Account Executive

November 29, 2022

How to Customize Sales Demos

People want custom sales demos. Here’s how to give ‘em.

Chris Orlob sales demos advice

Like Chris Orlob’s poll suggests. So let’s kick things off with a hot take:

Sellers have stiff competition when it comes to buyers’ attention.

According to Gaetano Nino DiNardi, There are 5 mins of real value in most 30 min demos.

Gaetano DiNardi sales demos advice

But we’re going to help you nail those 5 minutes…every time.

What is a sales demo?

A sales demo is a meeting with a prospect to explore your solution & how it solves a problem or creates an opportunity.

Key phrase: their problem.

An effective sales demo illustrates how you sufficiently solve their problem.

We want to highlight that in every aspect.

Meaning, strip away the crap that doesn’t contribute to solving their problem.

Product tour vs Prospect experience

Product Tour

When you walk someone through a bunch of features.

Typically you’ll see this done on webinars or onboarding.

They are not specific to something, but more general.

‘Here is the platform and what it can do.’ i.e. “This button, you can update the CRM”.

Maybe a very small percentage of your buyers would buy in a product tour, but the majority will walk away unimpressed, and go purchase your competitor.

Prospect Experience

When you walk through specific features. Tying back to the prospect’s problem.

Ex. “When you update a Salesforce opportunity, we auto-send service agreements so you can get the ball rolling on procurement. Shortening your sales cycle by 3 months”.

If your prospect deals with procurement often, they are far more likely to go with option 2, because it’s specific to a problem and impact they face.

Outbound vs. Inbound demos

When you outbound (cold outreach), prospects know there’s a discovery meeting coming.

Or you can at least set the stage so that it’s clear.

When a lead comes inbound, they almost always hit your “Book A Demo” website button.

Then fill out some info and have the expectation of seeing the product in the first meeting.

But as the mantra goes, “No discovery, no demo”, in sales.

Most of the time it’s true. But we need to be flexible with our approach & bend process.

The first 5-minutes of any demo will set the stage for every meeting after.

Saying things like:

  • “I’m glad you have interest in what we’re doing, is there something specific that caught your eye on the site?”
  • “Hey Prospect, really appreciate the time. We’ve got roughly 25-min to better understand each other, and if at the end it’s green lights, we can book a more targeted demo. Cool?”

If you provide direction of where the conversation should go, leaning in will be a lot easier.

Keep in mind, they’re here for a demo, it’s best to have 2-3 questions ready to go if you need to dive in.

Not ideal, but it can be a friction moment. They’re in the drivers seat and keeping them happy vs. sticking to your sales process can help ease the conversation.

The Sales Demo Process

Before the demo

Make sure you’re prepared to speak to problems & map exactly how you solve the X factor.

What does this mean?

Example 1

The prospect has a 15% close rate, and you’ve helped companies close 22%.

You don’t need to show every feature, just the process that closes the 7% gap.

  • Drive their problem (15% close rate) to your solution (22% close rate).

Example 2

The prospect committed to integrations for 6 different deals.

Drive home how your solution can help them build those 6 integrations fast, without losing them on the technical specifics.

  • Drive their problem (6 integrations) to your solution (building integrations fast).

Research is a constant at this stage

On top of pre-discovery, you’re also researching the actual discovery conversation.

Almost every company sees meeting recording as a priority nowadays.

So if you aren’t recording/reviewing your meetings, maybe it’s time to consider it.

Dive into every piece of your discovery meeting & understand prospects at a deeper level.

  • What questions did they ask?
  • What hypothesis can I draw from those questions?
  • Did they keep bringing up something specific?
  • Were there things I wanted to find out, but didn’t?

Research every aspect. Truly understand what they said & (importantly) why they said it.

Keep this information in some type of ‘account’ view in your CRM.

Helping you stay organized as the opportunity grows & other stakeholders are involved.

My personal favorite strategy:

  • Outlining buyers and who needs to be involved.

Sometimes by the time you get to the demo, you’ll have multiple stakeholders.

All bring different priorities and perspectives to the table.

So re-living past convos will be paramount to get everyone on the same page.

During the demo

Show no more than 3 features

Like Hila Segal said, demos are an opportunity to tell a story, not to dump features.

Hila Segal sales demos advice

Gap Selling, by Keenan, talks about limiting what you show to 3 features.

