As an account executive at a SaaS (Software as a Service) business, I give anywhere from 5 to 15 Web demos a week, and I always am looking for new ways to make the most of the client or prospect’s time. Typically, that means using certain best practices that I’ve learned through experience and my team.
The standard solutions-based approach to a Web demo is to ask open-ended questions upfront and then customize your presentation to that prospect’s needs and pain points. These steps may even be broken into two calls for larger-sized opportunities, for which it’s commonplace to have an introduction or qualification call focused on asking those questions and then a follow-up presentation tailored to the prospect’s needs.
I’ve seen calls (admittedly my own, too) take a turn for the worse when a rep takes over the call after all of the needs-based information has been provided at the beginning. Here are a couple of tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you, and you’re keeping prospects engaged all the way through the call:
1. Two ears, one mouth
As a rep, it is easy to forget what Greek philosopher Epictetus once said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” You need to remember it, though. Especially during demos.
Stop and ask “What do you think?” after presenting a key feature as a solution to a prospect’s pain point. This gives you an opportunity to learn if the prospect agrees and understands how your proposed solution can solve their issue. This question can also help you to get the prospect talking more and you listening more.
If your prospect disagrees that’s okay! This then gives you an opportunity to learn more about their business and better tailor your product to their needs or identify that your solution may not actually be the best fit (which is okay, too and allows you to disqualify). If your prospect agrees, on the other hand, that doesn’t mean your job is done. It is critical that you learn why they agree and help build more value to support your product or service from there.
2. A seat behind the wheel
Help your prospects envision themselves in the driver’s seat. This is a tip a member of our board discussed with me this week, and I’m ecstatic he said something. He said a good car sales person tries to get you to take a test drive while you are on the lot and then they’ll help you to imagine your better life with their model and make of car. Web demos should be the same. Incorporate the prospect’s logos and company colors into your solution (if possible) and help them envision your offering at their company and how much easier/better their job, team and company will be with it.
3. A foundation of knowledge
If you’re a prospect, there’s nothing worse than talking to a rep who knows nothing about your business. With resources out there like LinkedIn, company websites and Twitter it is simply unacceptable for sales reps not to know at least the following:
- What a prospect’s company does
- What recent events (new product release, purchase of another company, new CEO or executive) have occurred
- A prospect’s role
- How the prospect and rep were connected
So start listening, help your prospect visualize your solution and get researching, and you’ll be on your way to more engaging and all-around stronger Web demos!