Is Your Sales Demo Costing You Leads?

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Garin Hess
Your sales demo strategy is something you should reevaluate often. No two prospects are the same and what’s relevant is always changing. The purpose of this blog post is to help you take an inward look at both your sales presentation (whether it’s PowerPoint, SlideShare, demo automation, live presentation, etc.) and your sales presentation skills. Improving your sales strategy can be done in two steps, broken down below:


How much time do you spend researching the prospect and their company before presenting to them? From large scale to small scale details, this step allows you to customize your presentation to their needs – which will insanely increase your chances of making a connection with them. Some questions to answer before presenting:

  • What product do they offer?

  • What is their company’s long-term mission/goal?

  • Why did they seek you out?

  • Why did you seek them out?

  • What is the level of expertise of the prospect you will be talking to?

  • Where in the sales funnel does this presentation belong?

  • What can you offer them that the competition can’t?

This step shifts the presentation from talking at them to talking with them. An excellent way to get information about your prospect’s needs, is through demo automation. It’s an asynchronous technology that simultaneously educates you and the prospect about each other. Before presenting to the prospect, send them a demo video. While they learn about your company (and actively tailor the demo video to the features they care most about), you’ll look at behind-the-scene analytics about which features they listed as most important, how long they watched each section of the video, and who they shared the video with. That way, you both walk into the presentation with a clearer understanding of what you’re both about.

Onto the live presentation

The physical presentation should include a maximum of two slides about your company. These slides should point out who you help, what problems you help them with, and how you do so better than the competition. As Kathy Lee of Precision Thinking writes, “You might hope that your company background will convince clients you understand their issues. The opposite is often true. Until you impress your prospect with your understanding of their issues, they won’t remember your company background details.”


It’s natural to want to share every detail about your product when you’re passionate about it. Unfortunately, your excitement can often be interpreted by the prospect as “they’re more focused on their company than fixing my problems”. If you’re over-informing the prospect with features or facts that are irrelevant to helping them, they will stop listening. Keep things short, simple and engaging. So what does that look like?


As we discussed above, keep your company history brief. According to Geoffrey James, the two most important sentences you need to say in a sales presentation are:

1. Our clients hire us to provide [benefit(s) to the client]

2. They hire us, rather than somebody else, because [something unique that the competition doesn’t have but the customer values]

Answering these two questions will keep the prospect engaged and will help them envision how your solution would fit into their company.


Industries are constantly coming up with new buzz words. Using them in a presentation can be both a blessing and a curse – it really depends on the quality of your prospect research. Knowing the department your prospect is in (a techie or a non-techie?), their level of expertise (a Senior VP or recent grad?), and, using your own judgment, how they have spoken in previous conversations, you can determine whether or not using new industry terms is a good idea. The last thing you want is to lose your prospect because you used terms they’ve never even heard before. Of course, you want to seem up-to-date in your knowledge of the industry. It’s a fine line that really requires your executive decision.


Use stories to highlight examples of how your company succeeds at what it does. Facts and stats have their place in a presentation by providing a sense of legitimacy, but stories are what people remember. Avoid long, drawn-out stories that make your company look like the superhuman hero (remember, you should be making the prospect feel like they’re the hero). Speaking of them as the hero…your whole presentation should have a story-like quality to it. The story begins with your prospect looking to improve doing business with their customers, and the story ends with them doing so by implementing your product. They “saved the day” for their customers by using your product. A win for all parties!

So try reevaluating your sales presentation strategy every so often and see what kinds of changes you find in your leads.