Proof of Value vs. Proof of Concept - The Key Elements
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During the final stages of the pre-sales process, proof of value (POV) and proof of concept (POC) are vital aspects, usually marking the last sales engineering step. After completing the proof of value and proof of concept, sales deals transition to procurement or contract, closing deals, and boosting close rates that match or better the industry standard.
Proof of Value identifies product value based on customer use cases, while proof of concept is a pre-sales technical evaluation process. If these elements are not fulfilled, then deals will fall through, and sales teams have to start from scratch, diminishing productivity and delaying key business objectives. What are the important facets of POV and POC? And where does conversational intelligence play a role in optimizing both?
Proof of Value
Proof of value identifies the value of products or services, depending on client use cases. It’s a lighter method and works best in controlled environments, with value proven through demonstrating use cases.
POV doesn’t require creating microenvironments or recreating client production environments to be successful. In its simplicity, POV shows that a product/service seamlessly solves client use cases. It focuses on use cases that cannot be achieved through any other technical means.
Proof of Concept
Proof of Concept, meanwhile, is the more layered of these pre-sales processes, a technical evaluation process that provides scalability to environments created to mimic real-life client scenarios and use cases. The main goal of proof of concept is to satisfy all success criteria that were laid out and mutually agreed upon before starting it. POC shows how well a product or service works while proving it applies to various client use cases and successfully addresses pain points. It is also known as the proof of principle.
POV and POC are Often Used Interchangeably
Proof of Value and Proof of Concept are terms often used interchangeably when broaching the pre-sales process. Both are regularly applied in technical use cases when sales prospects need a deeper, more intricate understanding of a product/service while understanding how the product/service meets business and operational needs.
Both methods are applied when proving technical value is more meticulous within the sales cycle, with reasonable timelines for both necessarily set to prove their effectiveness.
Proof of Concept Helps Boost Win Rates
Proof of Concept is a particularly good concept to help improve win/close rates, allowing pre-sales and account executives to properly understand all client needs and use cases.
For one, POC includes probing clients about their desired business outcomes to create a roadmap outlining how product/service features best meet objectives, with continuous learning and questioning needed to properly understand daily client needs.
Additionally, POC codifies the success criteria in a way that creates paths for discoveries throughout the sales process, holding buyers and sellers equally accountable. If sellers deliver regarding the success criteria, then buyers will agree to the technical win. Conversational AI ensures buyers and sellers are on the same page by extracting insights relevant to sales-related conversations and highlighting keywords, allowing sales professionals to be better informed regarding buyer expectations. This makes it easier for buyers to understand how products/services best address their needs.
POC accelerates the sales cycle and is a great tool for closing sales quickly. POC failure doesn’t derive from the concept, it is from mismanagement, with scope creep and a lack of clear deliverables and expectations hindering execution.
POV is the Lighter Version of POC
Proof of value is a more condensed version of proof of concept. It’s executed in a more controlled environment than POC. POV doesn’t require extensive environmental settings and takes a deeper dive into how valuable products/services are. POV also establishes whether they reduce costs and create more efficiencies, among other things. Proof of value validates adoption and tangibly measures success, providing justification for sales teams.
Proof of value works especially well for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products that can easily be demonstrated, with the groundwork set to create a lighter version of Proof of Concept.
While POV looks at value rather than functionality (which POC focuses on), they are interchangeable because many POC projects today don’t exclusively focus on proving a concept as they validate client use cases and prove how valuable products/services are while creating worthwhile purchasing experiences for buyers.
Conversational intelligence highlights value within conversations surrounding POV and POC, understanding buyer signals that indicate where the best value propositions can be made when negotiating with clients. Additionally, conversational intelligence helps sales teams identify product differentiators and unique capabilities that make POV and POC easier to validate throughout the pre-sales stage.
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