How an innovative virtual showroom helps Keysight shorten sales cycles while saving time and money

Global electronics manufacturer Keysight builds products to test and measure various types of hardware and software, from oscilloscopes to network analyzers. Keysight provides design, emulation, and test services for industries including aerospace, telecommunications, defense and healthcare. It is ranked in Forbes' list of Top 5 America's Best Midsize Companies.

The challenge

A cumbersome product demo process hindered Keysight's sales potential.
A global leader in cybersecurity and network visibility, Keysight builds specialized, complex products for telecommunications and other companies. Because these require considerable capital investment, customers want to be certain the product meets their needs before they buy. So, high-quality product demonstrations are vital for closing sales.
As well as direct sales, Keysight's products are sold via distributors and resellers — its channel partners. To deliver effective, sales-boosting demonstrations, channel partners need to be familiar with Keysight's products and able to talk confidently about them - which is easier if they can first test out the products themselves.
Yet Keysight faced several challenges in providing physical product demonstrations:
  • Single showroom - Keysight's only physical demo showroom in Bucharest isn't feasible for customers worldwide to visit.
  • Lengthy, laborious lending process - lending out hardware to a distributor for demo purposes takes weeks or even months. Sending, building, configuring, dismantling, and returning products requires hours of tedious manual labor and lots of red tape.
  • Product cost precludes buying demo models - with Keysight's products ranging from $250,000 - $2m each, it doesn't make financial sense for distributors to invest in multiple products purely for demo purposes, with no guaranteed return on investment.
To overcome these challenges, John Adams, Keysight's Program Manager of Channel Enablement, began exploring the possibility of creating an interactive virtual showroom. His vision was a secure online environment which provides a true-to-life simulation of using Keysight's products, but which required minimal manual administration.

The solution

Zato's flexible automation capabilities and expertise help bring Keysight's virtual showroom to life.

Keysight engaged automation specialists Zato Source to help develop a bespoke, innovative virtual showroom. It is built using Zato's flexible, powerful, open source integration platform.
"I had thought about writing my own code and figuring it out, but the advantage of Zato's platform is not having to. Zato is very useful and very flexible - the perfect tool to build out the virtual showroom administration automation. Some things I knew I could solve, and other things I knew the Zato Source team could do much faster."
Zato Source helped Keysight build secure connections between the showroom and various applications, including Microsoft 365. They automated the processes of making and managing demo bookings, focusing on a convenient, user-friendly experience.
Customers and channel partners use an online booking form to reserve a timed slot in the virtual showroom. This triggers the following automated processes:
  • Creating a calendar event for the person booking and for the showroom itself
  • Building user credentials for the specified product, for the person who booked to use during the demo
During the customer's booked slot, they have exclusive access to an interactive simulation of their chosen Keysight product. The product user interface looks and behaves the way it does in real life - giving a first-hand taster of using the product. Customers can freely explore and test out products to their own specifications, either alone or with a Keysight sales engineer to talk them through it.
"Online demonstrations are often very guided and biased. The best thing about our virtual showroom is that it's a sandbox environment, so people can be creative and try out everything they want to do."

The outcome

Increased productivity, projected 20x ROI in cost savings, and an extra-speedy sales cycle.

The virtual showroom has revolutionized Keysight's product demo process. Benefits include improved operational efficiencies and staff productivity, and the potential to triple or quadruple demo slots available worldwide without increasing headcount.
The virtual showroom has improved productivity for Keysight's sales teams, by eliminating the time-consuming manual work of organizing and managing demos. Automating processes has freed up valuable time and headspace to focus on higher-value tasks that drive business growth.
"I wouldn't be able to be creative without Zato because all that manual organizing takes up space in your mind. If you're stressed out and thinking about organizing 3,000 different things and people, that stops your being creative. Automation helps resolve this. It saves an enormous amount of time."
Growing demand for the virtual showroom means Keysight are planning to build two or three more, for different global regions. Doing this without increasing headcount or management responsibilities is only viable thanks to the operating efficiencies provided by the automation.
"Without this automation, we'd have to hire two or three staff members to manage this globally — and managing them would be more difficult and stressful. Because we don't have to hire them, we're looking at probably a 20x return on investment in the first 3-4 years in costs saved. It will also save our distributors and resellers a ton of money."
John has ambitious plans to build more products and automations using Zato, to further improve operational efficiencies and support business growth. Keysight has already created a virtual product certification program using the virtual showroom, and used Zato to overcome a previously unresolvable CRM integration problem.
"What we've built with Zato is completely reusable in a lot of different ways. We can build a telecommunications pipeline automation using an open-source, Python-based platform. Today an interactive showroom, next month could be a support process, and a test call for a CI/CD pipeline in two months. We have so many plans."

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"For me, Zato Source is the only technology partner to help with operational improvements."

— John Adams
Program Manager of Channel Enablement at Keysight

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