· Deal Progression,Account Executive,Best Practices

This is the second part of a three-part series on The Art of the Modern Sales Demo. If you haven't read Part 1 on Preparation, you can do so here.

The second step in the Art of the Modern Sales Demo is Delivery.

The best demos deliver a tonne of value to the customer in the shortest period of time. Every aspect of the demo is structured around the customer; this includes their role(s), their challenges, and their key interests in your product. While the demo will inevitably involving showing your product, this is not a show and tell exercise; effective demos will leave the customer feeling confident in your ability to benefit their business. Once you've finished the first step in preparing for the demo, here's how to execute on an effective delivery:

Image via Attribution Engine. Licensed under CC0.

1. Set Structure First

Start off by taking control of the conversation. Confirm the agenda, tell your client what you are going to show them today, and how it will help solve each of their challenges. Be clear on your goal for what you're hoping to achieve by the end, and do a quick time check to ensure you have their attention for the time you have booked.

2. Introduce the Navigation Once and Then Stop Training

As you begin your demo, give your client a bit of context of what they are looking at once they log into your platform. For example, you may start with something like: "We're going to start here at the dashboard and use it to get to the other aspects of the platform." Remember this is Not Virtual Training! You don't need to walk them through the step-by-step click through of how to get from point A to B. The goal here is to simply remove the unfamiliarity of a new interface, by providing a bit of context right out of the gate.

3. Demo The Best Scenario First

Assuming you have structured your demo into specific scenarios (i.e. use cases on how your product will help solve specific challenges for your client), begin by showing the most impactful scenario first. Note that the best scenario may not your most innovative feature that you're typically used to talking about. It is the specific use case that will have the greatest benefit to your client. As you go through your demo, remember that you're likely competing with email notifications and instant messages your client is receiving. By starting with what matters most them first, try and grab their attention early on.

4. Ask Questions, Tell Stories and Drive Engagement

Assuming you're on the phone and not in front of your client, it's difficult to assess whether or not your actually hitting the mark. Make it a practice to ask pointed questions during key transition points in your demo. Make an effort to ask insightful questions like "...you had mentioned X being a challenge for Bob in Operations previously, how would you see this helping him?". Avoid asking questions like "Does that make sense?", that do nothing to help you get feedback from your client. While you're at it, weave in one of the Customer Stories' you prepared into the conversation. Explaining how you've helped someone else succeed can be more powerful than the demo itself in pushing your sale ahead.

6. Q&A Doesn't mean Q&T

It's great when the customer starts asking questions, but be careful not to let your Question and Answer time turn into a Question and Training session. If your client asks if you can do X, sometimes a simple yes or no answer is sufficient. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to immediately show the capability in the platform. For example, a common question may be whether or not your product allows for customization based on role based preferences. A simple "Yes" can be far more effective, than going to the administrator settings and showing the configuration panel.

7. Take Effective Notes

Use dual monitors in order to take notes on your client's feedback. This information will help you at the end of your call to show you've been attentive when summarizing. In addition, it'll also help you remember any actions you need to follow up on. You might be able to deliver a great demo, but forgetting to answer a pressing question for a key influencer, can kill your deal.

8. Summarize and Confirm Next Steps

As you finish up your demo, re-establish control and prove you're really working in your client's best interests. Summarize the conversation, the key points that were brought up by your client, and you're agreed to next steps. If this means scheduling the next call, confirm the time and date right there. If there are other individuals that need to get involved, find out who and how you can best connect with them. Let your client know you'll also be sending a follow-up email and don't get caught in deal purgatory.

9. *Bonus* Try Slowing Down

I've witnessed way too many demos where the presenter flies through the product, talks quickly, and the client ends up lost. Don't be that person. Get feedback from your colleagues on how you sound over the phone, practice slowing down your demo workflow and ensure that your agenda leaves sufficient time for Q&A.

If you found this useful or have other tips on how to prepare for a demo, please let me know. You can leave me a comment below or email me at rajen@salestraction.io. As part of the next post on the Art of the Modern Sales Demo, be sure to come back next Thursday for Step 3 on the Advance!

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