Here’s a real-life example of something I talk about all the time — the need to not just tell a story, but to give simple and persuasive reasons why it is true. David Raab is a huge fan of QlikTech’s QlikView, as both a reseller and blogger. Precisely because he is such a great advocate, he is frustrated by the company’s lack of technical specificity and disclosure. To wit (emphasis mine):
QlikTech … has … adopted “seeing is believing” as their strategy: rather than try to convince people how good they are, they show them with Webinars, pre-built demonstrations, detailed tutorials, documentation, and, most important, a fully-functional trial version. What they barely do is discuss the technology itself.
This is an effective strategy with early adopters, who like to get their hands dirty and are seeking a “game changing” improvement in capabilities. But while it creates evangelists, it doesn’t give them anything beyond than own personal experience to testify to the product’s value. So most QlikTech users find themselves making exactly the sort of generic claims about speed and ease of use that are so easily discounted by those unfamiliar with the product. If the individual making the claims has personal credibility, or better still independent decision-making authority, this is good enough to sell the product. But if QlikTech is competing against other solutions that are better known and perhaps more compatible with existing staff skills, a single enthusiastic advocate may not win out—even though they happen to be backed by the truth.
What they need is a story: a convincing explanation of WHY QlikTech is better. Maybe this is only important for certain types of decision-makers—call them skeptics or analytical or rationalists or whatever. But this is a pretty common sort of person in IT departments. Some of them are almost physically uncomfortable with the raving enthusiasm that QlikView can produce.
And in what was basically a highly favorable write-up of QlikTech/QlikView, I grew so frustrated as to finally say in the comment thread:
Thank you for admitting that clearly!!! It wastes a fair amount of analysts’ time when your company pretends otherwise.
Obviously, QlikTech is doing fine to date. Even so, this secrecy — which verges on deception — is hurting them, and is apt to do so at an increasing rate unless they get over it soon.