First Impressions Do MatterEd Sim posts an excellent comment on the importance of first impressions in the technology sales process. I would add that first impressions matter heavily in any situation. He comments on the importance of ease of installation and an intuitive user interface:
Well, in today's environment, enterprises have the upper hand. This means that most enterprise sales end up in a proof of concept (POC) or bake-off against other competitors. So the first impression you make in the POC is the installation. If it is hard to install, forget about it. The logical conclusion your sales prospect will draw is that it is a hard to use product. So while you spend time building some great features and making your product more scalable, do not forget to spend time, lots of it, in the areas that customers touch and see. This means making the install process as easy as possible (this is where appliances can help in many cases) and making your GUI intuitive and easy to use. If you can't get this right, you will lose most deals or at least be fighting an uphill battle in a competitive bakeoff no matter how scalable or feature-rich your product is.Many tech companies and technologists often forget about user interface, and always chalk it up as trivial: "something so easy, we'll get to it at the last minute - when we're done." But, this is just flat out wrong - looks do matter and its never that trivial. I've seen countless software companies present (at both sales meetings and venture meetings) and get passed on because of these two key issues.
Simplicity is golden. Make sure the first impression conveys that, and you can be pretty sure you'll get a second meeting - whether it be with an investor or potential client (or even a potential date).
posted by Charles @ Saturday, January 22, 2005