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Proof of concept – how to make the right decision

I used to own a stylish, black leather sofa that I never really liked. It looked great in my living room but it really was not comfortable! So, when I moved I sold it and went out to buy a new, cozy sofa – perfect for those Friday movie nights. A week later I found myself at home sitting in a white, super stylish, but only slightly more comfortable, sofa. I bought it at a great discount so it had felt like a bargain at the time, but in the end… well, it just was not comfortable! Needless to say: I felt quite stupid asking myself: ”How did I end up here?”.

But this configurator is so shiny!

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Perhaps while buying a new computer, a new cell phone, or some sort of kitchen utility? You experience a problem with your current product and go out to solve that problem. Instead you end up buying something that really was not what you were aiming for. Have you ever experienced that in your business as well?

Obviously, when you make purchases in your business you are more strategic, not as prone to go for bargains or follow sales reps convincing arguments, right? You make well researched purchase decisions based on well designed Proof of Concepts and the likes of it. But how do you make sure the Proof of Concept is best at sorting out the best solution for your core problem? How do you make sure you make a decision based on logic and not based on feelings, in the end?

Let’s say you are suffering from a high (10%) order return due to an inefficient online sales solution in which it is possible to select a configuration that may not actually work in the field. This issue is costing you thousands of dollars every month in lost revenue. Shortly put: It is your core problem.

So, the solution you look for obviously must be able to reduce the order returns by supplying only correct configurations to your customers. Additionally it must, of course, work together with your web platform, your order system, your payment solution and so on. Basically you need to be looking for an end-to-end solution in order to prove that the solution can interact seamlessly with your other systems as well, right?

Well. Yes, and no.

Choosing the best solution for your core problem

If your core problem actually is a configuration problem (like in the order return issue example), the Proof of Concept should be based upon finding a supplier that solves your core issue in the most efficient way as long as it sufficiently solves your other issues. Number one, two and three on your priority list should be how well it actually solves your core problem. A great payment solution, for example, does not balance out an only decent solution to your core problem.

Without a Proof of Concept that really addresses your core issue of an order return of 10%, you can be lured into a solution that reduces your order return to 5%, instead of another solution that reduces it to 1%. Perhaps because the former solution has some neat features, a cool design and is sold at a great discount – in other words: it is a ’White Leather Sofa’. You let yourself get impacted by features into your overall decision that was not a part your core problem. Does your Proof of Concept take this into consideration?

We are not saying integration issues are unimportant, especially since seamless integration is something the Tacton configurator is great at. We can, and we will, make Proof of Concepts that show you integrations with any system you demand. Additionally, we love neat features and cool designs as well!

What we are saying, however, is when you create your Proof of Concept: Keep focus on your core issue and choose the solution that best solves this core issue – while sufficiently solving your other demands as well. The grading of the Proof of Concept should be based upon how well the solution solves your core issue, and then on a ”Yes or No” basis for all other issues. This way you will make sure the solution you pick will really be the best for your business in the end, and not the one that just performs best at a Proof of Concept.

This way you will not end up in a White Leather Sofa-situation where you find yourself, some time later, asking yourself ”How did we end up here?” when you realize your new solution was just a minor upgrade that perhaps felt good purchasing, but not so great having.

 

Learn more:

CPQ bridges the gap between your customer and your product

Webinar: How to leverage Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) to increase sales in the packaging industry

Blog post: CPQ – not just a private island for sales

 

Contact us to find out how we can help you define your problem

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