Seeing is believing. The bulk of the marketing and sales efforts are targeted at convincing prospects that a product X is not only easy to use but also will solve any and all pain points that they have. That might as well be true, however, how do you prove that to your audiences? There are numerous ways, as always. Reviews, testimonials, promotional videos, and blog posts can all attest to the quality of any given service or product.
Trust, however, is a rare commodity at the start of this new decade. With fake news, scams, and lowered trust in social media, people are less and less likely to believe things that they read or watch.
Reviews can be bought, videos - doctored. One’s experience, however? That’s another story. For these reasons, demo live calls slowly turn into a staple of a sales funnel for numerous companies. Live demos allow prospects to see for themselves how the product feels and whether it fulfills all of their needs.
In this article, we are going to compare live demo calls to other popular types of demos, describe how to prepare for the call, and also how you can use recordings of your demos to improve development and marketing efforts both. Let’s get started.
Live Demo Calls vs. Recorded Demos
Promotional videos that show the features of your product are a great aid for marketing and sales reps. There are a few problems with them:
- Potential Editing - although rarely utilized in the age of social media, there is always a hidden suspicion that a video can be edited to hide some of the more problematic features. Somebody might be selling a SaaS solution and omit that a specific feature takes a few minutes to load on their end by editing that part out from the video. The demo allows a prospect to better assess the correlation between reality and advertised features.
- Difficult to Make Videos Personalized - each prospect comes to you with specific problems in mind. Some of these problems might be so niche that it might not be feasible to produce an entire video dedicated to that issue. Live demos allow prospects to explore solutions to their particular issues in real-time.
Live Demo Calls vs. Written Materials (Reviews, Blog Posts, etc.)
A picture is worth a thousand words, and even the best writers might struggle with eloquently describing the broad range of features that you’re offering. And sometimes it might be just inefficient. For example, if we are talking about video editor, what is better?
- Having a blog post dedicated to a feature overview, that goes in-depth on how easy it is to edit your videos with product X.
- Actually demonstrating capabilities of product X in real-time to demonstrate that it is, in fact, easy.
Reviews, meanwhile, run into an issue where the writer might be too preoccupied writing about a specific feature or a pain point that might have little relevance to a prospect. It is still useful information. After all, knowing that a product has hundreds of glowing reviews is comforting but not necessarily useful.
That does not mean that you should neglect your copy as content marketing remains an important building block of your growth strategy. Besides, demos are not instantaneous and it is nice to have something to read while waiting for a live call with a sales representative. Due to their nature, however, written materials cannot fully elaborate upon the strength and features of your product (or a service).
Tips for Acing Live Demo Call
1. Learn More About Your Prospect
Demo requests rarely fall out from the sky. Before asking for a demo, it is not unusual for a prospect to express their interest in some other way: either by subscribing to your newsletter or contacting sales representatives to ask more questions.
This time span allows you to collect more information about them by doing research and asking questions: what industry are they in, why do they want to work with you, etc. The exact number and types of questions will vary but the main point is that you should learn as much as possible before the demo so you can prepare for it better.
Research allows you to predict the types of questions and concerns that the prospect will raise during the demo, and you can also prepare some materials and steps beforehand to facilitate a smoother running demo.
If you haven’t had ample opportunities to do your research, don’t worry! There is nothing wrong with asking questions during the first moments of the live demo. In fact, it would be encouraging to do that as it makes you appear less robotic and focused on the sales aspect, while also instilling confidence. A sales rep who is not afraid to ask questions and change up the demo accordingly demonstrates that they aren’t simply running from a cookie-cutter script and that they are actively engaged in the conversation. Speaking of engagement…
2. Don’t Rush Things; Pay Attention to Prospect’s Needs
A good sales rep might have north of a dozen demos in a month. With such a rate, it is easy to switch on autopilot and run through the demo at a moderate pace. After all, if you understand what’s happening, then your prospect should too, right? Well, not always.
Live demo might be the first time that your prospects are actively engaging with the product, so some features might not be as intuitive or as self-explanatory as you describe them. It is a good idea to take it slow but also have some time for Q&A, preferably in-between feature sections.
So let’s say you’ve just finished demonstrating a particular feature of the product. Take a breather, summarize what you’ve done so far, and ask the prospect if they have understood everything or if you need to run through some things for a second time.
