Adobe Summit day one: does your story match reality?

The official Day 1 of the 2018 Adobe Summit conference is about to wrap up, and with my brain totally stuffed full, I need to take a minute to write down my notes!

First off, tonight the 3Sharp team will be at Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge. Come join us if you’d like. I offered to take everyone out to a nice restaurant. Instead, they choose a magical pink, purple and mirrored bar with a sunken fire pit. I love my team.

People buy experiences, not products

For me, the biggest takeaway, and what Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen leads with, is that “People buy experiences, not products.” With guests on stage like Coca Cola and the NFL, I saw his point. Of course, at the keynote level, I got the impression that Shantanu was referring to the integrated Experience Cloud platform. The keynote stressed Adobe’s Experience Cloud provides:

  • A unified profile across all sales marketing applications 
  • Data semantics and unification 
  • Content workflow & pipelines informed by machine learning applied to the unified profile and data
This is impressive stuff, to say the least. 

Make sure digital experiences map to analog experiences

For me, the mapping of experiences brought up the need to match pre-sales and post-sales experiences. I thought back to a video shown during the pre-training session yesterday. At the time, they stressed that your sales and marketing initiatives have to map to the reality your customers experience when they interact with your organization/product. The video, produced by PWC, showed a young woman reluctantly waking up on a rainy Tuesday. Instead of going to her normal coffee shop on the way to work, she tries a new spot. She was intrigued by the gourmet experience their ad promised. Instead, she finds a greasy spoon and quickly runs back to her normal coffee shop, tweeting how happy she is to be “home.”

I was thinking that if the dirty, greasy-spoon style café embraced their image, “No nonsense: greasy and delicious,” they might have had a line out the door. I pretty much guarantee we would be regulars!

What does this have to do with demos?

Your demo is the perfect opportunity to show how your product matches the reality of your prospect’s experience.

For example, there have been times, regardless of if my prospect is skeptical, concerned, or even overly enthusiastic, when I’ve deliberately steered my demo toward product weaknesses. Counterintuitive, I know! But I look at these moments as great in-person opportunities to address any overt or latent concerns my decision makers may have. Likewise, if a prospect is getting excited about a perceived feature that I think they’re misinterpreting – I jump on that early! It’s going to come up sooner or later. I prefer it’s me talking about it rather than my competitor!

As you would expect, in these situations I am always well prepared to talk workarounds and, whenever possible, turn the weakness into a strength. For instance, if it’s the right audience, I talk strategic architectural design decisions. This opens opportunities to talk flexible architectures, integration points, and other great benefits that may not have been on their minds.

I try my best to never gloss over or “fake” portions of the demo, to avoid making the product look different than reality. Doing this would pretty much guarantee an unhappy customer once they realize the product isn’t what they expect. Our customers are like the girl looking for a coffee shop. They’re at home with us because we work to ensure they’re experience is realistic and solution based.

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