Tips & best practices for performing an effective software demonstration

In this part of the article, I wanted to share 10 tips I forged during my many consulting assignments with software publishers when we together define their lead nurturing strategy in the decision phase where the demonstration is supposed to intervene:

  1. Bad timing

    The first cause of inefficient software demonstrations is a story of timing. Many software companies offer a demonstration too early in the buyer journey. Being a key performance indicator in marketing dashboards, the demo’s registration or download rate is the primary concern of the marketing and sales teams and the entire marketing strategy is geared towards having as much demonstration as possible. This is a huge mistake: not only are leads not qualified so potentially out of scope, and even if they match one of your buyer personas, they are not at all ready to appreciate your demo. First of all, you must help them in their decision-making process by understanding their problem and by enabling them to clearly define their needs. The demonstration will therefore be oriented according to their challenges and opportunities, which will ensure shorter and more efficient demonstrations and therefore a higher conversion rate.

  2. You talk about your product

    The second common mistake is that to sell your product you are talking about … your product. You must understand that your prospect does not care about your product, what he wants is to solve his problem. Your demonstration should not be perfect to highlight your product, it must be perfect to highlight your ability to solve the problem of your lead.

  3. Put your demonstration back in the context of your lead

    Another error is a contextualization error, particularly present in the case of the downloadable trial version. Downloading software to try it in the professional setting is an extremely engaging act for your prospect. Indeed, do you know if he has the right to install new software on his professional computer? If your software is not secure, can not we blame him for installing a potentially dangerous software for network security? Does he have sufficient skills to install the software on his computer alone, or does he have to apply to the technical service, which mechanically leads to additional delays that he may not have foreseen? Does your demonstration require a phase of parameterization with information that it must gather again requiring to postpone its test? You must test 4-5 times your demonstrations with an unsuspecting public in order to identify any potential brakes on the actual test. This situation is potentially catastrophic for your results because if you measure the number of registration or download but only 20% of these users can actually test your product, you follow overestimated indicators.

  4. You forget that you are experts

    Your demonstration is too expert. In many cases, you try to present the best features of your product and by doing that you are ahead of time with your prospect. You anticipate solutions while he has not yet identified this problem. Do not forget that you are experts in a part of the business of your prospect and your expertise is only up to 15 or 20% of his daily life. So you know better this part of his job and you may not treat his problem correctly because in your eyes it will be “too basic”

  5. You are not ready

    An error that is too common and seems inexcusable to me is the lack of preparation. You have been trading with your lead for several weeks, you have finally managed to convince him to let you introduce your product and the day you are poorly organized. You have not prepared a specific folder for your client with a demonstration scenario in phase with its problems: you can not find the sample data that he had sent you last week, your text is not prepared and you leave so many whites in the conversation making your demonstration boring and laborious, or even worse,

  6. Features VS benefits

    You sell the features of your solutions instead of selling the profits to your prospect. You must understand the business of your lead and present your product by showing how this product will improve his daily life. A good solution is to ask during your first telephone interview, what is the main problem of your prospect and what would be the consequences in his daily life if you helped him solve his problem. Thus, you can orient your argument based on this knowledge.

  7. You want to say too much

    Your demonstration is too long, you want to show too much and finally you lose relevance for your prospect. Prefer webinar or short presentations: 25 minutes maximum to keep your dynamism and enthusiasm (15 minutes of demonstration and 10 minutes of questions and answers). You need to convey your message with strength and conviction because the experience your prospect experiences is far more important than the features of your solution. You know it as well as me, it is not always the best technical solutions that win, on the other hand it is always the best “feeling”.

  8. Absence of onboarding process

    You have not set up an onboarding process. These are the mandatory steps by which your prospect must pass to be convinced. Very important during physical or webinar demonstrations, onboarding becomes essential for a SaaS solution or a freemium business model. Based on studies by Growth Hacking teams, you need to spot patterns that will make your prospect more likely to become a customer. Then you create a mandatory path for each of your prospects. This path is even easier to set up as a tutorial on a SaaS solution.

  9. What do we do next?

    You do not offer “Next Step”. The demonstration was great, everyone is happy, and after? We’re talking to you soon and it’s over? You pray that your prospect will contact you again? At the end of a demonstration, you should definitely ask your prospect what are the next steps in their decision process. And most importantly, sign a tacit contract with your client: What can I do for you so that you decide to work with us? If I assure you that we are able to do what you ask, do you promise to start immediately?

  10. VIP service

    My last tip is essential, whether or not you make software demos: offer exceptional human and documentary support. Make videos, create a support team available and only dedicated to your prospects in the decision phase. Whether for acquisition or retention, you must reassure your prospects with VIP support.

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