I was shocked when Covid took hold across the world, but not just because of the threat to global wellbeing. The other massive global change was the Presales industry’s biggest revolution in over 20 years. Not since the invention of Microsoft PowerPoint had selling software needed to adopt new practices at lightning speed.
Some coped. Some didn’t.
Those that adapted, survived.
Thankfully, those practiced in the art of remote meetings rose to the challenge and didn’t look back. Much was made of being able to demo remotely, with top presales trainers boosting people’s confidence with advice on everything from which webcam to pick to webinar best practice (Check out 2PIAP episodes 17 and 18). Much was made too, of being able to scale what you already had to meet the continued growth demands of investors – so the challenge was more than just holding off or staying the same; presales actually had to grow. During a world-wide pandemic.
I knew the software & services world would feel a significant impact, and with remote demos happening at an increased frequency, pressure would rise on presales demand. Within all that, I noticed something new appearing in the way buyers wanted to buy.
Buyer behavior was changing. Amazon, JustEat and other on-demand services grew as the stuck-at-home workforce buyers wanted the same easy B2C experience in their B2B interactions too.
They were far too busy looking after new pets to schedule lengthy meetings (who could resist….).
Each time a lead came in, they didn’t want to schedule a demo in 2 weeks, they wanted the information now. They also didn’t want to cover everything in huge great big meetings, but at specific points they wanted specific things at specific times. Presales had to deliver in new ways.
I knew we had to grow. But we couldn’t!
We were stretched beyond belief with the awesome presales teams demoing every day to a growing list of buyers freed up from commuting and demanding their time not be wasted – change was happening for them too at an alarming rate, so we had to do something.
After presenting at Demofest back at the start of 2020, Consensus had been on my radar for a while. I knew that by scaling the authentic experience and valuable knowledge locked up in the minds of presales folk, we could apply this genuinely helpful approach to all parts of the buyer’s journey. For years we’d only been doing 2, perhaps 3 different types of demo. But Consensus realised after lengthy research, there were actually 6 main demos that could be recorded, scaled, and really make presales champions of the whole buying cycle.
We’d only been doing 2 or 3 types of demo, because quite simply wasn’t time for anything else.
Need, Learn, Buy – all areas that buyers had to move through, so by recording demos to meet each part, presales teams could scale themselves across product, industry vertical and geography without needing to hire headcount. What’s more, having this knowledge recorded meant each presales consultant influenced more of the deal, and could measure impact to new, valuable parts of the business.
Vision demos caught the imagination of buyers; Micro demos provided a fast response to buyers who wanted to see a demo but at a high level still led by value messages. Qualifying demos brought much more detail highlighting key points, but still easy to access.
At Sage, we were inundated with prospects wanting overview demos. So we started with Micro demos, and added to them as the project moved forwards.
Live demos still remained with business processes shown start to finish, but with buyers far better informed and the questions more useful, unqualified live demos could now be massively reduced.
Closing demos helped risk-averse buyers with the worrisome questions and re-enforced key value propositions. FAQ demos used at any stage, helped presales record vital knowledge and have anyone serve it to buyers at a moment’s notice.
So now presales could deliver their authentic power to each part of the buyer’s journey in ways that actually made sense to those buyers.
So I’d like to say a personal Thank you to Consensus, the company I now call home, for creating a perfect solution to my very real, very painful challenge! As Covid continued, change at scale became essential. Consensus stepped up to deliver. The bell started ringing for presales teams across the world.