You get dozens of customers, filling up your sales people’s schedules, ready to ask dozens of questions each…
I know the struggle.
As the Sales Manager of UserGuiding, I have participated in many demos that helped me develop a deeper understanding of the motivations users have about a sales representative; and let me tell you, it’s not at all what you expect.
Actually, I can say in confidence that most companies fail software demos.
Let’s see what a traditional software demo looks like:
Your Everyday Software Sales Demo
In your everyday demo, a sales representative that is usually the master of the product hijacks your initial experience while showing you how you can use the “Homepage” button to go to your “Homepage”.
And that triggers me on so many levels, you just can’t imagine.
Whether it is an enterprise representative that’s trying to highlight benefits and establish a long-term plan or just an early-startup CEO(cue Steve Jobs, 1976), they don’t want your product walkthrough.
What users actually require from you during software demos are:
- Getting more explanation from you about the benefits of the product,
- Relieving their existing concerns about, well, anything with your product,
- or just fixing an issue they are having early in their journey.
So, a software demo should probably exist in the form of a Q&A.
“But Anas how do we teach our users the product if we’re not doing it in the demo?“
There is a trending, ultra-scalable, and superior user education model for onboarding early users, it is commonly known as “Automation” 🙂
Automated Demos – Self-Serve First
Today, there’s no question smart What is SaaS? SaaS is the abbreviation of Software as a Service, and refers to a software licensing model based on user subscription with monthly or annually payments. The model… companies design around a self-serve model with their demos.
Let the users get in there and discover for themselves, in their own ways, what they can do with your product; focusing on the features and benefits most important to them.
Example: Imagine a gaming demo that lets you download the first introductory part of a game, along with the tutorial content that shows players how to use their characters or avatars. Players can dive in, see what the game world feels like, start using their toon, and make an emotional connection. In SaaS, it’s very similar in many ways.
The approach saves time, saves money, and again, can be scaled with ease. As long as you’re letting users communicate with you (along with collecting analytic data), you can continually make your demo better and more effective.
Now, that said, because the subject of self-serve is so massive and far-reaching, I’m only going to give you a quick introduction to UserGuiding,
If you want to read more about Self-Serve, check out an easy breakdown article we put together HERE.
Automate What is user onboarding? User onboarding is the crucial process that starts from the first login of a new user and ends up in their aha moment, and usually beyond…. with UserGuiding, no coding
UserGuiding is a 3rd-party user onboarding software that lets you create:
- interactive product tours,
- in-app messages,
- user onboarding checklists,
- self-help centers and more, without any coding.
It can help you automate the user onboarding to maximize What is retention? Retention refers to a customer continuing to use a business’ product or a service and to pay for the said product or service. It is a key… by displaying your value proposition to your users without the need of in-person calls.
Let’s turn to the in-person, or P2P sales demos which are still VERY much in use.
It’s a bit different for every company though in how they structure their demos, deliver them, and to whom.
In writing, there’s a principle where you put special emphasis on the beginnings and endings of sentences. Why? Well, because they’re the chains that link everything together. Let’s apply that principle to the best practices for before an in-person sales demo, and wrap up with the common mistakes to avoid.
Being Prudent – 5 Steps To Take Before Any In-Person Demo
Again, it’s tough to try and come up with prudent steps that are good to take in a universal sense, since software demos happen in so many ways these days – on the phone, screen share options, online meeting and P2P programs, in person, various blends, etc.
For this article, I’m just going to stick with five steps that translate to revenue.
If you’d like to add to the conversation, by all means, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. We could’ve gone with twenty, but our readers were just asking for some fundamentals.
Let’s jump in with the most basic step of all…
1- Have Everything THEY Might Need Beforehand
While it might seem like your SaaS is the star of the show, during a software demo it isn’t – the prospect is!
They’re the hero.
Only their pain points matter and what brings them to the table in the first place (not features).
Just don’t get stuck in the middle of the demo not knowing where to find an answer.
Or, you forgot this or that, or you’re asking them to hold on 5 minutes so you can mess with your phone/tablet trying to find something or email yourself something. It’s sloppy and completely derails any momentum you may have built with this individual.
2- Prepare To Be Flexible With Your Playbook
Without question, your sales demo needs to have some structure.
Consider the two primary contexts:
- One on one with someone representing a group of people or perhaps an entire company.
