As everyone in the SaaS world knows, a sales demo of your product is an important step in the sales process. But just conducting any demo for any reason doesn’t fly. What you do before, during and after the demo will go a long way to closing the deal. The demo is where your story is told. A story of how you can solve your prospect/client’s problem. If your story doesn’t add up, neither will your quota. You have to capture their imagination and make them visualize themselves using your product and solving their problem. In order to do that, you must do these 5 things:
Knowing the importance of qualifying a prospect should be already ingrained in your DNA. Qualifying a prospect good enough to make the demo the reason they by from you should be your goal. This is where you get down to business and understand the heart of the problem. Why are they spending 15 or 30 minutes with you on an initial call? Don’t rush this part. Don’t just be thankful that a prospect gave you this time and is doing you a favor by letting you qualify them. It’s a business call. You’re a business person, Sometimes you’ll even need product specialist on the line or even your manager. Don’t be shy for asking for more time to talk before doing the demo. Know their problem like the back of your hand. This isn’t the part where you’re doing any selling. You’re listening to your patient tell you where it hurts. And good doctors assess the situation first before telling his/her patient when they can do to help. You’re not at that step yet.
This is where you determine what stage of the sales cycle this account is in. Companies have different wording and different levels of their stages, but in general, an account pre demo is usually put in a certain stage. It depends on other variables – timeline to purchase, competitors, budget, did you set up a hard date for the demo? etc., in terms of what stage you should place this account it. It’s a bad practice to automatically put every pre demo account in the same stage just because you qualified them. What’s in that qualifying info is what will determine the stage of the deal at this point. Know what else is in play before determining the stage, so you know how much time you need to spend on the next step.
3. Build – Do you have your own account provided by your company? Great! Build out a mockup for your prospect/client so they can visualize success using your technology. If it’s a large account and it looks like a big deal, sometimes the customer will provide their own data to use for the demo. You most likely will have to sign an NDA if this occurs, but most of the time you can use data that’s already built up in your own account. DO NOT do a demo with an account that has no data. That’s the sales equivalent to putting mustard on cereal. What are you thinking?
What you did in the previous three steps will lay the foundation to an engaging and successful sales demonstration of your product: You listened closely to your customer in the beginning, about how much it hurts, and how badly they want that pain to go away. You didn’t talk much, but you took copious notes to use for the demo. You went into the demo knowing exactly where this account was in the sales process. And you built a slick mock up in your dummy account to share with your customer. Now it’s show and tell time. What’s the story you’re selling? Are you solving their problem? And most importantly, are you engaging during this demonstration? Are you asking them questions? Are you answering their specific questions?Are you referring back to when they told you where it hurts? This is not where you talk for 30 or sometimes even 60 minutes without anyone on the other end of that line talking. Keep them engaged and make that demo a discussion rather than a dissertation on how wonderful your product is. They already know that, that’s why they’re still talking to you. They won’t buy from you because it’s wonderful. They’ll buy from you because you understand their problem and proactively engaged with them on how to fix it.
1. Follow up
If you don’t have a hard date for your next call with follow up action items that were determined on the demo, you just wasted weeks of prep work and significantly decreased the likely hood of you closing that deal. A follow up ‘thank you’ email after the demo is not enough. Not with the other products your customer is looking at and certainly not with their busy schedule. To ensure you’re managing this deal correctly, put something on the calendar to get your customer’s feedback, thoughts and next steps in the process. They just spend an hour with you learning about your product. They can surely spare 5-10 minutes so you can see how things are tracking. All you have to do is ask. And if they don’t give you that hard date, now you know where this account is in the sales cycle. And if this happens, chances are the story wasn’t good enough. But if you thoroughly the previous 4 steps, your story would have been convincing, and you’ll have that next call on your calendar.