Presales History 2 – The Two Day, Two Hour Demo

The 2 Day 2 Hour Demo

Let’s jump forward a few years to 2016. Buyer Enablement as a concept is still far off and demos are being delivered live and in person no matter how far we had to travel, how long we had to wait to align everyone’s schedules, or how much it cost.

A sales person called Roger, a presales colleague called Faye and myself were part of a team bidding for a large mobile telephone communications contract. We knew our product well, we could present our PowerPoint slides with our eyes closed, and we had our software environment configured ready to show. The only problem was, we all lived in the south of England and the customer’s office was in Manchester, England – at least 4 hours away by train.

Their project manager had asked for a demo. Apparently the team wanted to see what we had to offer and had arranged for an on-site meeting in their head-quarters with 30 people coming to see our presentation at 10am. Coffee would be needed for this one!

The next time we could do the trip was in 2 weeks time. So we all booked our tickets and got on with other things. As did the prospect.

Let’s calculate the cost of this exercise as if it were today using the most up to date, and thus more relevant data.

Our company:

  • 2x £400 cost of a presales person for one day (Median UK ave. £104k annual OTE  from our Sales Engineering Compensation and Workload Report 2023)
  • 2x £400 cost for prep day beforehand and travel time during work hours
  • 1x £576 cost of a sales person for one day (based on £150k OTE)
  • 3x £25 average return train from Home to London
  • 3x £100 Return train ticket from London to Manchester
  • 3x £120 Hotel Manchester city centre
  • 3x £50 Dinner in Manchester
  • 1x £20 Taxi to and from customer site
  • 3x £30 Lunch after meeting

Total: £3171

Our prospect:

  • 30 people total, 15 who travelled in specifically for the meeting
  • 30x £115 1/2 day, time spent in travel + 2 hour meeting
  • 15x Average £60 Return train ticket from nearby to Manchester

Total: £4350

So it cost £3171 to our company, and £4350 to our prospect!

We did the 2 hour presentation, but the prospect had misunderstood what our software did and whilst it was the only time they could get the 30 people in the room, they weren’t ready to kick off this vendor comparison. They ultimately found the exercise fairly pointless. We did not win the deal. This unqualified demo cost more than SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS. The customer got a demo, so that’s good. But what a waste.

We spent a lot of money only to not ring that bell. Something had to change… but why were we so misaligned? We’ll find out in the next instalment of Presales History.

Consensus is Intelligent Demo Automation that scales your presales function.