept - while you still have something to negotiate with.

If you adopt the stance that all you want to do is to help the customer get into a position where they can make a decision instead of "how can I get push this along", you may get some traction. The best strategy now is to identify the internal issues that are preventing progress. Try your other contacts in the customers organisation. If you can get the stakeholders talking about the real issues, the ones they haven;t told you about already, then you may get back in the driving seat.

Good luck
Clive - by Clive Miller
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