People don't read. Isn't that a terrible thing to say? As a blogger, it's especially disturbing but I have to admit that people simply don't read. Emails, websites, blogs, whitepapers, press releases, functional requirements, acceptance agreements, terms of service, creative commons…. no one reads them.
We're busy – we just want to get to the answer and don't want to waste time. We honestly don't have time.
This week was a marathon week for me in writing some marketing material, answering emails, writing requirement documents for developers, and setting expectations with prospects on what we can deliver… but most of it has not been accurately consumed. I'm beginning to recognize how much more impactful images and stories are to the sales cycle, the development cycle and the implementation cycle.
This last month, we've spent day and night on a RFP where we answered dozens of questions about our product and its capabilities. We poured over the wording, built great diagrams and had several meetings with the company, both in person and via phone. We even distributed an interactive CD that was an overview of our business and services.
At the end of the process, we're finding ourselves #2 in the running.
In all honesty, all of the voice conversations, marketing material and documentation we spent hours on still didn't clarify a concise image to the client that we had the key feature that they required. We did… but in all the piles of documentation, meetings, messaging, etc., that message was lost.
It's no irony that the company in the #1 position has had the opportunity to fully demonstrate (in an in-house lab) with the client on the deliverable. We were introduced into the process at a much later date and didn't push for an in-house demonstration. We were confident that we had fully communicated the solutions they required.
We were wrong.
Feedback from the client was that our demonstration was too technical and lacked the meat of what the client required. I don't disagree – we definitely targeted our entire presentation on the technical aspects of our system given that the company had a miserable failure with their previous vendor. We knew our application stood on its own, so we wanted to hit home on how our technology was the differentiation that they needed.
They didn't know that.
Looking back on it, I think we probably could have dropped a ton of the calls, documentation and even the diagrams and simply put together a video of how the application worked and exceeded their expectations. I know I'm writing a lot about video lately on my blog – but I'm really becoming a believer on the medium.