5 reasons why POCs fail

Published on: December 26th, 2019
Updated on: April 23rd, 2021

A successful proof of concept (POC) is essential to close a B2B sales deal. It is also a great opportunity for the buyer to evaluate the product before buying. The success of POC is critical for both the buyer and the seller. Both sides spend significant resources in evaluating the product. A failed POC not only hurts revenue numbers of company offering the product, but it also wastes the resources while evaluating the products.

Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash

Here are the top five reasons that result in a failed POC.

1- Lack of executive sponsor

Every successful project needs sponsor, POCs are not different. Sponsors are key stakeholders. They are the leaders who set forth the need and set a tone of POC success criteria. Sponsors help with resolving issues that causes delay or deflect from the scope. A successful POC keeps teams and decision makers focused and aligned in right direction.

2- Vague understanding of business needs

Business needs are the primary drivers. They set the boundary and direction for technical requirements. Business needs and pain points should drive the scope and technical requirements. Real business usecase and pain point should drive the technical requirements otherwise it is very difficult to show value of product. There should be no room for ambiguity between the technical translation of a business need. A product can have lot of features and capabilities but if it cannot fulfill business needs then most likely it won’t get past the finish line.

3- Open ended scope/undefined scope

Open ended scope may happen due to multiple reasons. The top three reasons are:

  • Business Needs are not clear: Discovery is critical to defining the scope. If POC participants don’t spend enough time spend on discovering business needs and technical requirements, then scope will not address the problem, and most likely will end up in scope creep.
  • Weak POC process: Lack of experience in POC participants combined with lack of process can also end up in undefined or open ended scope.
  • Desperation of closing the sales: Sales teams are always chasing dates. They have targets that they have to meet. Cutting corners and not following process seems like an attractive option, but it is not. POCs may take even longer when there is no real business need defined.

4- Missing collaboration among different teams

It is very important to have all the hands on the deck. POCs move quicker with right teams involved. If Sales engineers and project managers end up chasing people to get the information, then it may cause stress and frustration among everyone involved in POC process.

Using a platform like Success allows Sales engineers, internal teams and customer to collaborate during the POCs. It makes running POC is better experience for everyone.

5- Lack of overall visibility

Sales teams run multiple POCs at the same time. Running POC and closing the deal is top priority for sales teams. Updating CRM, emails and spreadsheets becomes overhead for POC engineers. CRM and spreadsheets become bottleneck as they as they are not purposely built to solve POC challenges. To understand when a POC is going from “green” to “red” is critical to take quick remedial actions.

POC communication should not time consuming. Writing emails and phone calls are not efficient. Getting the right type of attention for solving issues and risks is critical for POC success.

Success is a platform that not only provides visibility to sales leadership, but it also makes it easier for POC engineers to communicate the updates, issues and health of POC.

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