More demos is not better

More demos is not better

When I work with clients on selecting a new system, I try very hard to limit to three the number of systems that make it to the demo stage. (We'll typically consider five or six systems prior to demos, but here I'm talking about demos specifically.) My clients will sometimes ask: "Shouldn't we be demoing more than three products?"

There are several reasons for limiting the number of demos, including:

  • Demos are "expensive" from a staff time perspective. Multiply the the number of hours you're sitting in a demo times the number of staff in the demo. For some of my clients this could mean 15-25 staff hours (or more!) for one demo. You may not see it, but there is a price for having many demos.
  • The more demos you have, the more confused staff will actually get. Even the best note-takers are likely to miss details about a given product, and after watching four or more demos, keeping track of which product does which thing becomes increasingly difficult. So more demos actually create more confusion, not more clarity.
  • Research demonstrates that the more options we're presented with, the less likely we are to make a decision. I've encountered many associations who reached out to me for help because they had looked at so many different products that they were overwhelmed and couldn't make a decision.

You should be doing your due diligence and narrowing down your choices before you have actual demos. You want to look at systems that look like solid matches on paper before you ever demo them. This way, when you're doing demos, you're looking at systems that are legitimately good options for your organization.

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