How This AE Gets a 68% Win Rate on Enterprise POCs

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April 11, 2024
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I ended my last year as an Account Executive with 136% target attainment despite losing a 500k deal in Q2. But I never would’ve been able to do that had I not offloaded ownership of my POCs to my SE.

This single act of delegating gave me time back. The time I could then spend on building pipeline.

You might think I’m crazy. I know some of my colleagues did! “Viktor, you can’t just step away from the POC. You own the opportunity!”

And yes, that’s true. I’m responsible for making sure we do everything in our power to close the opps in my pipeline. But I’m also the CEO of my territory - and that means I get to define how we win.

In this post, I’ll walk you through exactly how I ran Enterprise POCs with a 68% win rate from demo to closed won.

For a more in-depth guide check out this podcast episode we recorded with Alper, Co-Founder and CRO at Flowla or get a free Mutual Action Plan template.

The common factor in all my lost opps is me

I could easily have failed. Reps lose opps all the time and deals slip from one quarter to the next. I made my fair share of mistakes too and didn’t go easy on myself.

I hated losing so much that I obsessed over finding out why things didn’t go to plan. And then made sure to avoid those mistakes in future opps. At one point I was losing POCs one after the other despite being hands-on. Weeks of work went out the window and it was keeping me from hitting targets.

If I were to hand over control of something as crucial as a POC at that point things would have gotten worse. So we made a playbook.

The problem was my SE didn't have a sales background. This playbook had to be so easy to follow that even someone without sales experience could apply it. The solution was to have my SE ask users two questions at the end of each POC check-in meeting. These were:

  1. What else would you need to see to feel comfortable moving forward with our platform?
  2. Based on what you’ve experienced so far, what could cause this POC to not meet requirements?

Easy yet effective. But as you can probably tell there's more to it. Else you can find yourself looking at an endless list of requirements. There are some prerequisites to take care of before we could ask these questions - and these 5 steps made it work.

Set your POC up for success in 5 steps

  1. Get executive buy-in

The biggest reason why I was losing POCs is not that the product didn't meet requirements. It was having user buyers present the impact to decision-makers. Our users were technical people - and engineers don't always know how to present a business case. But without a clear business case, it's difficult to get the budget approved for 5-6-figure purchases.

So we flipped the process on its head. Instead of evaluating the platform first and then asking for a budget, we got the go-ahead first.

Before jumping on a POC kickoff call we would run a final discovery call with the Economic Buyer. The goal was to present our business case and agree on outcomes/impact, price range, and timeline.

  1. Define what success looks like objectively

Once we had executive buy-in it was time to break down outcomes into objective tasks we could control.

We often faced a situation where users wanted to set up everything during the POC. Exactly how it would work in production. But that's how you end up with 3-month POCs. Plus it's not the goal. The goal is to remove all doubt that you can deliver the impact that you agreed to.

So instead of writing up an endless checklist you want to define what good enough is. A good way to do this is by asking: "What's the minimum we have to do to prove the platform is capable of [use case]?". Then keep track of the progress you're making with each list item.

POCs are for building confidence in your ability to deliver. Onboarding is where the rest of the setup takes place.

  1. Get everyone on the same page

If you've ever had to coordinate a project you know that they rarely go as planned. Especially when you don't agree on who does what by when (and how) upfront.

So after building the POC checklist, you'll want to agree to a Mutual Action Plan. Set priorities for those tasks, assign an owner to each, and make time for them.

We didn't have a digital sales room so we had to make do with a Google Sheet with these columns:

  • task
  • priority (must have, ideally have, or nice to have)
  • owner
  • date
  • progress (to do, in progress, blocked, completed)
  • outcome (meets requirements, partially meets requirements, does not meet requirements)
  • links to enablement materials
  1. Enable the right people at the right time

Always set up a Slack connect channel. My enterprise deals used to have hundreds of back-and-forth emails. Info got lost and people were out of sync, asking the same questions.

Having a single channel where everyone could ask for help and keep track of where things stand played a huge part in our success. But finding proactive ways to support the buyers was a challenge. And you can only ask "how are things going with the POC" so many times before getting ghosted.

Our workaround was looking at platform usage data by user and Google sheet history. Today I couldn't imagine doing enablement without a digital sales room where I get notified of views or lack thereof.

  1. Agree to a meeting schedule

I don't know about you but I've been ghosted more times than I can count after giving access to a trial. I could call, email, DM my contacts, and get crickets. Users would only pop their heads back up when the trial was over and only if they needed an extension.

I had no control over the success of the POC in those cases.

I wanted to avoid this at all costs so part of the POC success plan was agreeing to a meeting schedule. Most of my enterprise POCs lasted 2-4 weeks. This is what the schedule looked like:

  1. POC kickoff (I attended this to make sure the plan was solid)
  2. 2-3 check-ins in the first week to cut down Time to Value (owned by my SE)
  3. Then at least weekly meetings around mid-week (owned by my SE)
  4. A POC recap call after finishing (this is where I rejoined in-person)

In the meantime, I kept an eye on Slack channels and had weekly catch-ups with my SE on all active POCs.

I spent the rest of my time building pipeline and closing deals.


You can earn a larger commission check by offloading the POC to your SE and using the time you gained back on sales. Just make sure you have a solid plan in place.

  • Get executive buy-in early so you don't get shut down after the POC
  • Define what success looks like objectively so the deal doesn't slip
  • Agree on a Mutual Action Plan
  • Don't wait until users get frustrated. Enable them at the right time.
  • Always have a dated next step on the calendar so you don't get ghosted

Do these and your SE can keep the deal on track with two simple questions:

  1. What else would you need to see to feel comfortable moving forward with our platform?
  2. Based on what you’ve experienced so far, what could cause this POC to not meet requirements?

For a more in-depth guide check out this podcast episode we recorded with Alper, Co-Founder and CRO at Flowla or get a free Mutual Action Plan template.


Written by Viktor Hatfaludi, B2B Sales Consultant at Revenue Ramp

Viktor has 10 years of full-cycle experience in tech sales. His latest contribution was helping Bitrise scale from 3M to 20M USD in revenue. For more enterprise sales tips and tricks, follow Viktor on LinkedIn.

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