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What Sales Teams Must Know about Technology Demonstrations

Technology Sales Teams are typically comprised of a sales rep and a sales engineer.

This so called, “4-legged” model can be very effective since it lets the team cover the technical and business aspects of the sales process. For team selling to work in the technology marketplace, teamwork becomes a paramount concern. Here are several tips that I cover in my demo training workshops that can make or break a sale:

Pre-Demo work is the foundation for a great demo

If brevity is the soul of wit, then knowing your audience is the key to an effective presentation. By the time you do a demo, much of the sales process has occurred. As you research the prospects needs for the demo focus on:

  • Understanding their issues and how you can help them
  • How similar customers have been successful with your products
  • Who wants to see what and who has the power

All pre-demo research should be focused on these topics. If you have to guess if the prospect is interested in something, you are very likely to create objections or at least to bore them with unnecessary detail. Be sure to involve the sales engineer in all aspects of the process to be sure that they have what they need as well.

A short, customer-relevant sales presentation is mandatory

Step away from the corporate slideware should be the mantra of every sales person as they prepare the pre-demo presentation. The prospect only wants you to do the following, and NOTHING else–they are here for the demo:

  • Recap what their issues are and how the demo will show that you have the solution
  • Verify the agenda and the time frame; revise as necessary.
  • Introduce the sales engineer
  • Sit down and take notes

The product demonstration must focus on business issues

Sales should actively coach the sales engineer, and help them build a demo that shows your product as a solution to the prospects needs; brevity is critical.

Like the author Elmore Lenard said about why his writing worked: “I Cut out the parts that people will skip”. To make your demo story interesting, encourage your sales engineer to cut anything that is unnecessary from their demo.

Sales must help out in time of crisis

Demos are risky, especially when beta hardware or software is involved. Work out a signal to let sales know that the “bad” thing has happened so that they can run interference. Sales can interject and get the attention of the audience while the sales engineer attempts to recover. I have suddenly “remembered” a bag of Oreos that I “forgot” to put out and used them to attract attention at a critical moment.

Never talk out of turn

Sales and sales engineering should know who will cover what topics. Sales will cover price and licensing, sales engineering will do the technical bits. Don’t step on each others toes. And sales, if you ask for the sales engineer to show something, be SURE to ask them if they can do it before you get in front of the audience.

Have a demo horror story or a tip on how to make things run smoothly? Please share it in the comments section.


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