What is Demo Automation?

Why Demo Automation Software is Crucial for Every Sales Process
What is Demo Automation

[Updated on July 27, 2023]

Think back to the last time you bought software. You diligently researched vendors on your own, isolated a few likely candidates, and now you are ready to see and experience the product first hand. So you clicked the “Book a Demo” button that appears on every vendor’s website. 

Did you get a demo? No! You got a form followed by call after call intended to qualify and vet your worthiness for that elusive demo they made seem so easy to get.

What is Demo Automation

Demo automation is the use of specialized interactive demo application software to supply personalized product demonstrations to buyers on-demand in order to improve the buying experience, qualify live interactions, equip champions, and feed rich intent data back to sales and presales teams. In so doing, sales/presales teams shorten sales cycles, drive clean pipe, and boost win rates.

What makes demo automation so great?

  • It automates and reduces the number of demos you have to deliver
    Allowing customers to self-select when they watch a demo reduces the amount of live demos that are delivered and the ability to share demos avoids repeat demos due to stakeholders not being present. Firms who use automation report a lower number of demos required to close/win a deal regardless of the size of the buying group.
  • It shortens the sales cycle
    Using automated demos as part of the sales process can shorten the cycle time by as much as 78% by educating and qualifying buyers so they’re ready to move towards a deal fast.
  • It allows you to scale presales and eliminate bottlenecks
    Having a resource library of automated demos allows customers access to SE expertise without waiting for an opening in their schedule. On average, ICs that use automation report 17% higher AE:SE ratios
  • It allows your presales team to focus on the tasks that have the biggest impact
    70% of all IC teams ranked ‘removing repetition’ in top 3 improvements that would create a positive impact on their work life. Removing repetitive tasks allows SEs to focus on the activities that actually move the needle, such as discovery, architecting solutions, and improving product knowledge.
  • It reduces the amount of unqualified demos
    On average, 30% of demos delivered are unqualified. This not only means presales is wasting time on those demos, but they’re potentially making qualified customers wait longer for demos. Using demo automation allows you to qualify customers before they receive a live demo with something we call a Demo Qualified Lead (DQL).
  • It gives customers control of their journey
    Providing a self service option with demos makes it easier for customers to self-educate and to promote the solution internally so they can build consensus and accelerate the journey to decision.
  • Equips the internal champion with a personalized way to sell internally.
    The champion at the target organization does most of the internal selling to other stakeholders. Demo Automation equips them to provide a personalized way to educate other stakeholders on the benefits and features of the solution.
  • Equips the internal champion to track internal engagement.
    Demo Automation allows the champion to track internal engagement with the automated demo as they share it with other stakeholders in the buying group. This helps them understand where they need to follow up and what is driving interest for each stakeholder.

Demo Automation Is:

  • Dynamically personalized to each user so they get the demo that’s uniquely relevant to them
  • Relevant, technical, and tailored to different stages of the buyer journey
  • Available on-demand to fit customers’ schedules rather than sellers
  • Intra-viral ready, discovering and reaching other stakeholders organically 
  • Scalable, freeing up Presales time to work on high impact activities
  • Data-rich, providing discovery information and individual interests on a per-user basis

Demo Automation Is Not:

  • A video of your demo
  • Sharing a link to a PowerPoint presentation 
  • A sandbox where prospects learn your solution on their own
  • A deal room or content library
  • An attempt to replace the salesperson or sales engineer

2 Approaches to Demo Automation

Feature Product
Product+Video Combo
Qualify prospects for live demo resources
Ability to "try" product before purchasing
Click-through analytics that display demo
Reveals hidden stakeholders in
the buying group
Reveals stakeholder priorities
Satisfies stakeholder priorities
Satisfies the demo needs of the entire buying
Mimics presales experience through guided
techinical instructions
Replaces repetitive demos (vision, micro,
qualifying, closing and FAQ)
Demos adjust based on viewer priorities
Guided and personalized based on
automated dicsovery
Integrates with email clients (Gmail, Outlook)
Equips the internal champion to track
internal engagement
Augments the live demo

Table A: Feature Comparison

Feature Comparison Table A

Use an interactive demo application to “sell in the gaps,” engaging your buyer between live interactions. Learn more with our Seven Strategies to Scale Presales.