- Settings where an individual is demonstrating to a group of people representing either the same company or a number.
In either case, structures are great, but to be effective the presenter needs to think micro.
Don’t pitch to companies.
Don’t pitch to groups.
Don’t try and show a ‘marketing department’ how to accomplish something – always keep it on the micro, individual level because that’s where everything really happens when the dust settles.
3- Design The Demo To Place Emphasis On Pain Points & Solutions
This cannot be stated enough:
If people ask about the small step-by-step details of navigating the system, then by all means give them every detail they’re asking for…within reason.
Even in-person or live demos with groups can have an element of self-serve.
Otherwise, put the emphasis on:
- Clearly identifying and painting a picture of the pain points your SaaS addresses.
- Demonstrating the value of your solution to these pain points.
- In effect, the users are the stars of the show.
4- Practice Your Introduction – Perfect It Over Time
Like any other kind of presentation we know of, how it begins is absolutely critical.
Does it feel like a college course?
Is the presenter fumbling around, or is the tech glitching all over the place while trying to get set up?
“Can you hear me now? Oh boy…”
Instead, you need to begin with some energy and let people know exactly what they can expect. Picture a meeting between different heads of a company, the first thing is always to introduce what the point of the meeting is.
Once you get into the product, your vernacular is going to change, but your introduction can speak the direct language of who you’re talking to.
Don’t be a corporate stooge. Don’t be a robot. And most importantly, don’t be insecure.
This leads to our final point…
5- The Presenter Should Be An Actual Product Wizard
Imagine you’re a remodeling company and you need a new installer.
You put the word out and get 1,000 applications. These days you’re going to stay within the top 5% (50 applications) of your applicants because of the market and industry pressures.
You can’t have a 10-man crew in someone’s bathroom all focusing on their one part of the project.
You need one to three installers in there who can basically do it all!
Whoever is doing the presenting of your SaaS in a P2P setting should be an expert. They should know the product inside and out, backward, forwards, and from top to bottom. Not just this one specific set of functions or features.
If we return to the gaming example, you want people who are top-notch players to demo for potential users:
- They’ve already identified all the main systems and values (self-serve) they need to experience the game in an optimized way.
- They’ve practiced using them and possess the repetitive understanding users need to see what the ‘end game’ is like.
- They’ve learned how to focus pillar systems to extract as much value as possible in real time.
Your SaaS is likely nothing similar to an online gaming system, but you can clearly see the parallels.
No ‘newbs’ should be thrown in front of potential users, nor should your team members from marketing, engineering, project management, etc., unless they have systemic understanding.
When was the last time you saw a bunch of game designers playing the game they designed as part of a demo for potential users?
Hint – never.
And that right there is a great way to transition into our wrap up mistakes to avoid.
Avoid Common Software Sales Demo Mistakes
There are hundreds of mistakes you can do during a demo, and I’ve personally experienced most of them.
But my top 6 are the most horrible, ever.
Have you ever made any of these before?
- Forgetting to make some kind of connection with your audience. whether it’s one person or a small crowd. In an automated sense as well – more often than not you’ll want to take 10-20 seconds and connect. It’s all about how you introduce pain points.
- Creating too much friction. Initially, try to focus on the features prospects are asking about. In a self-serve way, let prospects guide you with their interests, curiosities, desires, and biases.
- Making the demo incredibly dull. Add story whenever you can to help prospects visualize and internalize what you’re showing them.
- Not closing, at all! There have to be SOME sales involved. What’s the point if you’re not doing or saying anything at any point during the software sales demo to close?
- Not making room for Q & A. A good percentage of highly-effective presenters conduct Q & A before and after, and sometimes throughout as well. It’s about engagement. As a rule of thumb, when you feel things are getting dull ask your audience if there are any questions so far? Touch base and ensure they’re seeing the value you’re showing them.
- Not having complimentary onboarding material for afterward. Followup is critical – lead nurturing. Whether you build an entire help center for users or just put together some informational material they can devour afterward, you can’t simply drop off the map once the software demo is finished.
Improving your demos is the most hands-on way of increasing your What is the conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that visit your website or landing page and convert. Converting in this context means that the visitor does….
Whether you’re looking to make perfect sales processes the culture of your company, or just trying to land more clients to get that bonus: there is always room to improve.
Make sure you offer your potential customers all the resources they need; before, during, and after the sales demo.