POC (Proof of Concept) or Proof of Value (POV) is often a last step in the pre sales process. It is the last step for sales engineering. Once POC/POV is successfully completed, the sales deal goes to procurement or contract.
If the POC/POV fails, the deal goes down with it.
Proof of Concept (POC) is also known as pre sales technical evaluation process. A micro or scaled down version of the environment is usually created to mimic the actually scenario and usecases. The goal of POC is to satisfy the success criteria that are mutually agreed upon before starting the POC. The purpose of Proof of Concept is show how product works. The focus is on showing that product solves customer’s usecases and pain points. This activity usually precedes with detailed report of meeting success criteria and product accomplishments.
POV (Proof of Value) is used to identify the value of the product based on customer’s usecases. It’s usually lighter touch than POC. The value is proven by demonstrating customer’s usecases in a standard environment. It usually does not require creating a micro environment or recreating customer’s production environment for satisfying the success criteria. The purpose of Proof of Value is to show that product will solve customer’s usecase (or problem).
Whether you should engage in Proof of Concept (POC) or Proof of Value(POV) – It mainly depends on the product, and to some extent customers too. During the presales process, the goal is to close the sales successfully by demonstrating product capabilities to customer to their satisfaction (success criteria). Prospective customer is buying the product not just solves the immediate problems but it also fits into their short term and long term goals.
A well planned Proof of Concept with clear success criteria does wonder to sales cycle. They are much shorter and have better chances of being successful. POC is a great tool for closing the sales quickly. Most of the POCs fail not because of the product, but because of the people mismanagement.
Proof of Values (POVs) is lighter and executed in more controlled environment. They do not require extensive settings of environment like POC, so they move much faster in the process. However, the downside is that customer may not be satisfied enough to make a purchase. POVs usually work great for SaaS products which are easily demonstrable and where a sandbox can be easily created for a lighter version of POC.
It is common to call a lighter version of POC as POV. Many sales engineering teams prefer to use the term POV, because in POV, the focus is on showing the value rather than showing the concept (functionality). But most of the modern POCs do not just focus on proving the concept. Even though they may be called POCs, their focus is still on solving customer’s usecases and proving value.
Both POC and POV are tools for satisfying customer’s requirements during the presales process. If managed properly, they can do wonders. If not managed properly, they can consume extensive resources and derail the sales process. Remember, there is no coming back once POCs or POVs are failed.
Success focuses on 5 key components required for successful POC and POV:
1- Planning and Execution
2- Customer Collaboration and Experience
3- Repeatable execution of successful POCs/POVs
4- Insights and Learnings
5- Playbooks and automation
Success brings the much needed structure Proof of Concepts and Proof of Value needed for long time. It saves time and resources for both the parties. It’s a win-win.
Read our blog on 15 questions for sales teams before offering a POC.
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