So, why should you read this article?
Before I Wrote This, I Took a Surf Around the Web Looking for How To Demo Articles.
I was looking for specific advice on doing product demos to industrial clients, with the specific purpose of selling high-ticket B2B software (or software controlled products and instruments).
As a result of my hunt for demo articles on the web, I found that most had the same three issues:
1) They Were Not Specific to B2B Sales – While there is a fair amount of information on doing demos for consumers (B2C), I found a dearth of information on business-to-business (B2B) technology demos.
For example, an iPAD demo is clearly for a consumer audience, ditto for showing off the latest version of Windows.
2) They Were Not About On-site Company Demos – The articles that were B2B specific often focused on demoing for large audiences and events. For example, the DEMO Conference which is focused on giving a six-minute demo to introduce/launch a new product to a large audience; not very relevant to on-site B2B technology demos.
3) They Were Bad Advice for a Sales Situation – I had to flat out disagree with some of the advice that was given, such as: Don’t allow questions during your demo! Yikes!
This post is offered up as specific advice for doing on-site B2B demos of complex technology products.
If You Don’t Sell Complex Software to Technical End Users and Managers Stop Reading
Let me be clear about the type of demo I’m talking about; for the sake of this discussion we’re talking about a business-to-business (B2B) software or software controlled product demo.
This demo is done on-site, for a team (2 to 25 people) at a company with a specific need for your type of solution.
The Demo in a Complex Sale
This type of demo is one phase in the sales process of a so-called complex sale where you’re typically dealing with multiple contacts on the client side.
Some of these people will make the buy decision (Management), some will influence it (Techies), and some will have no effect at all on the outcome (Dilberts? or Miltons?). Additional aspects of the complex sale are:
- The dollar value for a complex sale is often large.
- The decision process can take anywhere from a few months to many months or more.
- The product is typically complex in nature. (Selling this type of product requires that you understand how the product/technology can help your prospect solve critical business issues that they need to solve, and/or to realize a vision that improves their results.)
- One or more visits with the client are required to close the sale.
- The Selling is typically done by a sales team comprised of a Sales Person and a Sales Engineer (AKA an FAE)
How to Create and Deliver an Effective B2B Product Demo
I have been selling and demoing technology products (and training others on how to do it) for a long time. Many of the large sales that I or my sales team have made, have included and on-site demo.
This section outlines the procedure for creating and delivering a winning demo.
The Goal of the Demo
The goal of a demo should always be to move the sale forward in the sales process.
All prospects are in search of one or both of the following things when they go looking for new products:
- A solution to a problem
- A path to achieving their vision
In a typical B2B sale, senior management has the vision and is aware of the problems. Technical end users and line managers are responsible for the realization of the vision or the resolution of the problems identified by management.
To move the sale forward you need to:
- Understand their specific critical business needs (visions and problems)
- Be sure that they are motivated to achieve the vision or to solve the problem using a solution like yours
- Be sure that they have the budget to purchase your type of solution
- Show them, in terms they understand; using examples specific to their world, how they can solve their problems and enjoy the ROI of using your solution.
- Engender trust and gain credibility so that you become the trusted and preferred vendor.
The Winning Demo Method
Now, lets take a look at how we would prepare and deliver a demonstration using the step-by-step method that I teach in my demo skills training classes.
Use a Demo Creation Worksheet to capture all critical aspects of the demo such as:
- Who are the decision makers
- What are their key business issues and visions
- What is the impact or implication of these issues on their business: what happens if they don’t address them.
- Who is the competition, what are the issues
- What are they doing now, what do they want to change. To keep?
- What do you want them to remember
- Which customer success stories are relevant to them?
- Map benefits of your solution (success stories) to their specific needs and visions.
- Create the shortest, most compelling and customer relevant demo sequence possible
Outline for a Winning Demo:
Answer the questions they have in their head
- Tell them what you will cover
- Tell them Why it matters to them
- Tell them it’s their demo: encourage questions
Most important Message First
Solution to problem or realization of a vision
- Use a time compressed scenario format, based on a success story
- Be ruthless, only show the detail that sells
- Summarize the value
- Ask about the next step in the process
As you deliver the demo, you need to be sure to gain credibility with your audience. Here are a few tips:
- Know your stuff – If you can’t answer around 80% of the questions asked, you don’t know your stuff well enough.
- Gain facility with industry tools. Practice sequences until you are fast and impressive. This goes a long way with customers as they can see that you have spent some time in the trenches.
- Anticipate questions, have great answers.
- Do some product support. This will give you insight into real world issues faced by your customers.
Learn More About Our Demonstration Skills Training
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