Most prospects will not recall every click you make, so make the most of what you show.

When you limit to 3 key features they need, you’re able to personalize the experience.

This may feel awkward at first. Reps usually feel like they should walk through EVERYTHING.

Fight this urge.

The purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate features that solve their problem. Example:

  • Problem: Prospect wants to know how much they’re paying for subscriptions & cut costs.
  • Solution: You have an app that can track expenses & add/cancel subscriptions.

In the demo, would you:

  • A: Show them the dashboard that tracks expenses & a shortcut to cancel them.
  • B: Show them how to add more subscriptions to their card from another portal.

You can show them both…leads to eyes glazing.

You could show them B only…they’ll pick your competitor.

Or you can show the A only…and close the deal.

Leave the tour of the remaining product feature to your customer success team.

Plug their process into your demo

Insert your prospect's own process into the demo. A simple, yet often missed, concept.

Requires preparation on your part before the demo actually happens.

Like asking for a report of theirs a week before the demo to plug related info.

Or whatever information you need from them to make this seamless.

Use their data, info, problem, process, and plug it into how you solve it.

The more personalized you can make it, the more likely they pick you over a competitor.

Pause for clarifying questions

As Mor Assouline said, Find the objections that come up when you’re not in the room.

Mor Assouline sales demos advice

This is no simple task.

Especially since you’re 25 minutes deep into a demo & need to wrap things up.

So here are some questions to consider asking before the meeting ends:

  • Did this tackle everything you were hoping for? (technical question)
  • Do you see how this could really solve X? (business question)
  • Can you see your team adopting this? (technical question)
  • Is there any reason you think this wouldn’t work? (technical question)
  • If we implemented it today, how long until X goes away? (business question)
  • Would you bucket this as a red, yellow, or green light? (situational question)
  • Where would you list yourself out of 10 on a buying scale? (situational question)

Establish next steps

Stop at least 5 minutes before the end to ensure a proper wrap-up. What does that mean?

  • Ask some of the questions above, and anything else that came up naturally.
  • Most importantly, book another time on the schedule.

Don’t know what the “next step” needs to be, that’s okay?

Say something like:

“Typically at this stage, it’s good to schedule a call 2-3 days from now so we can recap further, and talk more in-depth about what it looks like moving forward.”

Find a blanket statement you can use every time & roll with it.

Continue with something like this:

“Later today I will send you a follow-up email outlining what we discussed today, add some info about that integration you asked about, and of course the onboarding doc so you know what happens if we move forward.”

After the demo

Follow up

Reality: When the demo ends, you’ve shown your cards & no longer driving the agenda.

Scary thought.

Prospects could be chatting back & forth saying, “let’s go with competitor x”.

This is a dangerous stage of the sales cycle.

Once they’ve seen the product, you’re compared to everything else they’ve seen and know.

Meaning your follow-up has to be on the money & adding even more value.

Personally, I’m also against the grain on all of these “TL;DR” posts on LinkedIn.

I hope my competitors keep sending short follow-ups.

Lacking context on their meeting, and the problems they can solve for them.

When you prospect, sure, keep it short and sweet.

But when you’re in the middle deal, over-communicating is better.

Post-meeting follow-up framework

Zeke Lucas @ RentDynamics laid out his repeatable framework on the How I Deal pod:

Follow-up every demo with these three deliverables:
  • As discussed: all the things we talked about. Again, no “TL;DR”!
  • As Promised: everything you promised to track down, info on how something integrates, how something works, & other deliverables.
  • As a Next Step: reiterate exactly what is going to happen next.

I recommend bolding those in your emails as headings too. That’ll keep everything organized.

Also, stop blindly sending the meeting recording.

Try Steve Schmidt’s approach ⬇️ instead:

Steve Schmidt sales demos advice

Oh, if you can’t chop it up into clips, Pickle can help. 😉

Pickle Snapshot Smart Share

Final thoughts

The state of sales demos is in a rough spot.

If you follow #productdemo or #demo on LinkedIn you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Leader after leader describing horrible 30-minute demo experiences.

But where there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity.

You’ve now got all the tools to run a kick-ass demo today.

Helping you close more deals & beat those clowns we call competitors.

Off to the races!

You'll like these emails 🥒

Pickle writes to their friends every few weeks with spicy tips to make their wall-to-wall meetings suck less.
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