Web demonstration to satisfy the true needs of users
Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) manufactured by JEOL Ltd. are used for a wide range of applications, such as material development and defect analysis of electronic components. Therefore, the users range from novices to expert users. Accordingly, JEOL has started a Web demonstration service for the users, so that users can easily experience the operability and performance of SEM before purchase. Since users can experience a demonstration (demo) while being in the own office via the Internet, the launch of this web demo service has been well-received by the users.
System of handy demo experience for users
SEMs used to be a tool for research purposes, are now utilized by many companies for measurement and inspection purposes.
SEMs can provide morphology observation of the specimen surface from the millimeter to nanometer order and elemental analysis as well. Miniaturization of materials and components advances and use of the SEM has become indispensable in the fabrication site.
For this reason, there is a demand for SEM to be a tool that allows any user to obtain speedy data with an increasingly sophisticated interface and operability.
Yoshiki Yamasaki, who is mainly in charge of SEM in the SI sales promotion department, handled sales at the Tokyo branch and Tsukuba branch before being transferred to the sales promotion department in April 2017. He makes use of this abundant experience to support the sales activity.
“For the sale of a general-purpose SEM, I support business negotiations, public relations, and arrange demonstrations for customers. In the past, demonstrations could only be made at the Akishima headquarters or Osaka branch, which was inconvenient for customers not near these areas. Therefore, Web demonstration using a Web conference system has been introduced since 2017 and I became responsible for it.”
Since SEMs are expensive instruments, it is necessary to confirm what can be done with the SEM, or how the ease of use of the SEM is, in advance. Therefore, even now, there will ultimately be a demo at JEOL. But before that stage, as a way to easily experience a demo of the instrument, we introduced a web demo.
Demo experience shared by the main user, supervisors and management
Yamasaki continues, "In the past, when a customer compared the candidate SEMs from different makers for selection, the only basis for judging were the specifications of the instrument and how clearly the samples could be seen. These days, however, the operability and speed of data acquisition is regarded as important for the equipment selection. It can be difficult for the main user of the instrument to communicate to their supervisors how the work will improve. With web demonstrations, the customer can send a sample that they actually want to observe and analyze, and everyone, including the user, supervisors and management, can easily attend to experience the usability and performance and see the observation and analysis results. This really helps communicate the benefits of buying an SEM."
All that is needed is for JEOL’s sales representative to visit the customer with his tablet type PC. Customers can experience a demo of general purpose SEM through the Internet while being in their company. By sending instructions to the operator about the magnification, angle of view, contrast etc. the customer can observe what they want to see.
In particular, the new general-purpose SEM JSM-IT500, released in March 2017, is a model offering operability and simplicity for any user level. The SEM is equipped with a system that can quickly move to the desired observation point of a sample, even when there are multiple samples set, making it ideal for web demonstrations.
“The IT500, which already had a high closing rate, increased another 4% in the first half of the fiscal year after the introduction of the remote demos. In addition, discount negotiations were reduced as the benefits were communicated more clearly. Web demonstration is a service that allows customers to buy an instrument with confidence. "
A role of Sales is to convey customer opinions back to the company
Currently, Yamasaki mainly instructs sales staff at the Tokyo branch how to use web demonstrations. Utilization of Web demonstration began mainly among younger employees.
Yamasaki is confident about the Web demonstration, saying "Once sales personnel use Web demos and see the pleased customers, they will continue to use the Web demos. First of all, I would like the people who are currently using them to become really adept, and spread the word to those around them."
Web demonstrations are now being used for instruments other than SEM, and use of Web demo is possible just anywhere in the world as long as communication is connected.
"Customers purchase goods not because they want the goods, but because they have something they want to do. The mission of a sales person is to help customers accomplish what they want to do. Sales people do not have the time to convey all the customer feedback to others inside the company. It is my job to support that, and Web demonstrations are very useful as a tool to convey the voice of the customers to the engineers. "
Shift from selling things to selling functions
According to Yamasaki, the secret to know the true needs of a customer is to “just ask the customer to tell him what he/she really wants to do”.
“However, as it would be easier when you imagine by yourself, it is difficult for customers to tell us what he/she really wants to do in a simple way. Likewise, it is not easy for us to fully understand what he/she exactly wants. Therefore, we need to ask questions many times. To clarify ambiguous points, so as to give correct information to our engineer in the office, I ask the customer questions 5 times at least for one unclear point. Then, finally I began to understand what the customer wants.” “For this purpose, sales persons need to understand the workflow of customers.”
Yamasaki says, “In sales activity of general purpose SEMs, we need to support the novices on how to use and also demonstrate how the general purpose SEM can improve the customer’s business. Our job has to shift from selling things to selling functions.”
As a goal for the next few years, Yamasaki says, "We would like to create a corporate culture that makes it more natural to conduct proposal-based sales and product planning from the customer perspective.” On the other hand, he hesitates to use words like "differentiation" and "solution" lightly.
"Our customers have something they want to do, not just differentiate themselves. It is important to think simply and make proposals that you feel good about. Also, the word ‘solution’ tends to end up meaning just a method or technique. The important thing is whether the customer can realize any benefit. The job of the sales staff is not presenting the specifications of the instrument; the real role is to show quantitatively the effects (benefit) of a solution."
In the future, Yamasaki says, he would like to become a product manager responsible for everything from product and service planning to commercial distribution. That is exactly the direction that JEOL Ltd. aims for.