While you probably have heard of the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you may not be as familiar with the Minimum Viable Demo (MVD). The concepts are similar in that they both follow the belief “less is more”. While MVP is the product management principle that software should only have enough features to satisfy customers, especially early in a company’s lifecycle, MVD is the notion that we should only show prospects the information they need to know about the platform to address their specific needs and goals for the specific buying stage they’re currently in.
Think of it like a map for the Tube of London. Because London is not designed on a grid, it can be difficult for people to navigate public transportation if they aren’t familiar with it. To help those people navigate the Tube, the map strips away any information that isn’t required for commuters to find their way around. In fact, the subway map isn’t proportional when you compare it to a full map of the city. But the map is still effective since it shows passengers only what they need to know.
This same principle applies to demos. Before you start planning demos, especially automated demos, you need to consider what the customer is hoping to achieve with this meeting. Then you determine how to fulfill those objectives the most concise way possible.
Common Mistakes When Preparing Demos
When preparing for demos, we should follow the Goldilocks Principle: not too little, not too much, but just the right amount of information.
Because we know the subject matter so well, it might be tempting to jump into a discussion about the product without much preparation. This might work for some demos, but it can also lead to us aimlessly showing off features without drawing them back to the customer.
It’s also possible to over prepare. Don’t be tempted to cram too much information into the time allotted or show the customer features that are interesting but not applicable to their situation.
Sometimes, it’s not the level of preparedness that’s wrong, but the subject matter. We focus too much on our product, features, or functions and not enough on the customer and the things they’re trying to accomplish.
One way to avoid making these mistakes is by understanding the difference between content and story. The content is the details or features we’re discussing; the story is how we illustrate what ways our solution can help them achieve their goals.
Prospects are busy and won’t tolerate long, irrelevant demos. It’s a balance of giving them just enough information to answer the questions they have at that time without overloading them. The demo isn’t ready when there’s nothing else you can add; the demo is ready when there’s nothing else you can remove without losing the core essence of the message.
Aligning MVDs to the 6 Demo Types
Consensus, literally, wrote the guide on the 6 demo types. Never heard of it? If so, you need to check it out. While every demo has some common elements, Consensus mapped out these types of demos to align with the common questions stakeholders have at different stages in the buyer journey.
The principle of the MVD fits perfectly with that of the 6 demo types since each time you need to carefully include only what information the stakeholders need for each stage.
The Micro Demo – Similar to the Vision Demo, Micro Demos should provide more substantial information about how your solution solves their problem, but still at a high level. If automated, each demo should cover a single topic or feature so customers can select what information is important for them at this stage.
The Qualifying Demo – Provides the prospect the opportunity to qualify us in or out based on the services and features we supply. This is where we draw comparisons to our solution and other products on the market to help guide the customer to the best solution for them.
The Presales Live Technical Demo – This demo is rarely automated, but should be recorded when possible to send to additional stakeholders or those who couldn’t make the live meeting.
The FAQ Demo – Similar to a micro demo, FAQ demos will be a series of demos, but these are designed to answer very specific, commonly asked questions. This demo is different from the others in that it isn’t tied to one single stage but may be used during all stages of the buying cycle.
The Closing Demo – Once the prospect is reasonably convinced that we’re the solution they want, the Closing Demo is used to ensure they can actually implement this and be successful. Often this is the stage where secondary stakeholders such as IT and Compliance become involved.
Key Takeaways for Making MVDs
Not all demos need the same amount of preparation and information. Each demo has completely different objectives depending on where the customer is in the life cycle of the deal, so we need to ensure each demo is presented with the proper depth and context.
As we’re planning for our presentations, we need to consider the following things:
- The customer’s perspective
- The objectives they need to achieve at this moment
- The common mistakes made during preparation
- The approach for this particular meeting
- The demo is only ready when there’s nothing else to takeaway