In this post, we will outline what is needed to successfully deliver a demo that converts the customer into a win for you.
“Sales professionals have an arsenal of sales tools at their disposal, but one of the most powerful sales tools is the sales demonstration. Delivering an impactful sales demonstration is not as easy as it may seem. It certainly takes practice and refinement” – Salesforce
The following suggestions will help both seasoned SaaS sales professionals and newbies alike, to improve their demoing skills and win the sale.
Should a prospect sign up for a trial or request a demo from your website, it’s important to be hot on their heels. We suggest integrating your website with Salesforce (Or whatever CRM you use) so that you’re notified when a customer signs up for a trial or a demo, etc.
Respond to them within a few minutes if possible. The sooner the better, as their interest in your service will still be fresh in their mind and they are more likely to agree to partake in demo with you.
Offer the customer an incentive for doing a demo. Normally, trial versions of a product include limited features, searches, or downloads. Offer them a generous reward for partaking in the demo; they will learn more about your product or services, whilst also receiving a benefit such as extra credits, extended trial period, etc.
Dedicate some time before the demo to learn as much about the prospect and their company before you get started. Social channels and the company website should provide all the resources you need. For example, Twitter will display current events within your prospect’s company which can provide talking points during the demo, should there be dead air.
If the prospect has been testing out your product before the demo, make sure to look at their activity. For example, at SalesOptimize, our tool is a lead generation search engine. I always look at the searches they have run to see how well they understand how to use the system. Another tip would be to use software such as Mouse Flow. This allows you to see the user’s curser navigating around your platform. This can provide valuable insights into the user’s pain points and where they might be going right or wrong.
If you’re using screen sharing software like Go to Meeting or WebEx, make sure that the appointments are booked correctly, you know how to use the tools, and communicate how to use the tools to your prospect before the demo begins.
I don’t know how many times I have invited a prospect to a demo, only to find that they can’t connect due to firewall issues, etc. I also had some bad experiences with join.me doing a system upgrade during a demo. I recommend having an account with two conference call vendors, such as Join.me, Cisco WebEx, Solgari, Goto Meeting, etc.
Send a reminder to the prospect 10 minutes in advance of the call. If it looks like they’re a ‘no show’, ring their number directly. They may have forgotten they had a demo booked with you.
Great, the demo is happening. Now what?
You need to be confident in your product knowledge. Know what you are demonstrating inside out. A good idea is to form a close relationship with your technology or product development team. This way, you can stay informed of recent changes to your product and keep on top of the changes that are coming. It’s also worthwhile to note frequently asked questions, and have your answers ready. If you are thrown a curve ball question which leaves you without answers, don’t panic. Just be honest and say that you don’t know, but make sure to take note of it and follow up with the answer post demo.
Understand your competitors. You should have a good idea of what makes your product/service stand out over your competition. Note a couple of key features or benefits that separate you from the rest. Chances are, if your prospect is prepared to buy, they have done their research and are not blindly choosing a solution to their problem. So be prepared to answer questions on the key differences between you and your rival. It’s is also a good idea to know your competitor’s price plans. This will help you to defend any objections to pricing. If or when your competitor is mentioned by your prospect, be sure not to talk negatively about them. This will just make you look petty, instead say: “they do a great job but we can offer XYZ which they cannot.”
For those who truly love what they sell, it can be very tempting to make the demo all about the product. The demo is really an opportunity to assess how your tool fits the prospects needs. Ask questions throughout the demo to get a complete picture of the person and their company’s requirements. You may already know the answers to some of them, but the fact you asked does show that you care. Questions will vary based on the product or service you sell, but ultimately, they should be asked to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the prospect. Sometimes, it may be evident early on that the prospect is a bad fit for your product. In these circumstances, there is no shame ending the demo early to save both parties some time.
Obviously, you are going to be talking about features…it is a demo after all! However, it’s also important not to get too carried away with all the awesome things your product can do. Instead, try to emphasise how these features will make life better for your customer. In my case, our tool allows users to identify thousands of highly qualified online merchants in the click of a button. In this case, I focus on the pain point that the prospect is having today: traditional lead generation methods are time consuming and frustrating, so I focus on how our tool can help prospects to avoid this. So, think about your tools, features and their corresponding value propositions, and how that might fit in with your prospect’s needs.
This will depend on how complex your product is. In our case, the sales lead generation platform is very clean and straight forward to use, therefore educating the prospect is simple. Make sure to take your time and ask the prospect if they have any questions. If there are any nuanced aspects of your product, be sure to demonstrate them too. And be careful; it may seem like your prospect knows how the product works, but I have found that monitoring their activity when they try out the tool post demo, indicates mistakes they are making that could shake their confidence. Be sure to follow up over phone and email and help correct any errors they may be making.
A sign of a demo going well is when the prospect asks about pricing. Jump straight to the pricing section of your website or product. Discuss the value for money, wait, and listen to the questions. Let the prospect have time to think, don’t over sell the benefits.
Where a prospect challenges your product, price, or service, listen and be honest in your feedback. Offer solution selling, i.e. if your product is not the solution today, capture the reasons why. Is your product or service missing key features or data? If yes, don’t oversell but pass the feedback on to the technology team or your sales manager. Meanwhile, assess whether the prospect can find value in the service today, with the hope that the ‘bells and whistles’ will come.
Be sure to schedule the next steps when the demo is complete. This can be setting the prospect up on a free trial, scheduling a call back or, if you’re lucky, talk commercials and get the sale right there. This varies from sale to sale, but make sure you don’t forget this step. It can take multiple demos before you close a sale.
Finally, don’t forget to update your CRM with details of how the demo went, next steps, close date, price plan etc.
So, to conclude, demoing is a crucial step in closing a sale in the B2B SaaS space. Customers rarely come in guns blazing and sign up straight away for a SaaS platforms. They need to see to believe and they need to be convinced and reassured that you have what they need. The nice thing is you can usually have a relaxed business conversation and get to chat to people on a human level and hopefully solve a problem for them. If everything meets their expectations and you implement strong follow up and negotiation skills, then the sale will surely follow a strong demo performance.