To demo, or not to demo, that is the sales question

Hazel Butters/ July 5, 2017/ Sales, Technology/ 0 comments


How excited are your prospects to have a demo?

When working on sales mapping with technology businesses, we frequently find a common ‘slow point’ within the sales process: the sales demo.

If you sell a technical product, you need to give the prospect an initial “glimpse under the hood” but you don’t want to make it so self-serving that even getting prospects to agree and engage becomes a sales bottleneck. You certainly don’t want to make the sales demo a kind of endurance test with a dead-eyed prospect blankly nodding as a word-for-word pitch is being recited. This is a waste of an amazing opportunity to engage and excite, and also slows down the sales process when it’s only just left the starting gate.

The ‘bump’ of the sales demo can take several different forms, when prospects either flatly refuse to have a demo; are reluctant to join a demo; attend the demo but are disengaged (and you have the sneaking suspicion they aren’t listening or are otherwise occupied); or they join the demo but don’t share relevant information with other key decision makers or senior decision makers.

So if the demo is a necessary part of the sales process, how can technology vendors make it more compelling to prospects?

Some ways to rethink the sales demo in the sales process:

  • What’s in a name? How can you repackage, rename or reposition the demo to create excitement, relevance, importance and value?
  • Convey the value. The demo must be positioned and used to genuinely add value to the sales process: ‘What’s important for this prospect at this point of the sales process?’
  • Get specific. Detail the timings, format, agenda and objectives for the demo. Can this agenda and the content be used to invite other stakeholders to join the meeting? Engaging with all decision makers early will really transform and shorten the sales process.
  • Be relevant. “Canned” demos have their place but if a salesperson automatically pulls up the same demo every single time – without any thought of relevant, valuable content and the most inspiring content for the prospect and what they need to know at a certain point in time, then there’s a problem.
  • Ask prospects what they need from the demo before the demo. Collect the prospect’s insight and priorities that can then be used in the demo – so it’s not just more helpful and exciting, but the prospect has buy-in and feels involved in the process
  • Map out where the demo is in the process, its purpose and the path of the prospect. Understanding the flow and getting the timing right in your sales process can smooth the prospect’s buying journey and shorten the sale.

The demo is a crucial time to engage and inform your prospect and help them move to the next stage of commitment. For more detail on how to map your own sales process and get it right – drop us a line, or sign up for our five-part intensive sales mapping and auditing program.

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