The third step in the Art of the Modern Sales Demo is making the Advance.
While you may have nailed your demo with the prospect, let's be clear that just because you've agreed to "next steps", doesn't mean you've actually gotten to the next step. Talk to any sales rep and they'll be able to tell you heartbreaking stories of prospects going silent after demos. You take all this time to prepare for the meeting, deliver a fantastic demo, leave with clear next steps and end up in no man's land. This is because too many salespeople overlook a key step just after the demo finishes, where this a short window of opportunity to get ahead of the deal. It may be tedious and often time consuming, but here's how you can effectively make your advance in getting to the next step:
1. Add Details and Clean Up Notes from the Demo
As soon as you finish your demo, other than a quick bathroom break, this is really the worst time to go grab a coffee or debrief with your colleagues. It's way too easy to forget the intracacies, and this gets especially difficult when you find yourself doing 10+ demos per week. Immediately after the demo, focus your attention on documenting all of the intel you've just gained, and cleaning up your notes so they are easy for other to understand. While you've hopefully taken notes during the demo as well, this is now your opportunity to fill in any gaps. This includes your prospect's challenges, key parts of the demo where the prospect had lots of feedback (both positive and negative); and any questions that were asked that you didn't have a clear or concise answer for. In short, anything that could be marginally useful down the road should be documented. By making an effort to document the call, you are putting yourself in a position to effectively help guide the prospect throughout their purchasing journey. Not to mention, when you end up closing the deal, your Customer Success team will now have an incredible amount of data to ensure they can help the client achieve their desired outcome(s).
2. The Post-Demo and Pre-Follow-up Email Telephone Call
While not always necessary, I find this technique to be particularly helpful when there are multiple stakeholders of varying levels of seniority that join a demo. After the demo is finished, I wait a couple of hours and put in a call with one of the more junior individuals that attended. I typically open the call with something like: "Hey Bob, do you have a couple of minutes? I'm just going through my notes from the demo and wanted to quickly double check that I'm not missing anything before I send over my follow up." This is not only effective in confirming the major action items, but the call inevitably turns into another 'intel gathering' exercise.
By waiting a couple of hours, there is a good chance that the team had a chance to sync up quickly after the demo to share notes and perhaps surface additional questions. Also, since I'm now talking to Bob 1 on 1 (i.e. without his CEO around), there's a good chance he'll be a bit more forthcoming in sharing his opinion, providing feedback on how the demo went, and describing what information was most relevant for whom. This is incredibly valuable in executing a highly contextual sales strategy catered to helping each individual within the organization.
3. Send Follow Up Email(s) that are Role Specific
Make sure your email is relevant to the individual who will be reading it. Let's say 3 individuals joined your demo, the CEO the VP of IT and the Network Manager; sending a lengthy follow-up answering all of the technical questions the Network Manager asked is a waste of real estate in your email. There is a good chance the CEO will open this email and dismiss it, or at best skim through it.
Instead of having 1 lengthy follow-up email, consider a multi-email follow-up strategy that is role specific. Send one email to the CEO copying the VP of IT and Network Manager summarizing key discussion points and next steps, and a second email to the Network Manager answering all of the Q&A. In a world of email automation, the natural inclination may be to send the "templated" follow-up response, but recognize that each situation is different. There is a unique opportunity to get ahead of your deal if you can better understand your prospect and adapt your sales process to better suit their needs.
4. Send Follow Up Email(s) Addressed to a Single Individual
Sending follow-up emails addressed to multiple people makes it difficult to determine who's responsible for responding back. Beginning an email with "Jane, Andrew and Bob" means that each one of them may be waiting for the other 2 people to respond, especially if the internal politics dictate waiting on the senior most person on the email responding first. As a rule of thumb, I prefer to send follow up emails addressed to a single individual who I've qualified as my main point of contact. In the process though, I do end up copying the others (regardless of title and seniority) and acknowledge them in some shape or form in the email. Once again, the goal here is to empathize with your prospects, effectively helping them help themselves, and in turn making it easier for you to get ahead of your deal.
If you found this useful or have other tips on how to Advance after the demo, please let me know! You can leave me a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoyed this 3 part series on the Art of the Modern Sales Demo and would love to hear any feedback based on your own demo experiences!
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