CADDManager on October 11th, 2010

I have seen so many vendor presentations in my career that I cannot count them. Some have been forgettable, some unforgettable, some boring, some exciting, but they have all been done with the best intentions. I am speaking on the general presentations that are made to large crowds either in person or via the web. They may be populated with many warm bodies, but the presenter is hoping to get a lead from the group. Someone that is interested.

Good intentions or not all of these presentations either hit the mark or they do not. Here are some things that I think make them miss the mark.

1. They are talking to the wrong audience. Presenters cannot control who comes to their presentation so they may be shooting at the wrong target. They ramble on about certain features or tools and seem to have no idea if those attending even care.

2. They show too many slides before getting to the demo. This burns me. If I have not decided if the tool they are showing is going to apply to my firm or my needs, I have little need to find out how long the company has been around, or how many offices they have or how many users they have. Get to the demo

3. They take too long to demo the good stuff. Ok… the demo finally started… but they take forever to get to the good stuff. Don’t save the best for last – put it up front and make me interested in the rest.

4. They answer the wrong questions. By providing more information than I am willing to sit through they sometimes give me more than I want on the wrong subject.

5. They talk too long on the wrong subject. What they think is “killer stuff” may not be what I think is great. Not that I am the only one that matters when they are speaking, but some topics wander around and get discussed too long.

Granted, it is tough to hit everyone’s sweet spot. And maybe my sweet spot is not what everyone else wants to see. But I have seen the things above consistently for a long time.

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2 Responses to “My Beef with Vendor Presentations”

  1. Speaking from the other side of the table, I think you’ll find that vendors have the same issues. To use your examples:

    1.) Often times they end up talking to the wrong audience. That’s not their fault, they would love to talk to the RIGHT audience, but they end up feeling they left a presentation having wasted their time just like you leave it feeling like your time was wasted.

    2.) The company they come into doesn’t spend enough time explaining what they do or the duties of the people sitting around the table.

    3.) They don’t know what good stuff to demo because not enough time was spent clarifying what was to be shown/discussed. The other option is that each person around the table has a different idea of what the “good stuff” is making it difficult to define the objectives of the demo.

    4.) When the “trigger” points in an organization isn’t defined then those doing the demo will normally key on those topics that they feel have benefited other clients. Often times that’s wrong for the organization, but its a “best guess”.

    Point being, it’s the vendor’s fault for not asking a good series of questions upfront before the “demo” even takes place. But the blame also goes both ways as a demo shouldn’t occur unless a dialogue has taken place that communicates what you want to see and defines it beyond generic terms. I’ve learned that “uh, yeah, we would like to hear about that” (stated before a demo) can either mean “This is a PRIORITY item!!!!” or “eh… it’s of interest, if we can see it in 30 seconds”. Also if you bring the wrong people to a demo (or group many different trades/duties into one demo) that there is not way its not wasting 1/2 the room’s time… including the vendors.

    So its about increasing communication before the demo ever begins. Now that will lead to another article about how your time is wasted BEFORE the demo (which often it will be :-) ) but that’s part of your job security..errr…duties as CADD Manager.

  2. Hey Mark, totally agree. I stayed out of C3D for years because of the presentation. I have requested custom classes on earthworks drawings, supplied the drawings &still got a structural /Revit presentation. I took my experience on board when ever I do demos. Great stuf. Cheers Paul..

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