Prospects don’t want harbor tour demos. They don’t want you to fling every problem-solving feature at the windshield, praying one of them sticks.
Couple this with the relatively short time your sales reps spend in direct contact with buyers – about 5% of the entire buying journey, according to Gartner – and you have a narrow window within which to make an impact on their purchase decision.
Since so much of the conversation happens when you’re not there, you have to find ways to help the buyer sell for you. We call this Buyer Enablement, and while it doesn’t replace the sales teams, it changes the dynamic of how they work and how they run their demos.
Generalized Powerpoint presentations, endless arrays of numbers, graphs, and time-consuming technical walk-throughs won’t cut it if you want to close that deal in the current buyer-led landscape. Brevity generally rules, especially in the beginning, and relevancy around how your solution will help them make progress, how it will integrate into their current workflows and systems, and how you can help them increase their bottom line, on their schedule, is how to win.
Given that demos are such a central theme in buyer journeys – and they remain one of the most important interactions they have with vendors – you can’t afford to trip up when showcasing the product or the vision. There are five main qualities that make for killer sales demos. To get the most bang for your buck:
1. Be Timely
Time-to-Value (TTV) represents the time it takes between introducing your product to the customer and the buyer realizing the value it has for their business. The shorter the TTV, the greater the customer experience. With that in mind, it’s difficult to understand how many companies still have a 3- to 5-day lag time from when the customer first clicks on “Book a Demo” to when they get to see the demo. That means the clock is already ticking before the customer even reaches out.
During that time, the customer has had plenty of precious time to look at your competitors and maybe even get a sales demo from them if they have a more streamlined sales process. In those extra days from first click to sales demo, a customer can lose interest in your product or decide it’s not worth the trouble to upset the current status quo by trying something new.
So as soon as someone presses that “Book a Demo” button, your sales team needs to spring into discovery mode to put together a presentation that addresses their needs and fits the culture and processes of the company.
2. Be Focused
Customers want demos on demand, but only if the content is actually relevant to their problems. If the demo is generic, or worse, irrelevant to their current situation, they’ll pass you over for vendors who understand what THEY are going through.
The content should educate on a specific solution or provide social proof that gives the customers confidence that your solution delivers as promised. You need to show in as little time as possible how you’ll create value for them.
If you map your typical buyer’s journey, you should be able to forecast which stakeholders will be involved for each step and what content they’ll need to move on to the next step. While this may require a certain amount of personalization for each customer, you should keep a repository of content that can be used multiple times.
3. Be Agile
We could also call this Be Prepared For Anything. Change, or rather variation, is the only constant in sales. From the time your client books the sales demo to when you present, a thousand different things can happen. The stakeholders could change, budgets could get cut, or they could simply decide it’s too much of a hassle. It’s why we recommend that everyone, including presales, learns how to handle objections.
Your rep is already armed and ready with extensive product knowledge if they’re asked about product capabilities outside the original meeting scope, but be ready to record in case key members of the buying group can’t make the meeting. Also consider having reliable ROI data ready to present.
Sound like a lot to keep track of? Investing in buyer enablement tools lets automation work for you. Interactive demo software allows users to click through presentations and filter out the information that is or isn’t relevant to them. This keeps your customers from having to wade through information on every niche question. Instead, it will be right there at the buyers’ fingertips if they need it but won’t bog them down if they don’t.
4. Be Engaging
This goes for both the presentation and the presenter. Nobody wants to sit through lengthy slide presentations or listen to sales engineers who can’t discuss their product without consulting a dozen notecards.
When you’re already a subject matter expert for your product, you can spend more time building rapport with the buyer, or buyers, in your sales presentation. A great idea is to practice with someone from your team who can give you feedback on tone, language, facial expressions, and body placement.
Excitement, passion, and appropriate humor can go a long way in keeping your audience in step with your presentation.
Keep control of that cursor or laser pointer. Having that bouncing around during your demo will, at best, distract your listeners and, at worst, give them a headache. Make your slides fun and engaging with memes, quotes, or short video clips.
5. Be Real
A 2020 study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that trying to “cater to the target’s interests and expectations to make a good impression and secure a positive outcome” didn’t work nearly as well in interpersonal first meetings as being authentic.
Translation: People can tell when you’re being fake.
While knowing about your client’s specific needs and background is critical, it’s just as essential not to forget who you are – you are the ambassador of your brand. As such, you should be passionate about what your company does and how that can help the customer. You don’t want your customers feeling like you’re trying to sell them something you wouldn’t invest in yourself.
We keep things real for ourselves and our customers when we don’t try to be all things to all people to make a sale.
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