Ben Langhinrichs

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In the age of the instant, why do we still send eval licenses manually?

Tue 6 Sep 2005, 09:33 AM



by Ben Langhinrichs
A customer asked why when they request an evaluation license, it isn't just sent automatically.  It is a valid question.  There is certainly no technical obstacle, as it would be easy to generate an automatic e-mail.  So why?

The reason is that it gives us a chance to respond both to what is asked and what is not asked.  

Responding to what is asked
There is a place on each evaluation request for people to ask questions or request samples or ask for hints about how to proceed.  We take this opportunity to mention samples that might be useful, point out articles that are relevant, and to ask follow up questions of our own to start a dialog through which the potential customer can achieve their goals quickly and with a minimum of searching and annoyance.  In general, this far outweighs the delay in getting the license earlier.

Responding to what is not asked
So what do I mean about "what is not asked."?  This is harder, but sometimes even more important.  I am a regular reader and frequent contributor to a number of forums.  It is not uncommon for someone to ask a question on the Notes 6 & 7 Gold forum or the Notes 4 & 5 Gold Forum, and have somebody suggest our Midas Rich Text LSX.  For example, yesterday Ethann Castell mentioned Midas is this post, and recently Doug Finner made a "happy customer" comment about CoexLinks in this post, and not too long ago Stan Rogers mentioned CoexEdit in this post..

But all too often, when the person to whom this is addressed requests an evaluation, they don't mention the original post, even though that thread might contain valuable information about how they want to use Midas or CoexLinks or CoexEdit.  That is where we have a chance to respond to what is not asked.  I may recognize the name from the thread, or if a request comes in shortly after a strong endorsement, I may even search back and look for the thread.  If the person to whom the recommendation said "I am a total newbie, but I really want to send HTML e-mails", I have a chance to respond to their evaluation request differently than if they said "We have a commercial product but need to add HTML generation to the backend server".  I might steer people to @Midas Formulas or the Midas C++ API, or I might recognize that while they requested CoexLinks, they probably really want CoexEdit.  in some cases, I can make up a specialized sample which can get them going.  The chances of a customer using a product of ours goes up substantially if we have an interchange (excepting CoexLinks, which seems to pretty much sell itself).  Finally, sometimes I just recognize a name from an evaluation request, as a customer who uses a different one of our products or as a person I have interacted with at Lotusphere, or as a long time poster on a forum I read.  In those cases, I like to have a chance to reinforce the relationship.

So, relax, if you have requested an evaluation license and it hasn't arrived two seconds later.  You may find that when you do get a response, it is a lot more valuable than if you had gotten an instant license.

Copyright 2005 Genii Software Ltd.

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