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How you do it

  • There are two good reasons to do a product demo even if it seems unnecessary at first(like the client did a trial or the software isn’t that complicated). The first reason is that the product demo is a great way to get other members of the buying committee involved. Usually having your prospect serve as your advocate and invite her team by saying “we have a vendor demo at 12, all users should join” will flush out interested parties who haven’t attended your discovery call.  The second reason is that it gives you a chance to show which pain points your product features are alleviating.

  • Start first by writing a storyboard or outline of which pain points want to address (again these are the pain points you heard about in the discovery call so you might want to customize this.

  • After you have paired which features go with which pain points, make a list of questions for your prospect that will make the demo more conversational while you show off your product.  An example would be showing the admin panel and how easy it is to provision additional seats of your software for users.  Then ask how many seats they have with the current solution and how many will be moving over should they select your product.  This, of course, works best if the associated pain point is how hard it is to provision new users with the competing product.


Common Mistakes Founders Make

  • One of the reasons to write out a storyboard of your demo is to anticipate what questions you want to ask and answer.  However, most founders who are new to this process forget that there should be a call-to-action incorporated into this demo.  In the example of user provisioning, you might be asking the client to get you a list of the users who need to be added, this sounds like you are doing a favor, but it also gives you insight to how far along the buying process the customer is.

  • In addition to anticipating the action needed from the client, every demo ends with a clear next steps.  This can be done by having an additional demo call with a superior or kicking off a proof-of-concept.  Founders often forget to ask the prospect what other information they need in order to make a decision.

  • Practice your demo so it tells a smooth story and aligns with pain points.  Show it to someone who doesn’t know your product and see if they can follow along.  Show it to someone who does know your product and have them judge you harshly on your demo.  Give others permission to give you clear, honest feedback.

  • Close your demo knowing the next steps you and your prospect need to take to get closer to a sale.  Lastly, know who in their company is involved in evaluating vendors. At the end of the day, that person is writing you a check.


The more complicated your solution is, the more complicated your demo will be.  For example, think about what a demo would look like if you were selling a big data analytics tool.  The more complicated your tool is the more likely you’ll want to provision an account and import data for the customer  visualize how this software will work for them and  ensure technical compatibility.  Sometimes this demo is not led by the sales rep but is led by the sales engineer or another member of their technical staff.  In this case,(looping in the CTO) make sure the right technical buyers are on the call so your CTO doesn’t get too technical for someone on the business side of the client.

A demo selling to an SMB client can be tricky.  Depending on the price point of the contract, it might not be worth involving a member of the technical team or setting up a custom demo.  In this case, you’ll want to have a re-usable demo, perhaps for a fake company.  Take an example from the SMB plan of your favorite design tool.  The demo is probably already online, but if you were to talk to sales, they would qualify you and then show you a few features, make sure you’re seeing the features that tie to your pain point, then release you to the contracting or deal closing step (perhaps driving you to a self-service bill pay system).  In the early days at AdRoll, all client demos happened in an empty client account.  The reps would talk the client through the features they were looking at when logged in and then wrap the call up showing which tab their credit card goes into to “launch” the advertising campaign.



Related Keywords

Software Demos, Product Demo

Related Links

Your Product Demo via First Round Review 

Five Rules for a Great Product Demo from Inc Magazine

14 Tips for your demo from our friends at Propeller CRM:  

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