A step-by-step process for giving an effective sales demo
Buyer engagement is essential for a successful sale. When buyers aren’t engaged, they move at a snail's pace through the sales process or worse—drop out altogether. So how do you keep your buyers engaged? One of the most effective ways is through online demos.
According to a research report by BtoB Intelligence Center, B2B marketers believe product demos are the number 1 method for lead marketing, and the value of the demo does not stop there. Sales reps can use demos to learn more about their buyers, gaining greater influence on how buyers perceive the products or solutions, and buyers get valuable information and a firsthand view of your company’s capabilities.
So how do you start implementing effective demos (or improving the demos you’re already doing)? It boils down to a three step process: Prepare, Execute, Follow Up.
There is no such thing as over planning for a demo. You cannot plan enough, which is why this step will take far more of your time than the other two steps. Your planning will pay off in the end when you deliver a smooth, seamless and personalized demo to your buyer.
Here are the steps you should follow to make sure you are fully prepared for your demo:
- Research your buyer. Use LinkedIn, the company website, Twitter and other helpful tools such as InsideView to find out information about your buyer and why they’re contacting you. What is your buyer’s role in their company? What does the company do? Use all of this information to create a buyer persona.
- Hold initial conversation. This first communication will be used to identify your prospect’s objective. What are they looking to get out of the demo? Who will be attending? Take this opportunity to find out the buyer’s most important needs. Once you have that data, you can use it to set your own objectives for what your company is hoping to achieve in this situation.
- Map it out. Take each of your buyer’s pain points and connect them to your solution. This type of map is easy to make in Excel or Word, then you can use the template to assess whether or not the opportunity is good before you invest too much into it.
- Formalize an agenda. Successful demos are never “on-the-fly.” Plan out each topic you want to address. This will give you a clearer picture of everything you need during each part of the demo.
- Rehearse everything. You’re not going to be able to fix issues with demo transitions, technology, presentation materials or other common problems unless you know that they exist. Don’t wait to figure out there’s a problem until it’s too late to fix.
- Confirm with buyer. The day before the demo, send an email or phone call to your buyer to confirm the demo time and agenda. This gives you time to prepare for any wrenches your buyer might throw into the mix, like new topics they want covered or additional people that will be participating in the demo.
- Be early. If your buyer is waiting on the conference call at the requested start time and you’re not there yet, kiss the deal goodbye. You should be ready to go 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Use these last few moments to do a mental walkthrough, reminding yourself of the steps you will take and the outcomes you’re hoping to achieve.
Once you start the demo, there are things to keep in mind about how you present the information.
- Absolutely no monologue. Your goal is to encourage dialogue. Get your buyers talking as soon as you can so that you set the tone for the demo. If you just talk and talk and never encourage your buyers to chime in, they will stay silent. To start a dialogue, try to ask insightful questions directly to your buyers. After all, this demo should be about them, not you.
- Frame every scenario. While speaking about demo actions, they should be framed around you (e.g. I’m going to click on X link to bring up Y window), but every scenario should be framed around your buyer (e.g. your clients can follow X process to improve Y pain point).
- Be respectful of time. Your buyers are just as busy as you are. Don’t leave them with a bad taste in their mouths by making them late for other appointments or taking up more of their time than they originally anticipated. If you didn’t cover everything in the allotted time, that’s one more opportunity to follow up with them later. Consider a 10-minute “warning” that serves as a way to wrap up the demo: “We’re going to run out of time in about 10 minutes, so I’ll show you this one other thing and then we can go over any final questions you might have.”
Your buyer interaction should never get stagnate, and the moments directly after a demo are prime time to keep your buyer engaged.
- Conduct an after action review. Immediately after the demo, figure out what you did well, what you did poorly, how you thought the buyer reacted and what follow up actions you should take to keep the buyer engaged.
- Be quick. Send your buyer a follow up email within one hour of the demo’s completion.
- Make it about them. Your follow up email should be centered on how your solution can help your prospect, not about how great your product is. This communication is all about your buyer’s needs.
In short, think of your demo as a first date. If you arrive late, won’t stop talking about how great you are, appear to be sloppy and ill prepared and have little interest in the other person, do you really think that person is going to want to go for a second date? Nobody is going to want to continue a relationship with someone like that. They’ll move on to better options.
Follow these steps, and your demos will serve as a starting point for successful business deals.