Interactivity during a video call can keep a prospect more engaged. Although it’s not always technically possible, it would be great if prospects can engage in some “follow-by-example” exercise where they’re trying to recreate things that you’re showing them.
Also, do pay attention to what they’re talking about, the pains that they are trying to solve with your software solution. For example, let’s say you’re selling digital asset management (DAM) solution. DAM software solves a myriad of problems with digital content taxonomy and categorization. But if your prospect is only interested in maintaining their photo gallery and videos are out of the picture entirely, it might be best to omit to talk about your video editing capabilities. You might mention it in passing but if your prospect isn’t interested in it, why spend both their and your time on something that won’t be used at all?
3. Utilize “WOW Factor”
Each service and or product is comprised of many, meticulously designed and developed parts. However, not all of them are flashy. Your engineers might gush about the complexities and intricacies of database architecture but unless you’re pitching to a very particular niche, most people wouldn’t be too excited to hear a long lecture about it (no hard feelings, devs).
The other parts, though? For example, what if your product has AI-empowered features and you can demonstrate the ingenuity of your image recognition with one click of a button? Or, maybe, you’re offering a no-coding website creation platform so you can show how fast and easy you can to adjust pre-existing templates? These features are flashy, visual, and they might just cause your prospects to mutter “wow” under their breaths when they see it. Hence, the “wow factor.”
It does not have to be that complex, either. A great example of a “wow factor” is MailChimp’s dashboard with a great glance value: just from a single screen, you can see how much MailChimp-empowered emails contribute to your revenue.
Remember, that live demos as we talk about them right now are a part of your sales funnel. At the end of the day, your purpose is to sell your product to the prospect so impressions matter. For the same reason that you dress your best when going to an interview, it makes sense to highlight your “wow” features during a live demo: first impressions matter.
Review Demos and Learn How to Improve
The ability to actually review demos will depend on your prospects’ consent to be recorded. So, it might not always work out but when it does, don’t hesitate to extract the max value from each recording.
The insights gathered from a live demo recording will be of huge benefit not only to the sales representatives but also to marketing, support, product, and development teams as well!
To elaborate, let me talk about how the review process goes at my lovely home - Pics.io
After recording, we upload all demos to Pics.io DAM. From there, we randomly assign demo reviews to teammates from different departments. So, for example, each demo will be separately reviewed by a member of support, dev, marketing team, etc. Every tagged teammate will then be notified in Slack and Email that their assistance is needed. But why do we do that?
Well, the most basic thing is to give feedback to our sales rep on where they can improve. A reviewer from marketing will say, for instance, that they should ask more questions about the prospect’s discovery journey to gauge the success of paid marketing campaigns. Our product manager, meanwhile, will correct some mistakes about product description if they notice any.
The most interesting part about this multi-disciplinary review are insights. By listening to prospects’ pains, the dev team might start drafting an implementation of a new feature. If they notice that prospects keep asking for a specific feature why not add it? For the marketing team, these demos often act as inspirations. It is thanks to one of such demo reviews that I have decided to write an article on using DAM in the Food Delivery Industry because we’ve realized that it’s not something that our efforts had covered so far.
Obviously, this is a particular example of how things work in my team but I am confident that the general principles are universally applicable. Even if we stop at the first step - upgrading your sales reps’ skills - that’s still a huge boon to have! Learning from past mistakes is the best way to improve because no amount of theory can beat actual practice.
Summing it All Up
Live Demos oftentimes become a final line separating you from closing a sale. Your prospect is already engaged and curious enough about your offering to have an hour-long one-on-one with your sales rep. So, make these 60 minutes count! By carefully preparing and anticipating your prospect’s questions and having an arsenal of cool features and mini-scenarios to wow them with, you’ll ace a demo in no time! And, no matter the outcome, don’t forget to do a retrospective analysis on a recording. After all, Ronaldo isn’t the best soccer player in the world because he’s just sitting there. There is always room for improvement.
Thank you for reading and good luck with your next live demo! ;)
About The Author
Bohdan Kryvenko is a Copywriter at Pics.io, a digital asset management solution designed to solve all your pains related to collaboration, organization, and management of digital assets. Used across all sectors of eCommerce, DAM streamlines assets workflow, allowing companies to dedicate more time to creative problems. To learn more about Bohdan or Pics.io, you can shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org