How to Showcase Technology and Develop Reference Customers in the Public Safety Market
Over the last two years, PSN has worked with five companies showcasing their technologies with first responders to generate awareness and secure early reference customers. We’ve spent many hours facilitating proofs of concept with users, conducting remote demonstrations, identifying ideal early reference customer accounts, securing speaking roles with influential public safety technology groups, navigating procurement rules, and much more. This is nothing new to anyone who has started a company selling a technology product to first responders. And, just like everyone else, we’ve learned A LOT along the way.
Here are PSN’s top 10 lessons learned from showcasing new technology products and solutions with first responders, paying particular attention to early marketing and sales goals to generate awareness and secure early reference customers.
- Target opportunities where the attendees are vocal in your target market. Give the attendees something to talk about after the demo. They don’t have to be customers to be advocates.
- Document all testing with videos and photos and promote them extensively on your company’s website and social media platforms (with any necessary agency permissions).
- Target opportunities with early technology adopters. Find medium to small size agencies in your target market that can be flexible (aka FAST) with testing and purchasing new technology. These agencies do exist and have likely been quoted in the past by a vendor.
- Take advantage of the excitement and momentum that comes from these types of testing scenarios. Be sure to follow up quickly with your agency points of contact to provide additional information when asked and respond in a timely manner to more detailed technical questions.
- Don’t chase the largest accounts to showcase your solution. It’s way too early to get bogged down with custom requests and extra steps in the sales cycles. As always, there are exceptions here, but it’s rare.
- Document a detailed test plan. Leave no room for error. If you fail now, they and all their friends are likely lost forever. Create a very simple test plan/scenario, dictate the exact outcomes/benefits the user will see, with the goal of confirming that the solution you described is exactly what the user experiences.
- Include a wow factor. Highlight a feature that the user has not seen before. Give those attending the demonstration something to talk about with their colleagues during the next shift change or training drill.
- Be able to replicate the same technology showcase/demo/proof of concept in the field, live remotely, and on demand. This will allow for faster scale and lower customer acquisition costs.
- Ensure you have the financial runway for long early sales cycles.
- Don’t be afraid to charge for the actual costs of testing. It’s a good way to cover early costs and can help to weed out the “browsers.”
We’ve taken all our experiences and created a turnkey service for companies of all sizes to:
- Showcase new technology solutions with first responders,
- Obtain objective feedback from these operational personnel,
- Create brand awareness, and
- Secure early public safety reference customers.
Check out this services summary sheet for more information and contact us today to chat about PSN’s public safety end user testing services.