The best way to make an educated product purchase is to see your product in action. Requesting a demo will help you determine whether a product is worth the investment. Demos allow you to see the product live, troubleshoot the product with the sales representative and ensure that the product will work the way you desire.

Sales Demo Basics

A sales demo is meant to show the capabilities, features, benefits, and value of the product or service. Ultimately, you’re personalizing the presentation to the prospect so they can see how your product solves their problems and meets their needs.

A sales demo should not be confused with a product demo. Product demos involve a current customer rather than a prospect. Sales demos aim to create a sale, while product demonstrations aim to help customers make the most of their investment.

Sales demos are only delivered to qualified prospects or those that are most likely to convert after the presentation. Qualification can be different for every business, but it’s always a good idea to use BANT:

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Timeline

While a prospect may be qualified for the product or service, consider whether it makes sense to do a demo right now, or if you should wait until later. Make sure you have the right person on the demo, whether or not the prospect has an actual need for the service, and making sure they have the available budget to spend with you is just as important. As your company scales, more of your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) will request a demo of the product or service they’re interested in.

Marketing and sales teams in each company need to determine what it means to be a “qualified customer”. Here at Proof, we’ve determined that a qualified customer to receive a sale demo of our Experiences product is a company with at least 5 employees and 10,000+ website visitors per month.

It’s possible to deliver successful sales demos in several ways, including:

  • Phone call
  • Email
  • In-person demos
  • Pre-recorded video
  • Screen share video
  • Screen share w/ PDF slideshow 

To best meet your prospect’s needs you should be flexible enough to offer different options. If you plan to offer demos through video chat or screen share, make sure you have an account with a provider like Zoom or to facilitate the meeting.

Before the Call: Sales Demo Preparation

It may be tempting to jump right into a conversation with the prospect, but for the greatest chance of a successful demo, prepare first. 

  • Research the prospect to learn about the industries they serve, how big the company is, the various departments within the company, geography, specific roles, and the main pain points they’re seeking to alleviate.
  • Determine how they found you. It could be a referral from a current customer, response to an ad on a social media platform, or even a download of your lead magnet.
  • Confirm the sales demo appointment with them. Send them an agenda ahead of time so they know what you’ll cover and can prepare questions for you. 
    • Remind them about the sales demo. Send a confirmation email 15 minutes after the demo is booked. Send another confirmation/reminder email 2 hours before the meeting, and again 5 minutes before with the link.

Some organizations include a discovery call as part of their sales process, to learn more about the company and make sure the prospect is a good fit before starting the demo process.

During the Call: Demo Execution Tips

You’ll always want to begin your demo call by asking your prospect questions like:

  • Why they signed up for the demo
  • What they already know about your company and the product or service you offer
  • What criteria they are using to evaluate the product or service you offer
  • Other options they are looking at
  • The main problems they are trying to solve with your product or service
  • How they are currently dealing with the pain points
  • Verticals they sell in and whether there are plans to expand
  • Sales cycle length
  • Size of their average deal
  • Whether they are shopping around or seriously in the market

From these answers and the research you’ve done you can personalize your pitch to them. Remember, it’s one thing to rattle off a list of product features, but another to show benefits. You’ll lose rapport and respect while also diminishing value if you read off features like an infomercial. Talk about solving their problems.

Prospects aren’t here to get a regurgitated version of what they could have read on your website. They want to know how your product will help them solve a particular problem. So, you’ll want to relate your demo content to their situation as much as possible. You can do this by including real data and when possible referencing case studies with similar circumstances.

When a prospect asks about price, be honest and keep the conversation focused on the value. Price is always meaningless without context. The number may sound high but after you factor in other elements, it’s actually competitive or on par with others in the industry. Price won’t tell the whole story, and when a prospect understands the value you offer compared to the competition, it will be easier for them to make a decision about which vendor to use.

Finally, take time to determine if they are an “opportunity.” An opportunity is a qualified prospect with a high probability of converting to a customer. They should have a pain point that your product or service can solve, along with an interest in your offering. 

Real opportunities share 3 characteristics:

  • Pain points: These are usually a lack of time, interest, or expertise.
  • Fit: 
    • They have the budget for your offering
    • They have decision-making authority
    • A genuine need for your offering
    • Right-sized company
    • Located inside your selling territory
  • Interest: They’ve taken the time to listen to the demo, actively engaged with your content, etc.

After the Demo: Close the Deal

Focus on closing the entire time. If you leave any objection window open, they’ll run through it at the end of the call. Always make sure they fully understand the value proposition you offer and the true opportunity before you move forward in your demonstration or process.

Though it may be tempting to offer a discount to close the deal, dropping the price before you close all the other doors doesn’t do much good. Most of the time, the prospects will still say they need to evaluate something, talk to someone else about it, or think it over. Then, if and when they do come back to you, they’ll expect that same price point to still be available.

If you don’t close the deal at the end of the software demo, make sure to follow up with the potential buyer within a few days. You can choose to follow up via email or phone, depending on what’s best for you and how you feel the prospect is likely to respond.

If a prospect decides not to move forward, it is crucial to get to the real reason why they did not. And the same is true when a prospect decides to move forward. If you’ve covered all your bases and won your job, never be afraid to ask for their business. Prospects aren’t likely going to ask you to take their money, but if they do, it will likely be in the middle of the demo. If that’s the case, you should always finish the demo. Failure to finish the demo could cause you to lose their business in the future because of false expectations or lack of followthrough. Regardless of outcome, use the experience to improve the next demo.