There are 6 Demo Types that buyers most commonly want. Of these, five are prime candidates for automation.

Source for the Typical Buying Process from Kevin F. Davis, The Sales Managers Guide to Greatness

Aligning Automated Demos to Stakeholder Personas

Not every stakeholder needs or wants to be involved in every stage of the buying process nor do they have the same buying behaviors. Even when they attend a demo, they probably only pay attention to the one or two sections that are relevant to their responsibilities. Serve each stakeholder topics and interactions personalized to them to elevate the buyer experience, maximize engagement, and accelerate the decision process. 

Buying Group Persona Concerns Product
End User
Ease of use, personal productivity
impact, integrations, adoption, best
Team Leader
Force multipliers, productivity impacts
adoption, implementation, best
practices, ROI
IT Leader
Data security, integrations, compliance
Enablement Leader
Ease of use, integrations, adoption,
implementation, best practices
Finance Leader
ROI, payback period
OPs Leader
Tech stack integration, productivity
best practices
Supply Chain/
Term negotiation, ROI
C Suite
Productivity impacts, ROI

Table B: Buying Group Concerns

A table demonstrating various types of cleaning services.

Source for the Typical Buying Process from Kevin F. Davis, The Sales Managers Guide to Greatness

The Data on Demo Automation 

    • Research indicates that repetitive intro demos take up far more time than their impact merits.
      Intro demos are one of the most time consuming activities for presales teams, yet represent low impact on success rates. However, intro demos are a necessary step from a buyer perspective. Skip the repetition, the calendar, and the wasted demos with automation.


Automation of top performance metrics by time of day.
    • Automation helps shave off the number of demos to close/win.
      Firms who use automation report a lower number of demos required to close/win a deal regardless of the size of the buying group. This suggests that demo automation is likely
      satisfying the demand for live Intro Demos and thereby reducing the total number of demos needed to close.
    • Automation frees up ICs to focus on more customized in-depth demos.
      Firms who use automation report higher work-hours per demo than those who do not use automation. This is likely because automation handles the repetitive intro demos for ICs so they can spend more time on higher impact activities.
    • Firms who automate a portion of the demo process report less burnout.
    • Automation allows SEs to offload the repetitive low impact activities and instead spend their time focused on skilled high impact work. 70% of all SE teams ranked “Removing Repetition” in the top 3 improvements that would create a positive impact on their work life. SEs reporting High levels of Burnout are 24% less likely to automate.
    • Automation helps shift IC time to higher-impact activities. 
    • Automation lowers the degree of misallocation, between how Leaders and ICs actually spend their time and how they feel their time should be spent, which is associated with burnout. Automation has an even larger impact, proportionally, when we specifically look at the misallocation of time involving intro demos.
    • Demo automation helps support higher AE:SE Ratios.
      On average, ICs that use automation report 17% higher AE:SE ratios.
    • Better qualified demos correlates to less burnout.
      More unqualified demos is highly correlated to burnout. Use automation to qualify live interactions and improve satisfaction for both customers and presales teams.

Pro tip: Once you’ve automated intro demos, move on to automating RFPs.

Demo Automation and Buyer Enablement

Demo automation doesn’t just streamline the presales process, it gives you the chance to create a buyer focused approach to selling. We refer to this approach as buyer enablement, and it’s the practice of making the buying process as easy as possible. Buyers are often inexperienced when it comes to purchasing software, and often feel like they have a lot on the line if the process doesn’t go well. To improve the process for all parties, sellers should use their expertise to guide customers as they research and evaluate vendors. There’s so much more to buyer enablement than simply automating demos, but it’s an easy step in the right direction.

"In the selling world we live in today, more and more buyers are navigating their own journeys and will spend about 80% of the time researching without seller involvement. To compete, every company needs to ensure they are creating the best experience every time across the full buyer’s journey.  Companies need to enable the buyer by offering self-service options and their sellers need to be the guide along the buyer’s journey to create a great experience.  As Garin mentions, Buyer enablement leverages demo automation to create a great experience when sellers are not with their buyers."
A man with a beard smiling in front of a tree, demonstrating automation.
Brian Cotter 
Designer SVP Sales Engineering & Value Consulting at Seismic